How to move to Canada


Everybody loves to talk about moving to Canada, but there’s surprisingly little helpful information on how to actually do it. That’s what we learned when we decided to leave our home in Brooklyn and make the move up to Toronto. While our experience is from an American perspective moving to Ontario, the process is basically the same for everybody, wherever you’re currently living or which Canadian province you want to move to (with the exception of  Quebec, which has slightly different rules).

Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) has a very thorough website, but it’s still something produced by a bureaucracy. Many existing third-party guides are all outdated, since the CIC made major changes in early 2015. Most of the forums and other resources out there are for people coming from non-Western cultures, who have very different concerns than we did.

Now that we’ve successfully immigrated to Canada from the US using the Express Entry program, we’re writing the guide we wish we’d had. We also created the “Can I move to Canada?” quiz to help figure out which immigration program might work best for you.

This is a work in progress, so sign up to get updates when we add new posts.

We wrote a book!

Read all about how to immigrate to Canada in our new book, Moving to Canada: A detailed immigration guide from two Americans who’ve done it. Now available on Amazon.

book cover

US Election 2016

Google searches for how to move to Canada from the US have been spiking this year as the election heats up. What many people don’t realize is that there’s no fast track to immigrate to Canada for American citizens. Sorry. Don’t worry though, there are still a lot of options for how to move up permanently or even temporarily. Take our Can I Move to Canada? Quiz to find out which immigration programs you’re eligible to apply for. If you have an advanced degree, 2+ years of professional experience, and $12,000 ( about $9,000 USD) in savings, chances are you can immigrate to Canada as a permanent resident within a year. As a last resort, you can always visit Canada as a tourist for up to 6 months without a visa while you look for a job.


The Brexit referendum has a lot of people in the UK searching for how to move to Canada. Emigrating from the UK to the Great White North  isn’t as simple as getting a plane ticket, but as a British citizen you still have a ton of options. If you are under 35, have an advanced degree, 2+ years of professional experience, and $12,000 CAD in savings (about £7,000), chances are you can immigrate to Canada as a permanent resident within a year. If you’re between 18-30 and have $2,500 in savings, you are probably eligible to apply for a working holiday visa. That would allow you to live and work in Canada for up to two years. Take our Can I Move to Canada? Quiz to find out which immigration programs you’re eligible to apply for.

All the ways to move to Canada, legally

It’s not the 60s anymore. Our sports leagues may play in “national” leagues, but you can’t just move up to Canada. Here’s what you can do as a tourist, the benefits of NAFTA, and all the options for going to Canada for longer than just a vacation.

Can you move to Canada? Take our quiz to find out if any of the immigration programs can work for you.

Immigration FAQs Have questions? Here are answers to the most frequently asked questions.
A quick primer for would-be expats There are a lot of things to think about before moving to another country.

All the ways to move to Canada, legally There are tons of ways to move to Canada. Here’s an overview of the different options from temporary to permanently.

Retire in Canada The bad news is that there are no immigration programs that would allow you to simply move to Canada after you retire but there are a few options if you’re able to plan ahead.
Marrying a Canadian Marriage doesn’t automatically get you a Canadian passport, but it can get you a permanent resident card.
Family Class Being related to a Canadian doesn’t necessarily mean you can immigrate, but it might.
Studying in Canada You’re never too old to go back to school.
Become an entrepreneur in Canada
If you have capital and experience, you can become a business owner in Canada
Move your start-up to Canada Canada is actively seeking promising entrepreneurs to help grow the economy.
Work exchange with International Experience Canada
Want to try out working in Canada for a few months or a year? Under 30 or 35? Here’s how to make it happen.
Moving to Quebec Quebec is part of Canada, sort of, but they have their own immigration system.

The definitive guide to Express Entry If you have skills the Canadian government is looking for, you can become a permanent resident of Canada within a year through Express Entry if you qualify through one of these immigration programs:

How to improve your Express Entry score  These 9 ways will bump up your CSR points without breaking the rules.
Federal Skilled Workers Program You’ll probably qualify if you’re under 35, have an advanced degree, and 2+ years of professional experience.
Canadian Experience Class A good option i if you’ve legally worked in Canada for at least a year in a professional role.
Provincial Nominee Program Each area of Canada has its own criteria it uses to determine who to invite into that province.
Federal Skilled Trades Class  Tailored for those with a background in a skilled trade with a job offer in Canada or a professional certificate from a Canadian institution.
Document checklist What sort of paperwork should you have ready before you apply for Express Entry?

Moving to Canada

You get permission to move to Canada. What comes next?

Landing in Canada Learn about our experience with the actual immigration process and landing in Canada for the first time as permanent residents.

Flying with cats We brought two cats with us to Canada. We were prepared for the worst but it went ok.

Moving your stuff from the US to Canada An international move is more complicated — and expensive — than moving across town. Here’s how our stuff made it through customs and into our apartment.

Getting settled in Canada as a new resident You’ve finally landed and are an official permanent resident of Canada. Now what? There are a few basic things you’ll want to take care of relatively soon after arriving such as getting a Social Insurance Number, applying for a drivers license, and signing up for healthcare.

Living in Canada

Canada is just like America, except for when it’s not. We share what we’ve learned to save you some trouble.

Healthcare in Canada It will take some getting used to, but it’s less complicated than figuring out all the different copay’s and deductibles you’re used to dealing with in America.

Finding a job in Canada Not hugely different from finding a job in the US, but here are some tips anyway.

Canadian salaries Are Canadian salaries higher? Lower? What can you expect to earn?

Cross border banking We didn’t think much about this until we found out the hard way. Find out more about your banking options, how to move money across the border, and getting started with credit.

A newcomer’s guide to filing taxes in Canada Don’t worry, it won’t be too bad.

A tax guide for Americans in Canada Filing taxes in both countries is much simpler than you’ve been led to believe.

Understanding currency conversion Canada’s on sale right now. Why? How? Will it last?

Planning for retirement A guide for Americans

Living in Toronto

Toronto neighborhood guide Torontonians are in denial about it, but Toronto is a big city. We walk you through the options so you can find the neighborhood that’s right for you.

Renting an apartment in Toronto If you’re coming from an expensive city, we have good news for you.

Buying a condo in Toronto Condos are everywhere. Don’t get distracted by the flashy amenities and end up living in a shoebox.

Setting up your apartment Here’s the scoop on hydro, metered internet, and how to furnish your apartment.

How to survive a Canadian winter It’s not bad as long as you’re dressed properly

Becoming Canadian

There’s more to being Canadian than watching hockey and saying ‘eh.’ Canada isn’t just a colder US, it’s got a culture and history of it’s own. They’re just too modest to brag about it.

Becoming a Canadian citizen How long it takes, whether or not you have to give up your US citizenship, and other things you should know before making a decision.

Kingdom of Canada How exactly did Canada wind up with a queen and what is a dominion?

Canadian Federal Government A 101 guide to Canadian politics


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