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Moving to Canada from the U.S. – What You Need to Know

Moving to Canada isn’t as easy as packing up your car and driving north. There are quite are few steps you have to go through before you take up residency there, not to mention moving you and your family as well as all of your belongings with you. As we know moving is no easy feat, so here are the different ways and the steps you need to take to legally make the international move to Canada:

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Temporary Working Visa:

If you find a job in Canada, you can obtain a temporary working visa. You and your prospective employer will have to obtain a document called a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) before you can begin working in Canada. This document serves as proof that your employment in Canada will have a positive effect on the local labor market.

Family Sponsorship:

Another way many Americans legally move is by being sponsored by a Canadian spouse, common-law partner, or family member. This process might take awhile, so make sure you and your spouse go through all of the necessary steps for your sponsorship.

Becoming a Permanent Resident:

Most likely if you’re planning on moving you’ll want to become a permanent resident. The first step in this process is applying for permanent Canadian residency with the office of Citizenship and Immigration Canada. Note that Americans with a valid U.S. passport, passport card or NEXUS card can reside in Canada for up to 180 days without having to apply for a Canadian visa.

Canada has a few different permanent residency options. You can choose from the Skilled Workers and Professionals, Quebec-Selected Skilled Workers, Canadian Experience, Investors and Entrepreneurs, Provincial Nominees and Family-Sponsored categories. Skilled workers can complete an Express Entry profile online if you want to speed up the moving process.

Once you’ve decided on the right residency category, you must complete the appropriate application form. Submit this along with the processing fee and the requested supporting documents to the Citizenship and Immigration Canada office listed on the residency application. It may take up to six months for the Citizenship and Immigration Canada office to process your application for permanent residency. If your application is approved, you will receive an official Canadian Permanent Resident card.


The next step is figuring out the logistics of moving. Once you’ve secured an apartment or home, you’ll have to hire a moving company that offers international moving services. You’ll also want to make a list of all the items that you’re bringing into Canada and their value, as well as any items that will be shipped separately to Canada. Canada requires you to provide two copies of these documents at customs. Be sure to provide your moving company with this as well, as the driver will need it to cross the border.

In order to gain entry to Canada, you’ll need a Canadian immigrant visa and Confirmation of Permanent Residence for each family member traveling with you as well as a valid passport or other travel document for each family member traveling with you. Note that once you reside in Canada for 3 years, you can apply to become a Canadian citizen.

Now that you’re familiar with all of the ways to move to Canada from the U.S., we can help you get started on the move itself! Find out more about our international moving services here