Canada is expected to welcome 350 thousand immigrants annually by the year 2021, and in the current social and economic climate, we can only expect that’s a conservative estimate.
If you’re among those considering a move to Canada from the United States, you probably have a lot of questions.
In this post, we’re going to cover the most common questions about moving to Canada from the United States.
What will you need before you move?
First and foremost, you’ll need a visa or work permit to move to Canada, so be sure to have that in order before you make other plans. You’ll also need to make sure your passport is valid and up-to-date. If you don’t have a passport, you’ll need an original copy of your birth certificate and a state-issued photo ID. Check this link for the documents you’ll need to request a birth certificate if you need to start there.
You may also need bank statements to serve as proof of funds. And finally, you’ll want to update your resume in the Canadian format before applying to any jobs.
Another thing many people overlook is driving history. Canada doesn’t share the same database as the US, so you’ll need a “no claims” letter from your auto insurance company to serve as proof of your driving history.
Can I keep my US license?
The precise requirements on this vary by province, but you are eventually going to have to exchange your state-issued driver’s license for a Canadian-issued license, and it’s better not to delay the process. Most rules require that you switch within 90 to 180 days of your move.
And the process is relatively easy as long as you have a valid US-issued driver’s license that hasn’t expired.
Can I use Canadian public healthcare?
Canada is an enticing move for many Americans because of its public healthcare insurance. This means you won’t have to pay out of pocket for most healthcare services. But getting covered isn’t as simple as picking up and moving.
It often depends on the type of permit you have to enter Canada, so it’s best to check before you move. For example, some international students are covered and some people on work permits can enjoy public healthcare in Canada. It largely depends on the province you move to.
How do income taxes work?
There’s a chance you may have to pay income taxes in the United States and Canada. If you’re considered an ordinary resident in Canada, you may have to pay taxes in both countries.
If you do not have significant residential ties in Canada and lived outside the country for part of the tax year, you may only have to pay US income taxes.
And although this may sound incredibly off-putting as you’re thinking of relocating to Canada, there is a silver lining.
In actuality, most Americans living in Canada don’t pay taxes in both countries because of the Foreign Earned Income Exclusion (FEIE). This allows taxpayers to exclude the first USD 107,600 earned from US income taxes, and you can take the exclusion as long as you can prove you’ve lived in Canada for at least 330 days of the year.
Can I bring my family to Canada?
In most cases, the answer is going to be yes. You can bring a spouse or common-law partner along with any children under the age of 22. You may also be able to include older children if a mental or physical condition prevents them from living on their own. Be sure to include any of these family members on your visa application.
You won’t be able to bring extended family with you. If they want to move to Canada, they must do so on their own visas.
When you change your country of residence, it’s always going to be a process. But moving from the United States to Canada is about as seamless as it gets. Just be sure you have all your documentation and living arrangements in order, and you can work on the rest during the moving process. Just a few steps before you’re enjoying some of the best views, hospitality, and maple syrup the world has to offer.