How to Immigrate to Canada from the US – Your Complete Guide for 2024

Many people from across the Globe consider Canada a great immigration option. Here we tell about why Canada could be a destination of choice for the US citizens and how they may plan the move.

18 Oct 2023, 1:21 pm


min read

While living in the US can be pretty amazing at times, it is no trade secret that things are not what they used to be.

But have you wondered why many americans are moving to Canada? Unfortunately, times are changing and everything is changing with it. If you are not that happy in the US anymore and you are concerned about the future, then the question is what are you going to do about it?

The answer is actually simple and it is a route that hundreds of thousands of US citizens have taken. The short version of the answer is relocating to Canada. Now before you think this is absolutely crazy, there are a number of things that you need to take into account and consider. If we had to make a list of the pros and cons of moving to Canada from the US, we will soon discover that there are more pros than there are cons.

How to Move to Canada from US

If you’re wondering how you can make the shift, the Canadian government has various immigration programs that may be suitable for people looking to immigrate to Canada from the US.

Let’s have a look at some of the main programs for the most common goals.

Immigrate to Canada as a Worker / Express Entry

Do you have any skills and professional background?

If that is the case, you might want to have a closer look at the programs that are processed under the Express Entry system:

Are you Eligible For a Canadian Work Visa?

Check Now If You are Eligible For One of Canada’s Working Programs or Just Book a Free Consultation Call  with An Immigration Expert

As for the Express Entry system, we tell more about how it works here.

Immigrate to Canada with Your Family

Looking to immigrate to Canada with your family?

If the answer is yes, you should know that if one of the parents or one partner has received a visa, the rest of the family can come along. That’s why as partners you may want to submit 2 applications as you never know who has better chances of receiving the visa.

Also, a student visa is easier to obtain than a working visa, and if one of the family members managed to achieve one, it can help bring the whole family to Canada.

This is the kind of creative solution a Canadian immigration consultant can help you with. That’s also why the best advice we can give you is to consult with an Immigration expert!

Temporary Immigration for Young Adults (18-35yo): IEC / Student Visa

Do you want to “try on” Canadian life before immigration?

Then you might want to explore International Experience Canada (IEC Canada).

This program is ideal for US citizens between the ages of 18 and 30 who are looking to test the waters in Canada.

If approved for the program, applicants are permitted to live in Canada for up to two years to work, travel, and experience Canadian life. 

This allows the individual to get a feel for what life in Canada would be like without making a full commitment from the start. If they can see themselves living here permanently, they can start the process of emigrating to Canada from US. 

Do you want to work in Canada?

The North American Free Trade Agreement allows some U.S. citizens to obtain a work permit as a NAFTA Professional if they work within one of 60 specific professions, including law, medicine, science and other areas.

A NAFTA Intra-Company Transfer is also possible and allows temporary transfers between Canadian/US subsidiaries, affiliates, branches, and so on.

NAFTA Traders and Investors must meet one of two criteria:

  • A Trader “must demonstrate an intention to carry out substantial trade of goods or services between Canada and the US”
  • The Investor must show their substantial investment in a new or existing business within Canada AND that entry is to develop and direct the business

There is also an option to retire temporarily in Canada if working without a permit, or via a Temporary Work Permit.

This is usually given to those who will engage in business but not enter the labour market. They are called Business Visitors and can include athletes and artists, military personnel, and salespeople, among others.

Immigrate to Canada as a Student

Are you interested in studying in Canada?

Luckily, Canada is very welcoming for those who are looking for higher education.

In Canada, you can obtain a Post-Graduate Work Permit (PGWP) following most programs of study. Your PGWP can be valid for the same duration as your study permit, up to three years.

With its reputable educational system and high-ranking universities, Canada is one of the most attractive countries for students from around the world.

To get into a Canadian university, students need to get the student visa.

We described the process of becoming a Canadian student here.

Immigrate to Canada as an Entrepreneur or Investor

Do you want to get citizenship by investing in Canada’s economy?

If so, then you may learn more about the Investor Visa.

Do you have the skills, talent, and funds to build or establish a business in Canada?

Then Start-up visa could be an option for you. You may learn more about it here.

You may also have a look at our guide that covers business immigration.

Family Sponsorship In Canada

Immigration is faster and easier for those who have relatives in Canada. Possibly, you have someone you want to move your family after you immigrate.

If that is the case, Family Sponsorship options could be perfect for you.

This pathway works in one of two ways – inland our outland. The inland sponsorship is when the individual sponsored is already living in Canada, while the outland sponsorship is for someone currently living outside of Canada.

You may learn about Family Sponsorship here.

How Much Does It Cost to Move to Canada

That is a complex question that hardly can be answered within one article.

Basically, the main factors that influence how much would it cost to move to Canada are the following:

  • the program you choose
  • the destination in Canada
  • the moving processes (distance, moving providers, even the amount of stuff you want to take with you).

Immigration Restrictions for Americans

Anyone hoping to immigrate to Canada from the USA  has to be admissible.

There are two reasons that a potential immigrant from the USA would be deemed inadmissible:

  • Criminally inadmissible
  • Medically inadmissible.

Not all people with criminal records in the USA are inadmissible into Canada.

It is the most serious crimes that are often a cause for inadmissibility, though some minor crimes lead to the same outcome.

Impaired driving, drug crimes, assault convictions, theft, and other issues are all reasons for inadmissibility.

Medical issues that prevent someone from being admissible from the US to Canada are those that might make the immigrating individual costlier than is acceptable to the publicly funded health and social services system.

Why Canada? 7 reasons to Immigrate to Canada from the US

Let’s take a look at some of the top reasons to relocate to the magnificent country of Canada from the US.

No time for reading? Check the video below:

Top 7 Reasons to Immigrate from the US to Canada

Reason 1: A Booming Job Market and Genuine Career Opportunities

Brainstorming over paper

Canada has a very diverse and exciting range of jobs and opportunities available.

The country has made provisions to welcome in thousands of foreign immigrants in the next few years.

The job market is extremely stable and the economy is very consistent.

You will not need to stress about the future as much as you are doing now. If you have children or you want to have children, you can sleep at night knowing that there is a fair and stable working life.

The working life in Canada is around a standard amount of forty hours a week. This means that you can enjoy a really great work-life balance. You will get paid statutory holidays and paid maternity leave. Here are some tips on how to obtain a job in Canada.

Reason 2: Amazing Health Care

Canadian family laughing together

Once you have become a permanent citizen in Canada, you will have access to the very best healthcare system.

The public healthcare system in Canada is genuinely one of the best in the world. There are no hidden costs and no huge medical bills to worry about.

The chances are high that at some point you or a family member may require a medical procedure, an operation, or even an emergency hospital visit.

While in the US these things can rake up very large bills that are impossible to pay, this won’t happen in Canada.

In addition, once you obtain your health care card you and your family will have full access to even the most basic medical services, such as doctors, hospital stays, and ultrasounds.

The day to day benefits and the long term medical benefits certainly make Canada a top competitor in the immigration space.

Reason 3: A Broad-Minded and Welcoming Society

WW2 parade in USA

Let’s call “a spade a spade” in the US there is still diversity and judgment. Some states in the US take this to a whole new level.

More often than not, you may have to live in a part of the US for work, where the society is not to your liking.

In Canada, the great news is that it is a really broad-minded and open society. The people are very welcoming as they are accustomed to many foreigners. They are a much more tolerant society and they are really accepting of everyone.

Regardless of who you are, where you come from, what religion you are or aren’t, and where you were born, everyone is included.

As a parent or if you are planning on becoming a parent, this is excellent news. It means that your child or children are more likely to make friends easier and they have the opportunity of being well socialized from a young age.

It also means that making new friends with you and your family will not be too difficult.

You will never need to feel all alone as there are tons of other immigrants and ex-US citizen in Canada too.

Reason 4: It Is One of the Safest Countries in the World

Mother and her child playing together

Let’s not sugar-coat it, the truth is that crimes in the US are on the rise. There are some states in the US and some parts in the US where you would be mad to go to. Not only are gang rivals increasing but so are corruption and theft.

It is almost “normal” these days in the US for your Amazon boxes to be stolen from outside your home.

Over the years the crime and types of crime have unfortunately only intensified.

If you are looking for a safe place, for you and your family to live, then Canada is really the perfect choice.

People from all over the world consider Canada to be one of the safest countries that exist. The crime rates are extremely low in this day and age.

The police service is always ready to respond immediately and they are held in high regard in Canada.

There are so few crimes in Canada that it usually makes the “news headlines”. The good news is that almost all areas are safe and there are no areas that you need to avoid.

If you want to go for an evening walk, you can do so without having stress about anything. You can feel extremely confident that your family and your children will be completely secure and safe in the country.

Reason 5: The Scenery

Kananaskis, AB, Canada

Canada is a country that offers the most magnificent scenery. You will be surrounded by natural beauty.

The country is filled with glaciers, lakes, forests, and mountains.

If you enjoy the open outdoors then you will be pleased to know that there are tons of places for you to explore and visit.

There are also many natural wonders in Canada, that you won’t find anywhere else in the world.

During the summertime, you can enjoy the breath-taking views.

Reason 6: Canada Has a High Quality of Life

Man enjoying sitting in the shore

When you are looking to relocate to a new country, one of the most important things to factor in, is the quality of life in that particular country.

In terms of the quality of life ranking, Canada has come out on top, not only this year but a few years in a row.

Canada is seen as literally the country that offers the best quality of life in the entire world.

When a country is ranked according to the quality of life scale, things that are taken into consideration are health care, housing, education, working life balance, environmental quality, jobs, and earnings as well as income and wealth.

As you can see, Canada literally ticks all the boxes and comes out on top.

Check out if you are eligible for immigration to Canada within a few minutes:

Due to the low crime, the availability of jobs, the beautiful scenery, the weather, and everything else, Canada is regarded as one of the most peaceful and stress-free countries to live in.

It goes without saying that you will always have some level of stress in your life, but eliminating the odds of external stress will make the quality of living, that much better.

Reason 7: You Will Be Close to Home

store located near Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada

One of the best reasons to move from the US to Canada is that the move won’t be too stressful. One of the most stressful things about relocating is worrying and stressing about your friends and family back home.

Many people all over the world have turned down amazing opportunities abroad, due to wanting to be close to their family.

If you have an elder parent at home, the worry is always that something might happen and you won’t be able to fly home in time.

Fortunately if you relocate from the US to Canada, you will be close to home. You will not need to worry and stress about your family. You are in the fortunate position to go home frequently as it is very close.

You will never need to feel “homesick” as you can sleep at night knowing that your family and friends are very close to you.

You can go back and forth visiting them as many times as you like, due to you being so close to home.

The truth is that being this close to home, is a real luxury that moving from the US to Canada, can provide you with.

Best Cities to Live in Canada

Canada is enormous and it has many places worth seeing. However, some destinations seem to be more popular than others.

So, let’s have a look at those amazing places that attract so many people from around the globe including the US residents.


Toronto is the capital of Ontario province, Canada’s largest city and one of the most multicultural cities in the world. It’s known to be the Canadian center of business, technology and culture.

You may read more about Toronto here.


Montreal is the largest city in the Quebec province and the second-largest in Canada. It is also one of the most bilingual cities in Canada.

We talk more about Montreal in this article.


Mild climate, ethnical and linguistic diversity, job opportunities – it could be all said about Vancouver. Vancouver is also often mentioned as one of the world’s most livable cities.

We tell more about life in Vancouver here.


Whistler is famous as a winter outdoor sports destination near Vancouver. It is also a cozy, quiet and beautiful place to live in.

Here we talk more about life in Whistler.


Calgary is one of the most liveable cities on the planet. It is known for high quality of life, wonderful nature and low taxes.

You learn more about life in Calgary in this article.

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Recommended Canada Immigration Consultants for US Residents

Don’t know where to begin?

Immigration could be challenging. But there are professionals (RCICs) who know everything about available immigration programs and how to come up with a plan that would bring you the desired permanent residency.

The trick is finding the right RCIC or agency for US residents. Canada2036 has put together a top Recommended Canadian Immigration Consultants list based on extensive research, customer testimonials, and other vetting methods.

Moving to Canada from the US: Commonly Asked Questions

Here are answers to some of the commonly asked questions that might be helpful.

Will I Have to Pay Income Taxes in Both the US and Canada after Moving to Canada from the USA?
Yes, if you become an ordinarily resident in Canada. If not, then you’ll have to pay the US taxes only.
Can I Bring My Pets to Canada?
Yes, you can. Just make sure to read the CFIA (Canadian Food Inspection Agency) guidelines carefully. Generally, you may need: an import permit, a health certificate, and a visual inspection.
Can I Drive in Canada with a License Issued in the US?

No, you should exchange your state-issued license for a Canadian one. In general, you’ll have to prove the driving experience. Some of the requirements may vary in different provinces.

What Is the Unemployment Rate in Canada?

The unemployment rate in Canada is around 8.5%.

Like the rest of the world, Canada is going through a tough time with the COVID-19 economic impact. The unemployment rate usually has been lower and hopefully with go on dropping in the future. 

Is There a Lottery for Canadian Immigration?

There is no lottery for Canadian immigration as there is in the USA. Instead, there are specific eligibility requirements that must be met in order for a potential immigrant to qualify into one of the available programs.

Do Americans Need a Visa to Visit Canada?

Americans heading for a temporary visit to Canada do not need to use the traditional visa programs or obtain an eTA or electronic travel visa. However, those who are Green Card holders do not need a visa to enter Canada, but if flying and moving through a Canadian airport do need the eTA. 

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The child of immigrant parents, I came to Canada when I was just five years old. I used to volunteer at an immigration resource centre and now work for the Canadian Federal Government. Writing is my passion and I hope my words can provide some help to a new immigrant or someone considering a move to Canada.

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Editor’s Note

You can trust the integrity of our balanced, independent immigration advice. We may, however, receive compensation from the issuers of some products mentioned in this article. Opinions are the author's alone. This content has not been provided by, reviewed, approved or endorsed by any advertiser, unless otherwise noted below.

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