Americans love 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 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 Many existing third-party guides are all outdated, since the CIC made major changes last year. 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 you move to Canada” quiz we wish we were able to take to figure out which immigration program would work best for us.
This is a work in progress, so sign up to get updates when we add new posts.
There are a lot of things to think about before moving to another country. What does it mean to be an American living abroad?
We explain the rights came along with being born in the US and how they change when you leave the country.
The rights you have in Canada change depending on your status. Life as a tourist is very different from life as a dual citizen.
Many people don’t realise Canada has a Queen. We get you up to speed on the basics.
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.
We moved to Canada, and you can too! Take this quiz to find out if any of the immigration programs can work for you.
There’s no fast track for US citizens. Sorry.
If your official documents are in English or French, you’re a step ahead of the game.
Not sure you want to stay north forever? Here’s how you can stay in Canada for six months or six years.
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.
When you’re ready to commit, here are your options.
Quebec is part of Canada, sort of, but they have their own immigration system.
If you have skills the Canadian government is looking for, you can become a permanent resident of Canada within a year.
If you’re in you’re under 35, have work experience, and are a manager, office worker, or tradesman, your odds are good.
Not like creating your OkCupid profile at all.
Nothing in life is guaranteed, but you can get a pretty good idea of your chances before you invest the time and money into becoming a Canadian permanent resident.
All the paperwork you need to make sure you meet a pretty tight deadline.
We share what the CIC says and how it actually worked out for us.
You get permission to move up. What next? Learn about our experience with the actual immigration process and landing in Canada for the first time as permanent residents.
You’ll get an actual invitation to move once you’ve made it through the Express Entry process.
It’s time to start planning the big move. Learn about how to bring all of your stuff across the border and what exactly a B4 form is.
Going through customs as a new immigrant is not the same as going through customs as a tourist.
We brought two cats with us to Canada. We were prepared for the worst but it went ok.
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.
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. Here are some of the most important:
Similar to a SSN, but also sort of different
Your access key to basically everything
It’s pretty easy to exchange your US license for a Canadian license
You’re not in America any more
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.
It will take some getting used to, but it’s less complicated than figuring out all the different copays and deductables you’re used to dealing with in America.
What exactly does universal mean, anyway?
Your gateway to medical coverage.
Most jobs offer supplemental insurance plans. What does that mean and what does it cover?
It’s “free” but it’s not free.
How does insurance in Canada stack up against private insurance in America?
I didn’t think much about this until I found out the hard way.
Annoying to set up, easy to use.
Ways to move your money into Canada, other than a duffel bag full of cash. Which is totally legal, as long as you got the money legally and declare it at the border.
Canada has a bunch of different banks to choose from. We go through the most popular banks and outline what services they have to help you bank internationally.
Canada doesn’t care about your US credit score.
Canada’s on sale right now. Why? How? Will it last?
Living in Toronto
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.
If you’re coming from an expensive city, we have good news for you.
Condos are everywhere. Don’t get distracted by the flashy amenities and end up living in a shoebox.
There’s no ConEd in Canada. We give you the scoop on hydro and [[gasp]] metered internet.
Sometimes it’s just not worth shipping your furniture. Here’s how to make your apartment comfortable quickly and affordably.
Working in Canada
We wrote this because there’s no Canadian version of The Office to guide you.How's working in Canada different from the US? Click To Tweet
Finding a job in Canada
Not hugely different from finding a job in the US, but here are some tips anyway.
Rebuilding your professional network
No one wants to go to networking events.
Are Canadian salaries higher? Lower? And what about the exchange rate?
A tax guide for Americans in Canada
US citizens are unique in that we’re required to pay taxes on our worldwide income, regardless of where we’re living.
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.
Things about Canada you should know
We’re going to save you from embarrassing yourself.
A watching list
All the movies are filmed in Toronto, but none of them are actually set there.
A reading list
Beyond Margaret Atwood.
A listening list
Not just the CBC. Okay, it’s just the CBC.
A guide to Canadian politics
You realize Canada has a queen, right?
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.