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Everything You Need to Know Before Moving to Canada

Posted Country Guides / November 6, 2020

Around 377,500 Americans live in Big White North, the second-largest country in the world, and most of them are staying within 100 miles of the US border. Moving to Canada will not only put you in place with excellent employment and educational opportunities but also in a spot with breathtaking scenery.

When it comes to international moving, many Americans opt for relocating to a neighboring country because of its vicinity, and because healthcare and education are more affordable. Luckily, countries have diplomatic agreements that help speed up the immigration process. However, before you embark on this once in a lifetime adventure, you should go over some basics questions like Can I live in Canada if I am a US citizen, Can you move to Canada without a job, How much money do you need to immigrate to Canada, and Is moving to Canada a good idea?

What Are the Things You Should Know Before Moving to Canada From the US

No matter if you are moving to another country for love or in pursuit of a career and higher education, you should learn a few things about it. That’s why we should go over some things every expat settling down in Great White North should know:

  • It is composed of ten provinces and three territories
  • Both English and French are official languages
  • It has the longest coastline of all the countries in the world
  • Around 82% of all Canadians live in urban areas
  • Forests cover almost half of the land.

What Are the Overall Costs of International Moving

While you were making the moving abroad checklist, have you stopped and asked yourself How much money do you need to immigrate to Canada? First things first, even though you are not shipping overseas your belongings, you will need an international moving company to help you relocate.

With the help of professionals who offer high-quality packing services, you won’t have to learn how to pack shoes or even how to box up jewelry. All you have to do is decide what to pack and what to donate or put in storage. True, professional help comes with the price, but don’t let that put you off relocation.

According to data from the WorldFreightRates website, shipping a 20ft container from New York to Vancouver will cost you between $2,570 and $2,850. However, if you are shipping belongings from Los Angeles to Vancouver, you’ll pay around $565. For more accurate estimates, don’t hesitate to call your chosen overseas shipping company and ask for a free quote.

Can a US Citizen Move to Canada? How to Choose the Right Immigration Program When Moving to Canada From the USA

Have you wondered how to move to another country? No matter if you are moving overseas or just across the border to Great White North, you will still need to pick the right immigration program.

The Canadian government established a few types of visas for the Americas. If you have long-term relocation plans, you can apply for permanent immigration through a few programs:

  • Express entry processes your application within six months and as a person with US citizenship. With express entry, you have a chance to apply for permanent residence because of strong language skills and skilled work experience.
  • Provincial Nominee Programs allow Canadian provinces to have a say in which expats can come and settle in a particular place. These provincial programs can be great for expats who already know which province they wish to settle down in.
  • Immigration to Quebec might not be for all Americans since they will have to think about breaking the language barrier because this is a French-speaking province. However, if you are up for the challenge of learning a language abroad, don’t hesitate to look into relocating to Quebec.
  • Spousal/Common-Law Sponsorship is a program that can allow you to get permanent residence if you are married to a Canadian. Also, the country recognizes same-sex marriages, so partners are also eligible to apply for this sponsorship.
  • Business Immigration programs attract expats that can contribute to the country’s economy.

If you are still wondering, Can I live in Canada if I am a US citizen, take another look at all the possible ways you can become a resident, from express entry to business programs, and you will surely find the best way to do so. Also, if you want to know, Can you move to Canada without a job, contact the embassy and check what kind of options they have for you. However, keep in mind that employed and highly qualified workers are more likely to get a visa.

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How to Move to Canada From the USA and Will the Immigration Process Be Easy if You’re a Skilled Worker?

In 2018, after 24 years of NAFTA trade agreement between the US, Mexico, and Canada, a new deal was reached. However, this agreement named USMCA left the part about work visas unchanged, allowing three countries’ skilled and professional workers to easily get a visa. That’s why when you start collecting documents needed when moving abroad, don’t forget to contact the Canadian embassy and check if you are eligible for their skilled worker permit. There will be a few steps in acquiring the work permit, but thanks to USMCA, the whole process will go smoothly. Furthermore, while you are gathering all the documents, ask about all the ways you can apply for citizenship along the way.

Can’t You Just Drive With Your Old Driver’s License

When relocating, have you considered hiring an international moving company that can provide you with vehicle shipping services? Bringing your car with you when relocating should be a no-brainer decision, after all, for the most part, Canadians and Americans have similar driving laws. However, you will have to adjust to a new country and its metric system because everything is measured in kilometers and not miles.

When you figure out how international car shipping works, it is time to think about the driver’s license. If you have a valid driving permit, you can use it for a while, but the timeframe will depend on the province you are relocating to. After a while, you need to get a Canadian drivers license by:

  • Passing a written exam on road rules
  • Passing one or two driving tests

Enjoying a Stress-Free Ride After Moving Abroad Won’t Be Possible Without a Car Insurance

Did you know that it is illegal to drive without car insurance in Great White North? That’s why if you own a vehicle, you must get insurance coverage. Furthermore, if you are going to drive someone else’s car, like your relative or a friend, make sure you are listed on their insurance plan.

Different insurance options include coverage for injuries to yourself and damage to the vehicle or the costs of damage and injury you brought on someone else in an accident. When you are getting insurance, the overall costs will depend not only on the plan you choose but also on your location, age, driving experience, and record.

How Are Healthcare and Education Systems Different Than in the US – One of the Most Important Things to Know Before Moving to Canada

Are you looking for the best place to live abroad with your family? Whether you are relocating with kids or alone, you should get familiar with your next location’s healthcare system. Luckily, if you opt for settling down in Great White North, you will have access to high quality, universal healthcare. This is one of the biggest differences you’ll encounter as an American. Every citizen and permanent resident has access to the province’s health insurance program that covers all the necessary hospital services.

The next thing that makes the country so appealing to expats is the fact that Canadian universities cost less than American schools do. If you are looking for a place to get higher education without having a lifelong burden of student loans, this is where you should go. Of course, tuitions depend on the chosen school, bachelor’s in engineering, medicine, business, and social sciences being among the most expensive ones. They can cost up to $22,800 a year. Furthermore, if you are pursuing a master’s degree, know that computer science, law, and business ones are amongst the priciest, and tuition can be around $49,500.

There Are More Than a Few Affordable Universities if You Hope to Gain Higher Education After Moving Internationally

If you wanted to relocate and save some money on education, don’t worry, there are more than a few universities around the country where you gain knowledge without draining your bank account. Here is a useful guide on universities with the most affordable tuitions:

  • The University of Regina, where tuition fees are around $15,200 a year.
  • Athabasca University with tuition fees of approximately $13,120 per year.
  • The Memorial University of Newfoundland where tuition fees are somewhere around $8,200 a year.

Where Should You Start a New Life When Moving From the US to Canada

You will be relocating to one of the friendliest countries in the world, making it one of the best places to live abroad. That’s why no matter where you choose to settle down, you will probably feel welcomed. However, most Americans that relocate opt to settle down in one of these areas:

  • Toronto, Ontario – When you choose to move to Toronto, you will be staying in the country’s largest city that has everything from jobs to entertainment. Living in Toronto might be a bit on the expensive side for the Canadian average, but it is worth paying the price.
  • Vancouver, British Columbia – it is located on the west coast, and it attracts expats with its gorgeous scenery and many parks, making it ideal for people relocating with dogs. Nearby skiing resorts and breathtaking mountain views make a living in Vancouver an unforgettable experience.
  • Montreal, Quebec – when relocating here, employ all the tips for learning a new language because people predominantly speak French. Moving to Montreal will put you in the city with affordable rent ideal for thrifty folks.
  • Ottawa, Ontario – as one of the best places to live in Ontario, the country’s capital is not as sleepy as it used to be. Now you get to enjoy plenty of restaurants and coffee shops, as well as all-year-round access to nature.

Is Moving to Canada a Good Idea?

Are you still on the fence about relocation? Even though picking up your bags and leaving the US might seem scary, if you do your research, find an appropriate visa, and choose the right place to settle, the whole process would run smoothly. Great White North is a country filled with job, education, and entertainment possibilities, on top of it all, beautiful scenery and affordable healthcare make it a tempting spot for many expats. Don’t hesitate to embark on this journey – and contact us as one of the best international moving companies to make the entire process as smooth as possible.


What Do I Need to Know Before Moving to Canada?

Firstly, you’ll need to learn how to move to Canada from the US and familiarize yourself with Canada’s immigration laws and the specific requirements for the type of visa or permit you’ll need to enter the country. You’ll also need to research the cost of living in the region you plan to move to, as well as employment opportunities and housing options. Canada is a diverse country, so it’s important to be open-minded and willing to embrace cultural differences. Finally, it’s a good idea to learn some basic French, as it is one of Canada’s two official languages, and you may find it helpful in some regions.

How Do I Prepare for a Move to Canada?

Research the specific requirements for your immigration status and make sure you have all the necessary documentation in order. This may include obtaining a work permit or visa, arranging for a place to live, and securing employment. It’s also important to research the cost of living and healthcare options in the region you plan to move to. You’ll also need to arrange for the transport of your belongings, either by hiring an overseas moving company or shipping items separately. Finally, it’s a good idea to learn about Canadian culture and customs.

What Is the Cost of Living Like in Canada?

The cost of living in Canada varies depending on the region and the city. Generally, major cities such as Toronto and Vancouver have a higher cost of living than smaller cities or towns. Housing costs are often the largest expense – the average home price in 2022, according to Statista, was around 700,000 Canadian dollars (which equals approximately 517,000 USD). Other expenses such as food, transportation, and healthcare are also relatively high compared to some other countries. However, salaries and wages in Canada are typically higher than in many other countries, which can help to offset the higher cost of living.

How Do I Find a Place to Live in Canada?

Determine what type of housing you’re looking for and research the specific neighborhoods or cities that you’re interested in. There are many online resources available to help you in your search, but it’s also a good idea to work with a local real estate agent who can provide guidance and support in finding the right place for you. It’s important to factor in the cost of utilities, transportation, and other expenses when choosing a location, as well as proximity to work, schools, and other important amenities.

What Are Some Good Neighborhoods to Live in Canada?

Canada is home to many great neighborhoods to live in, with options to suit different lifestyles and preferences. In Toronto, neighborhoods like the Annex, Yorkville, and Liberty Village offer a vibrant and urban atmosphere, with plenty of shops, restaurants, and cultural attractions. Vancouver has neighborhoods like Kitsilano, Yaletown, and Gastown, which offer a mix of urban and outdoor living, with easy access to beaches, parks, and hiking trails. Montreal’s Plateau-Mont-Royal and Mile End neighborhoods are known for their artsy vibe and trendy boutiques, while Calgary’s Kensington neighborhood offers a walkable downtown area and easy access to the Bow River. Ultimately, the best neighborhood for you will depend on your lifestyle, budget, and personal preferences.

What Is the Transportation System Like in Canada?

Most major cities have public transit options such as buses, subways, and streetcars, which are generally reliable and affordable. In addition, many cities have bike-sharing programs and pedestrian-friendly areas. Canada’s railway system is extensive and efficient, providing both passenger and freight transportation across the country. For longer-distance travel, there are many domestic flights available through the country’s major airlines, as well as international flights to destinations around the world. While owning a car can be convenient, it’s not always necessary in Canada, as the public transportation system is generally reliable and well-connected.

What Are Some Things to Do and Places to See in Canada?

Nature enthusiasts can explore the stunning natural beauty of Banff and Jasper National Parks in the Rocky Mountains, the rugged coastline of Newfoundland and Labrador, and the pristine lakes and forests of Algonquin Provincial Park in Ontario. For city lovers, Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal, and Quebec City offer a mix of history, culture, and entertainment, with museums, galleries, festivals, and nightlife. Niagara Falls, one of the world’s most famous natural wonders, is also a must-see attraction. Other popular activities include skiing, snowboarding, and other winter sports in the Rocky Mountains or the Laurentian Mountains near Montreal. Whatever your interests, there is always something to do and see in Canada.

How Do I Find a Job in Canada?

Before hiring an international moving company, research the job market in the specific region and industry that you’re interested in -there are many online job boards and recruitment websites that list current job openings. It’s also important to ensure that your resume and cover letter are tailored to the specific job and industry you’re applying to and that they meet Canadian standards. In some cases, it may be necessary to obtain a work permit or visa before being able to work in Canada, so it’s important to research the specific requirements for your situation.

What Is the Weather Like in Canada?

Canada has a varied climate, with different regions experiencing different weather patterns. In general, winters are long and cold, with snow and ice common in many regions. Temperatures can drop well below freezing in the winter months, especially in the central and eastern parts of the country. Summers are generally warm and pleasant. Some areas, such as the Pacific coast and parts of southern Ontario, have more mild weather with less extreme temperatures. In addition, keep in mind Canada is prone to weather phenomena such as blizzards, thunderstorms, and even tornadoes in some regions, so make sure you do your research before hiring an overseas shipping company.

What Should I Know About Canadian Culture and Lifestyle?

Moving overseas often brings a culture shock. Canadian culture and lifestyle are diverse and inclusive, reflecting the country’s multicultural heritage. Canadians are generally friendly, polite, and welcoming to visitors and newcomers. Hockey is a beloved sport and a source of national pride, but there are many other popular sports and recreational activities, such as skiing, snowboarding, hiking, and camping. Canada also has a rich cultural scene, with music, theater, and dance festivals held throughout the year. Food culture is also diverse, with regional specialties such as poutine, butter tarts, and Nanaimo bars. Canada is known for its natural beauty, with many national parks, lakes, and mountains offering outdoor recreation opportunities.

How Do I Get a Driver’s License and Register My Car in Canada?

Getting a driver’s license and registering a car in Canada varies depending on the province or territory you’re in. In most cases, you’ll need to obtain a driver’s license from the province or territory where you’ll be driving. To do this, you’ll typically need to take a written test and a road test and provide proof of identity and residency. You may also need to take a driver education course, depending on your age and experience. Once you have your license, you can then register your car with the provincial or territorial licensing agency. This will require providing proof of ownership, registration, and insurance.

What Are the Top Schools and Universities in Canada?

Canada has a strong education system, with many top-ranked schools and universities offering high-quality education across a range of disciplines. Some of the top universities in Canada include the University of Toronto, the University of British Columbia, McGill University, and the University of Alberta. These universities are known for their research excellence, strong academic programs, and diverse student communities. In addition to universities, Canada also has many excellent colleges, such as Seneca College, Humber College, and George Brown College, which offer vocational and technical training programs. The K-12 education system is also highly regarded, with many excellent public and private schools throughout the country.

What Are Some Common Mistakes People Make When Moving to Canada?

Some common mistakes people make when moving to Canada include underestimating the cost of living, not researching the local job market, and not being prepared for the weather. It’s important to do your research ahead of time and have a realistic budget in place to ensure a smooth transition. Additionally, it’s important to understand the requirements and processes for obtaining necessary documents, such as a work permit or permanent residency. Failing to obtain the proper documentation can lead to legal problems and delay the settling-in process. Finally, it’s essential to be open to the cultural differences and diversity of Canada and to make an effort to learn about the country’s customs and traditions.

How Do I Meet New People and Make Friends in Canada?

One way to meet new people is to participate in community events and activities, such as festivals, volunteer work, or recreational sports leagues. Joining a club or group that aligns with your interests is also a great way to meet like-minded people. Online platforms such as Meetup and Eventbrite can be helpful for finding events and groups in your area. Another way to make new friends is to attend language exchange events or to take language classes, which can help you to improve your language skills and connect with people from different cultural backgrounds. Finally, don’t be afraid to strike up conversations with people in your daily life, such as your neighbors, coworkers, or classmates. Canadians are generally friendly and welcoming and may be open to making new connections.

What Should I Do if I Have Trouble Adjusting to Life in Canada?

If you find you have trouble adjusting after shipping overseas, consider seeking out support from friends, family, or community groups. They can provide you with guidance, advice, and companionship as you navigate your new surroundings. You can also seek out professional counseling or therapy to help you work through any emotional challenges you may be experiencing. Additionally, try to stay active and engaged in your community by participating in local events or joining groups that share your interests. Remember that it can take time to adjust to a new culture and environment, so be patient with yourself and don’t hesitate to ask for help when you need it.

Blake Shaw

Bostonian and residential moving and packing expert. Blake Shaw enjoys bar-hopping, music, and writing insightful content.

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