February 20, 2024

 Moving to Canada from the USA

In recent months, the number of Americans looking to make the move to Canada has skyrocketed. In response to this, we have created this step-by-step guide to moving to Canada from the US. Read on to learn more about your Canadian immigration options as a US citizen, and the best pathways to Canadian permanent residence.

Move to canada
Move to canada
Considering making the move across the border from the U.S. to Canada? You’re not alone. In 2019, more than 10,000 U.S. residents made the move to Canada.
Moving to Canada can provide a wealth of opportunities for you and your family in regards to jobs, health, and education.
Before heading to the great white north to visit, study, or work you’ll need to know your options to enter and stay in Canada legally.


How can I move to Canada from the US as a permanent resident?

One of the easiest ways to immigrate to Canada from the US is through Canada’s Express Entry system
Express Entry is used to process the majority of Canadian immigration applications for three of the country’s economic immigration programs. If you qualify for one of the following programs, you may be eligible Canadian permanent residence through Express Entry.
80% of applications for permanent residency submitted through Express Entry are processed within 6 months, making it one of the fastest immigration systems in the world.

There are three federal economic immigration streams:

  • Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSW) If you have at least one year of skilled work experience, meet minimum language requirements in French or English, and score at least 67 out of 100 points on the FSW selection grid, you may be eligible to the Federal Skilled Worker Program.
  • Federal Skilled Trades Program (FST) If you have two years of experience in a skilled trade, meet minimum language requirements in French or English, and have either a Canadian certificate of qualification to practice your trade in Canada or a job offer in your skilled trade in Canada, you may be eligible to the Federal Skilled Trades Program.
  • Canadian Experience Class (CEC) If you meet minimum language requirements in French or English and have worked in a skilled position (NOC 0, A, or B) for at least one year in Canada on a valid work permit, you may be eligible to apply to the Canadian Experience Class.
These programs are competitive and score based. Keep in mind that meeting the criteria for any of these programs is not enough. Candidates are assigned a score and ranked against other candidates, and only the highest-ranking candidates will be able to apply to immigrate to Canada.
Additionally, each province operates its own Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) which offers immigration programs for skilled workers.

Can a US permanent resident work in Canada?

If you are moving from the US to Canada to work, there are different types of work permits that may be available to you, depending on your circumstances:



  • NAFTA Work Permits The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) is an economic agreement between Canada, the United States, and Mexico that facilitates trade between the three countries by, among other things, allowing selected categories of temporary workers into each other’s markets.NAFTA work permits can be issued through the International Mobility Program to American citizens with an eligible job offer from a Canadian employer to come and work in Canada temporarily without needing a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA), They also allow American companies with Canadian branches to transfer American employees in managerial or executive roles quickly and easily.
  • Employer Specific Work Permit If you have a valid job offer from a specific employer, you may be eligible to enter Canada on an employer-specific work permit. An employer-specific work permit usually requires a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA), which is a document that proves the employer tried to find a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident to fill the role, before it was offered to a foreign national, Anyone wishing to switch jobs after entering Canada on an employer specific work permit will be required to apply for a new work permit.
  • Spousal Open Work Permit If your spouse or common-law partner is a temporary foreign worker or international student in Canada, or if you are undergoing the inland sponsorship process you may be eligible for a spousal open work permit. This type of permit is not employer specific so if you change jobs you will not need to get a new work permit as long as your current permit is valid.

Can I move to Canada from the US as an international student?

There are several perks to studying in Canada compared to the US, including lower tuition rates, shorter visa processing times, and the ability to start work immediately. A Canadian study permit allows the student the ability to work 20 hours per week when school is in session and up to 40 hours per week during breaks and holidays.
In the US, international students with F-1 visas may not work off-campus during their first academic year, but may accept on-campus employment subject to certain conditions and restrictions. Even after their first year, international students in the US can be limited to the jobs they can hold making their stay more financially difficult.
While the ability to work is great, the ability to purchase more with fewer dollars is even better. Fortunately, accomodation and food for students are cheaper in Canada than the U.S. You also won’t have to spend as much time and money on your studies in Canada compared to the US.
Canadian Universities offer 2-year Associate degrees as well as 3 year Bachelor degrees. Moving to Canada from the US through a study program can also benefit your long-term immigration plans. 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.
Canadian work experience, in addition to a degree from a Canadian institution, drastically increases your chances of successfully applying for Canadian permanent residence. In the US, however, you may need to find a sponsor company to continue your stay through work.

Canadim’s International Student Program

The number of international students in Canada continues to grow every year. Many of them are able to stay in Canada after finishing their studies.


Canadim’s International Student Program can help to guide you through the process. From getting your study permit to permanent residency, we’ll be there every step of the way. With our help, you can transform a Canadian education into Canadian permanent residence.

Every one of our International Student Program clients is paired with an Educational Counsellor who has been trained in the landscape of Canadian higher education and immigration in Canada. With their help, you will submit the strongest possible application.

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19 thoughts on “How to Move to Canada from the United States

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