Understanding the Process of Moving to Canada from the US


If you’re an American citizen hoping for Canadian citizenship, you must first have permanent resident status. Whether you’re in the country as an employee, a student, or with a family member, the more time you spend here, the stronger your application will be.

Although Canada and the United States share a strong relationship, Americans hoping to move to Canada permanently will need to follow the regulations laid out by Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). This government department is responsible for authorizing new permanent residents and granting newcomers Canadian citizenship.

Canada Welcomes You

There are several pathways available for Americans seeking permanent resident status.

Successful new immigrants will have access to Canada’s public health insurance and other social services. With so many incredible Canadian cities, job opportunities, and low crime rates, you’ll discover why the “Great White North” is one of the best places to live.

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Do You Qualify for Family Sponsorship?

If your spouse or common-law partner is a Canadian citizen or has permanent resident status and meets the eligibility requirements, they can apply for reunification by IRCC. This extends to your spouse, common-law partner, or conjugal partner. In Canada, same-sex couples also share the same rights.

The processing time for this type of request is generally around 12 months once the application has been received.

If your sponsor is 18 years of age and a permanent resident or citizen of Canada, they are welcome to sponsor a relative. However, there are exceptions, so you’ll want to review the guidelines carefully. You may also wish to consult with an immigration consultant to ensure your financial evaluation, medical condition statement, and other required declaration forms are filled out correctly.

Part of the sponsor’s responsibility is ensuring that they can financially support the person they are inviting into the country.

Programs for Workers Applying for Canadian Permanent Residence

Canada’s federal government has different immigration programs to help qualified people from all over the world enter the country for permanent residence.

The Express Entry System is the most direct route for Americans hoping to live in Canada. Candidates create an online Express Entry Profile to answer questions about their language abilities, work experience, and education level. A Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) is used to assess the candidate’s score. Applicants with the highest-ranking CRS score are invited to apply for permanent residency.

Is your job in excessive demand? There are several economic immigration programs Americans can apply to to become Permanent Residents:

The Federal Skilled Worker Program is for skilled workers with experience working abroad. It requires:

  • Minimum language skills in English or French
  • Minimum one year of skilled work experience

The Canadian Experience Class Program is for skilled workers with experience working in Canada.

  • Minimum language skills in English or French
  • A valid work permit
  • Minimum one year of work experience in Canada in a TEER 0,1,2 or 3 position (typically requires apprenticeship training, college diploma, university degree) according to the National Occupation Classification System

The Federal Skilled Trades Program is for skilled workers with qualifications in a skilled trade.

  • Minimum language skills in English or French
  • The qualifications (or Canadian certification) to work in the work
  • A job offer in Canada for your skilled trad

Did you have questions regarding Canada’s Express Entry System? There are always friendly Canadians ready to assist!

Employment in Canada

Your ability to find work in Canada is important. Experience working in the country will benefit your permanent residence or Canadian Citizenship application greatly. There are several legal ways for Americans to gain employment in Canada.

The first thing you’ll want to do is apply for a work permit. A work permit allows you to look for work in Canada or accept a position from a Canadian employer. A Temporary Work Visa (permits stays of 6 months or less).

Other permits require the involvement of a potential employer to help sponsor your stay.

CUSMA Work Permit

The Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement (CUSMA) permits temporary workers from the US to enter Canada. The International Mobility Program simplifies the process for Canadian employers wanting to hire Americans temporarily.

Employer Specific Work Permit

If you have in-demand job skills, a potential employer can apply for an Employer-Specific Work Permit to hire you. This is done through the Ministry of Employment and Social Development of Canada. Employers looking to hire an American will need a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) document to verify that they couldn’t find any suitable candidates already living in Canada to fill the role.

Open Work Permit for Spouses

If your husband, wife, or common-law partner is a student in Canada or working in the country, you can also apply for permission to work in the country. You will need an Acknowledgement of Receipt (AOR) letter showing that you’ve applied to Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada for immigration, citizenship, or temporary residence.

Studying in Canada: An Overview

Attending school in Canada is an excellent way for Americans hoping to immigrate to Canada.

The process begins by applying to the school of your choice. Once accepted, all international students will require the following:

  • study permit
  • valid passport
  • letter of acceptance from the school
  • proof of financial stability

Not all educational visits require a study permit. However, your course is limited to six months or less.

You are responsible for covering your tuition, living expenses, and all related administrative fees while in Canada. Upon your arrival, be prepared to produce all related documentation.

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Not All Applicants Will Be Successful

Before you go to the effort and expense of applying, you need to ask yourself if there are any potential barriers that will automatically disqualify you.

Criminal Inadmissibility

A criminal record won’t necessarily prevent you from attaining permanent residency in Canada. Still, you’ll want to double-check what is considered a serious offence. Even if you didn’t serve jail time, your past conduct may disqualify you from entering the country. A single charge of drunk driving or even resisting arrest can be enough to disqualify you.

Medical Inadmissibility

If you have a medical condition that poses a risk to others, or if it is determined that you’re only entering Canada to take advantage of the free healthcare, or if your condition will place undue strain on Canada’s social services, your application will likely be denied.


When dealing with immigration applications, we cannot stress enough how mindful you need to be in your responses. Should IRCC conclude that you withheld information or weren’t being truthful, you could be banned from applying again. Even if you’re not intentionally trying to deceive anyone, a carelessly filled-out online application is enough to draw the wrong kind of attention.

Have Your Application Professionally Reviewed

Although Canada and the United States are close neighbours, the decision to move to a different country holds all sorts of administrative and financial responsibilities.

At Volte Intercontinental Visa and Immigration, Inc., our Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultants (RCIC) can help you navigate the complexities. We’ll walk you through all the eligibility criteria, various forms, timelines, and all other steps necessary to boost your chances of successfully immigrating to Canada.

If you are sincere in your intentions to make a life in Canada, it’s worth proceeding in the most cautious, well-informed way. Do you need assistance dealing with the red tape of Canada’s immigration process? We’re familiar with all the guidelines and regulations set forth by the Canadian government.

Moving to Canada from the US Made Easy

If you’re considering a move to Canada, Volte Immigration in beautiful British Columbia is happy to assist. We provide all kinds of Canadian immigration options for our American friends. Let us know your situation and the type of permit you’re interested in.

Take our free assessment today to determine your eligibility.

Let’s discuss your needs.

Call: 1.778.256.7488
Email: services@volteimmigration.ca

Our goal is to provide quality services and excellent satisfaction
because we value your trust.