Have you been thinking about making a move to Canada? If so, you could probably use a little help to learn about everything from getting started with a passport and visa to employment in Canada, residency and other things you will need to know about before crossing the border to start your new life in Canada.
Canadian law requires a passport to enter the country unless you are a citizen of the United States. U.S. citizens must have in their possession valid proof of identity and proof of citizenship whether they have a passport or not. If you are not a citizen of the United States or Canada however, you will not be allowed entry without your passport.
Things to Know About Canada
- Canada has a population of more than 36.29 million people
- Canada is made up of 9,984,670 square kilometers
- Canada has the longest coastline in the world
- Canada’s motto, A Mari Usque ad Mare means “From sea to sea.”
- Canada is the 2nd largest country in the world, right behind Russia
- Canada is known as the most educated country in the world with more than half the population holding a college degree
Useful Information for Travelers
- Currency in Canada: Canadian Dollar
- Largest cities in Canada: Toronto, Ontario (pop. 2,731,571) Montreal, Quebec (pop. 1,704,694) Calgary, Alberta (1,239,220)
- Primary Languages: French (more than 7.5 million native speakers) and English (more than 20.2 million native speakers)
- Religions: Christians (67.3%) No religion (23.9%) and Islam (3.2%)
Top Reasons People Move to Canada
- Canadians place a high value on education and if you have children, they will be able to attend some of the best schools in the world.
- The crime rate is low, especially when compared to the United States.
- Gun ownership is low and violent crime is very rare.
- The country is very diverse with people from many countries.
- The economy is one of the strongest in the world.
- Quality of life is excellent.
- Canada has universal healthcare and even expats may be eligible for a health card depending on the type of visa they hold.
- Canadians have a great sense of humor. As a matter of fact, some of the leading comedians hail from Canada including Jim Carrey, Howie Mandel, Leslie Nielsen and Dan Aykroyd.
Reasons You May Not Want to Move to Canada
- You may have to pay taxes in the United States as well as Canada. Depending on IRS requirements however, you may be exempt from paying U.S. taxes.
- Immigration can be expensive, and it is not easy to move to Canada. Everything will be scrutinized when you try to relocate to Canada and even if you are a skilled professional, it can take several years to gain residency.
- The cost of housing is high.
- You won’t find a Target or Trader Joe’s in Canada, but you’ll quickly get used to the chain stores that Canada offers.
You can answer some questions pertaining to eligibility for immigration to Canada on the Canadian government website at this link: https://www.canada.ca/en/immigration-refugees-citizenship/services/come-canada-tool.html
Once you take the assessment, the page will direct you to what steps you must take next to immigrate to Canada.
Working in Canada
If you are not a Canadian citizen, you will usually need a work permit to work.
For United States citizens, the processing time for a work permit will often take two weeks or longer. You will need to provide credentials to the government to be approved as a skilled worker. These credentials include:
- Proof of education (diploma, degree, certificate)
- Proof of work experience
- Your professional credentials (certificates, degree)
Study in Canada
As with working in Canada, you will need a study permit if you are not a citizen. Study permits are usually provided only for the time it will take you to complete your program as well as an additional 90 days after school to stay in the country. The 90 days can be used to make plans to move away or even to extend your stay.
Students who will be enrolled in a course that takes six months or less to complete do not need a study permit.
Visiting and Residency
You can apply online for a visitor visa to be able to travel to Canada and stay for a short time but for a permanent resident visa, you will need to file under a specific category. These include:
- Family class
- International adoption
- Skilled worker class
- Business class
- Provincial Nomination
It can be time consuming to obtain permanent residency in Canada. You will need to provide some important paperwork to immigrate legally.
Documents and Other Requirements:
- Medical certificate
- Criminal record check
- Skills assessment test
- Education proof
- Application fee
- Immigration interview
- Language test results
- Proof of sufficient income
- Visa application
Fees for immigration range from $75 for an application fee to more than $1000 for an application fee and are subject to change at any time due to regulations that change frequently.