Immigration Guide | Moving to Canada or Relocating to Canada from USA

Canada Immigration Guide for US Citizens

Last Updated On : May 14 , 2024

The increase in the number of Americans looking to immigrate to Canada has been remarkable in recent months. To address this trend, we have prepared a comprehensive guide that outlines the steps needed to move from the US to Canada.

This immigration guide is a valuable resource for US citizens who are exploring their immigration options and looking for the most effective routes to secure permanent residence in Canada. Dive into our guide for information on navigating the immigration process and making your move to Canada a seamless journey.

Relocating to Canada from the US opens the door to abundant possibilities for individuals and their families, including employment, healthcare, and educational benefits. Before embarking on your journey to the Great White North for tourism, academic pursuits, or professional endeavors, it is important to familiarize yourself with the legal routes to immigration and the requirements for lawful residence in Canada.

Looking to Immigrate Yourself to Canada from the US as a Permanent Resident?

The Express Entry system is one of the most streamlined routes for US residents wishing to immigrate to Canada.

This efficient system processes a significant portion of applications for Canadian permanent residence, catering to three important economic immigration programs. Eligibility for these programs paves the way for US citizens to smoothly transition into Canadian society as permanent residents.

With an impressive track record, the Express Entry system boasts fast processing times, with around 80% of applications finalized within just 6 months. This accelerated approach makes it one of the fastest immigration processes in the world, facilitating swift transfers from the USA to Canada for those who are interested to immigrants.

Here is a description of the major economic immigration streams:

Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSW):

Skilled professionals with at least one year of work experience, language proficiency in English or French, and a minimum of 67 points on the FSW selection grid may find the Federal Skilled Worker Program their gateway to residency in Canada.

Federal Skilled Trades Program (FST):

Trades people with two years of experience, language skills, and either a Canadian qualification or a job offer in Canada may be eligible for the Federal Skilled Trades Program, giving them a path to immigration to Canada from the USA.

Canadian Experience Class (CEC):

For those with at least one year of skilled work experience in Canada (NOC TEER 0, 1, 2, or 3) and the necessary language requirements, the Canadian Experience Class offers a path to convert that experience into permanent residency.

Remember, these programs are competitive and based on a scoring system. Meeting the eligibility criteria is only the first step; your CRS score will determine your rank against other applicants.

Is it Possible for a US Permanent Resident Work in Canada?

If you are considering moving to Canada from the US for employment, you can consider different work permit options to suit your situation:

Work permit type


Employer Specific Work Permit

This requires a valid job offer and usually an LMIA. This is tied to one employer, and changing jobs requires a new permit.

Open work permit for spouse

If your spouse/partner is a temporary worker or student in Canada, or is available during inland sponsorship,. Not tied to any one employer, so changing jobs is allowed without a new permit.

CUSMA Work Permit

Issued to U.S. citizens for temporary work in Canada without an LMIA under the Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement. Facilitates the transfer of U.S. employees to Canadian branches in managerial/executive roles.

This table provides a clear overview of the types of work permits available for those considering USA move to Canada for employment purposes.

Understanding the USMCA Provisions for US Citizens Relocating to Canada

Under the framework of the United States - Mexico - Canada Agreement (USMCA), which replaces the former NAFTA, conditions related to immigration and workforce mobility have been maintained. Three main methods exist for obtaining a work permit according to this treaty. These are three:

USMCA Professional Category

Here is the requirement for USMCA Professional Category and you must need to meet these requirements.


Professionals in specified fields such as accounting, architecture, engineering, law, education, and healthcare.


Must secure employment in a related field before applying. Independent contractors are not eligible.

USMCA Intra-Company Transfer Category

Here is the requirement for USMCA Intra-Company Transfer Category and you must need to meet these requirements.


Employees of U.S. companies who transfer to a Canadian subsidiary or affiliate.


At least one year of continuous employment with the company within the last three years. The applicant must be actively employed at the time of application and must hold a specialized or managerial position.

USMCA Traders and Investors Category

Here is the requirement for USMCA Traders and Investors Category and you must need to meet these requirements.


Individuals invest in a Canadian enterprise, with the aim of facilitating its growth.


Investors must be involved in substantial trade between the U.S. or Mexico, and Canada, or make a significant investment in a Canadian business.

Is It Possible for an International Student to Move from the US to Canada?

Yes, if you want to immigrate you to Canada from USA here are the benefits of studying in Canada compared to the US.

Lower tuition rates: Canadian institutions generally have lower tuition fees than their US counterparts.

Work while studying: If you are a student in Canada, can work up to 20 hours per week during the academic session and 40 hours during breaks.

Restrictions in the US: In the US, F-1 visa holders cannot work off-campus in their first academic year and face job limitations thereafter.

Cost of living: Housing and food costs are generally lower in Canada than in the USA, leading to savings for students.

Path to Permanent Residence: A Canadian degree and work experience substantially increase your chances of obtaining Canadian permanent residence.

US Sponsorship Requirement: To stay in the US after studying, finding a sponsoring company is often necessary.

These points highlight the financial and immigration benefits of choosing Canada for higher education and work experience.

Estimating Financial Requirements for Immigrating from US to Canada

Applying for a Canadian work permit incurs a fee of $155, while the application fee for a Canadian study permit is $150.

Additionally, individuals applying for permanent residence are required to pay a Permanent Residence Fee (RPFR), amounting to $490, payable upon approval of the permanent residence application.

The work visa Canada cost is $155 for the work permit fee, additionally $100 if you are going to apply for an open work permit.

These fees are a necessary component of the total cost of moving to Canada from USA and are standard immigration Canada fees that applicants should factor into their relocation plans.


The cost to move from the US to Canada from the US involves much more than just the application fees for a work or study permit. It is a holistic process that involves careful financial planning and consideration of various factors, such as relocation expenses and the cost of living. For those moving to Canada from the USA, it is an investment in a future full of promise and possibilities.

Paul Abraham Immigration Consultancy can be your guide through this transformational journey, providing expert advice and support every step of the way. With their assistance, the path to Canadian residency becomes less daunting, ensuring a seamless transition to the opportunities that lie ahead in the 'Great White North'.