How to Move to Canada

Ready to move to Canada?

Every election year, we hear the same thing — people threatening to move to Canada if their favored candidate doesn’t win.  Maybe you’ve even said it yourself!  But moving to Canada isn’t as simple as packing up the minivan and driving to Ontario.  If you’re serious about wanting to move to Canada, you’re going to need to get a residence visa for Canada.  Today, we’ll explore what it takes to legally live in Canada, so the next time one of your friends says they are going to move to Canada, you can tell them exactly what they’d need to do!

Temporary Residence in Canada

The Canadian sport of curlingIf today’s presidential election doesn’t go the way you want it to, and you want to go chill out in Canada until after the inauguration, all you need is your valid US passport.  US citizens are allowed to stay in Canada for up to 180 days without a visa.  That’s six full months that you can enjoy poutine, curling, and Canadian weather with no visa required!

Six months a year in Canada isn’t enough for you?  You’re going to need a visa if you want to move to Canada on a long-term basis.

Visas for Residence in Canada

There are two ways to move to Canada – on a temporary basis, with a residence-type visa, or on a permanent basis as an immigrant.

Residence visas are available to US citizens who will work or study in Canada.

  • Student Visas require that you have been accepted into a “designated learning institution” in Canada.  Designated learning institutions are schools and universities that have been authorized to host international students.  Along with your student visa, you can also apply for a student work permit so that you can get a part-time job.  (Poutine doesn’t pay for itself, you know.)
  • Work Visas allow you to live and work in Canada, receiving a salary from a Canadian employer.  There are two types of work permit available:
    • Open Work Permits, which allow you to look for work in Canada and take a job with any employer, and
    • Employer-Specific Work Permits, which require you to already have a job offer from a specific Canadian employer.

Your student visa or work permit will only be valid for a certain period of time, so you will need to extend your visa if you want to remain in the country.  You would need to still be attending the same school or working for the same employer in order to extend your visa.

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Immigration – Move to Canada Permanently

Want to move to Canada and live there forever?  You’ll need to acquire permanent residency status in Canada.  There are a number of ways to qualify for permanent residency in Canada, including:

  • Express Entry for skilled workers.  If you have qualifications, including education and job experience, in a type of job for which there is a high demand in Canada, you can apply to be fast-tracked for permanent residency.  There are over 350 types of jobs that qualify for Express Entry, including many types of managerial and administrative positions.  Is your job on the list?
  • Express Entry for skilled trades. Like the skilled worker class, the Express Entry for skilled trades allows you to apply for permanent residency if you have high-level experience in trades like agriculture, manufacturing, or building.
  • Start-Up Visa. Want to move to Canada and start your own business?  The Start-Up Visa is for you.  You’ll need to have a business plan and the support of Canadian investors.
  • Immigrant Investor. Do you have $2,000,000 — that’s two million Canadian dollars — to invest in venture capital projects in Canada?  If so, you can qualify to move to Canada as an Immigrant Investor.

If All Else Fails, Marry a Canadian

What do you do if you want to move to Canada permanently, but you don’t qualify for Express Entry and don’t have the money to invest in a new business or other investment in Canada?  Canada does have a refugee program to allow political refugees to settle permanently in Canada.  However, you won’t qualify as a political refugee just because the White House is occupied by the person you didn’t vote for.  You actually have to be persecuted, or in serious danger because of war or civil unrest, in order to be considered a refugee.

There’s one last option to get permanent residence in Canada: family sponsorship.  Canadian citizens can sponsor immediate family members to become permanent residents of Canada.  Parents, grandparents,  and children (including adopted children) of Canadian citizens have the opportunity to apply for residency with the sponsorship of their Canadian relative.  Family sponsorship also extends to the spouses and life partners of Canadian citizens.  Maybe it’s time to adjust your online dating profile to look for partners up north!

PassportInfo.com Says — Get Out and Vote!

Vote in the US Election!We’ve brought you this guide to emigrating to Canada in the spirit of fun.  We love the USA, and we’re going to love it just as much tomorrow no matter who has been elected!  If you haven’t voted already, we encourage you to get out and cast your vote… and yes, you can use your passport as ID at the polls!




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