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Guide to Moving From The US to Canada

Canada, the world's second largest country, attracts millions of immigrants seeking refuge from their home country. Canada has a bilingual population consisting of mainly British and French descendants. Many expatriates find Canada to be the ideal place to settle down after traveling to multiple countries. As a western-developed nation nestled among the vibrant outdoors, Canada offers a wide range of options for those seeking a well-balanced lifestyle.

Many people wonder why U.S. citizens would want to leave to live in Canada. Many have vowed to leave due to political changes, healthcare reform, and a perceived threat against civil liberties. While these topics remain a hot subject for debate, nobody can deny Canada's high-quality healthcare. Expatriates with a high tolerance to cold weather have chosen Canada for its vast regions to see and explore. These regions range from major metropolitan areas, such as Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver, to world-class ski resorts and nature preserves off the outskirts of the cities.

Expatriates offering the nation their unique skills can expect an open and warm invitation to permanent residency in the country. This makes it an attractive place to live for those looking to get away forever. Expatriates who qualify for a skilled workers and professionals visa will have the easiest time getting into the country. Canada scores visa applicants based on age, occupation, and other criteria it deems necessary for entry. If approved, applicants will need to prove they have enough money to support themselves while seeking employment in the country. In addition, applicants will need to pass a medical exam. Expect to receive routine vaccinations to safeguard against certain viruses.

After arriving in Canada, expatriates can expect to find themselves in a large city that looks comparable to other metropolitan areas in developed nations. The local currency will look and feel different. It also has a different purchasing power than other currencies, such as the U.S. dollar. To put it into perspective, a pint of milk costs $1.13, which is a sharp decrease from the $1.49 found in the United States. With the rising costs of living, expatriates may find the economic stability of the country to be quite luring. In fact, Canada ranks in the top five of economically stable countries, making it a highly desirable place to live. This does not come without an unexpected cost.

Nothing has changed in the transportation sector when it comes to living in Canada. Expatriates who flew in will need to rely on cabs to get around at first. Public transportation does exist in the form of trains, metros, bus, and coach services for short and long distance transit. Driving across the U.S.-Canadian border may bring sudden surprises when encountering Customs and Border Protection. Expatriates may also hit roadblocks when getting their vehicle registered in Canada. Therefore, it is wise to investigate the process before driving across the border.

The majority of expatriates will decide to rent an apartment in Canada before looking for real estate. This is usually the more affordable option. Expect to pay a good amount of money for a home in Canada. The average price for a three-bed room house in Vancouver is about $750,000. It also helps to know the languages before arriving to better communicate with the locals. Nothing is worse than trying to navigate the country without knowing the language. Even worse is owning a home without feeling native to the land.

After settling down in Canada, expatriates will want to find employment if they have not already secured it before moving. Working in Canada has its advantages not found in other western societies. For instance, employees are covered for everything they need when they become sick or injured. This coverage includes medications, diagnostics, hospital stays, and more. It does come at the cost of heavy payroll deductions. The heavy expense of payroll deductions goes towards medical benefits, such as long-term and life-term disability, full medical coverage, dental, eye glasses, and prescription drugs. Many workers in Canada advise others to set aside their retirement funds early at their own private bank to cut down on payroll deductions. The federal tax rates may also leave most expatriates gasping for air. Skilled workers can expect to pay 15 percent on the first $42,707 of taxable income, 22 percent on the next $42,707, 26 percent on the next $46,992, and 29 percent on income that exceeds $132,406.

Welcome to Canada: What You Should Know (PDF)

Moving Back to Canada from USA

Move To Canada? Not So Fast

Importing a Vehicle into Canada (PDF)

How to Move from the U.S. to Canada

Relocation Checklist: Before You Leave

Move to Canada? It's Not That Easy

A UK's Expat's Guide to Canada

Would You Like to Live Permanently in Canada?

Renting Your First Home in Canada (PDF)

U.S. Citizens Living in Canada: Income Tax Considerations (PDF)

Visiting, Working, Studying or Living in Canada

Benefits of Living in Canada

Living Abroad in Canada: Housing

Consumer Price Index, by Province (monthly)

The Cost of Living in Canada (PDF)

Indicators of Well-Being in Canada

The Expat Network: Living and Working in Canada

Expats Say Canada is the Best Place to Live

U.S. Or Canada: Which Country Is Best To Call Home?

Canadians Are Happy and Getting Happier: An Overview of Life Satisfaction in Canada, 2003-2011 (PDF)

Alone in Canada: 21 Ways to Make it Better (PDF)

Quality of Life in Canada: A Citizens' Report Card (PDF)

Planning to Work in Canada?: An Essential Workbook for Newcomers (PDF)

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