USA-Canada Immigration – Moving to Canada From the USA

USA-Canada Immigration – Moving to Canada From the USA

Every year, thousands of American citizens make the decision to move to Canada. Some are attracted by economic opportunity, others are sponsored by a spouse or partner, while many other Americans come to work or study in Canada on a temporary basis. Indeed, some are enticed by more than one of these factors, or other considerations.

If you are looking to immigrate to Canada from the USA, the first step is to assess which programs give you the best chance of success. There are many ways to immigrate to Canada from the United States or to reside in Canada temporarily, but each pathway requires a plan.

The United States and Canada were, by and large, settled and governed by immigrant communities — and both continue to receive hundreds of thousands of newcomers from around the world on an annual basis.

What Are the Options for Immigrating to Canada from the USA?

Work in Canada

Obtaining a Canadian work visa (referred to as a work permit in Canada) is usually an important step towards working legally in Canada. You can use any online or offline job search agencies to look for a job or simply try our Job Search Tool. If you do already have a job offer from a Canadian employer, you and your prospective employer may have to obtain a document called a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) before you begin working in Canada. This document serves as proof that your employment in Canada will likely have a neutral or positive effect on the local labour market.

Intra-Company Transfer

The Intra-Company Transfer Program allows international businesses to bring key employees to Canada without the requirement to obtain a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). Employees who work in executive, managerial, or specialized knowledge roles may be eligible to come to Canada with their family and work as an intra-company transferee.

USA Students in Canada

International students in Canada can work while studying in Canada, allowing them to supplement their income and gain vital work experience. Furthermore, Canada immigration policy has established for international students a pathway towards developing a professional career and becoming permanent residents. See International Students.

SWAP Working Holidays

SWAP Working Holidays (formerly Student Work Abroad Programs) facilitate international exchanges between young people from different nations. U.S. citizens between the ages of 18 to 30, inclusive, may obtain an open work permit for 12 months under this program, provided that they have been enrolled in full-time post-secondary study at some point in the past twelve months. Final year students not returning to studies are also eligible. After working in Canada for up to a year, U.S. students are permitted to repeat SWAP in Canada once they have completed another academic term in the U.S.

Express Entry

Express Entry is an electronic system that the Canadian Government established for purposes of expediting the selection and application process for various Economic Immigration Programs. It requires online submissions of applications and documentations to ensure quicker processing times, which currently average 6 months.​

Through Express Entry, American citizens can go from merely thinking about moving to Canada to living and working here as permanent residents in well under a year. Moreover, American citizens typically have a strong chance of being invited to apply for Canadian permanent residence through Express Entry, due to strong language skills, the probability of having obtained skilled work experience, and the higher education that they may have completed earlier in life.

Provincial Nominee Programs

Each one of Canada’s provinces runs their own immigration programs, targeting the specific demands of local labour markets. Americans who have specific skills may find a faster path to permanent residency via a provincial program. For more information and the various programs visit Provincial Nominee Programs.

Spousal/Common-Law Sponsorship

Americans whose family members are already Canadian permanent residents or citizens can apply through Family Class Sponsorship immigration. Furthermore, Canada recognizes same-sex marriage. Same-sex partners may be eligible to apply to reunite in Canada, provided they meet all eligibility requirements.

The following family members can be sponsored for Canada Immigration from the USA: Spouse; Common Law partner; Conjugal partner; Dependent children; Parents; Grandparents; Brothers or sisters, nephews or nieces, granddaughters or grandsons who are orphaned, under 18 years of age and not married or in a common-law relationship; Another relative of any age or relationship but only under specific conditions; Accompanying relatives of the above (for example, spouse, partner and dependent children).

Economic Class Immigration

Canada accepts the largest number of immigrants under the economic class. This includes federal and provincial economic immigration programs covering a vast range of skills and target occupations. Through these programs, Canada aims to attract individuals that have a significant ability to contribute to the Canadian economy.

Because Canada is the United States’ largest trading partner and vice versa, and because of the similarity in economic skills acquisition and requirements, Americans will naturally find the economic immigration programs conducive to their Canada immigration goals.

Canada’s Federal Economic Class Programs are:
Federal Skilled Worker
Federal Skilled Trades
Canada Experience Class


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