From temporary residence in Canada to Canadian immigration from the United States, several options are available for current Amercian residents.
Canada and the United States share a lengthy and layered history. Throughout this history, both nations have been settled and governed by immigrant communities. Canada continues to settle hundreds of thousands of immigrants every year, including Americans.
American citizens arrive in Canada for a multitude of reasons: economic opportunities, sponsorship from a spouse or partner, and furthering education to name a few. Americans look either to immigrate or temporarily relocate to Canada.
Are you a US H-1B Visa Holder interested in discovering your options for Canadian permanent
This page details the different Canadian immigration and temporary residence options available for American citizens. Feel free to click on any of the hyperlinked items below to get a more comprehensive understanding of the policies. If you have a specific inquiry regarding immigration/relocation to Canada from the United States, please get in touch with us by completing the contact form at the end of this page and we will get back to you as soon as we can.
Reside in Canada Temporarily
Working in Canada
The first step to legally working in Canada is usually acquiring a work visa which is referred to as a work permit in Canada. If you have already received a job offer from a Canadian employer (congratulations!), the next step may be for you and your employer to obtain a document titled a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) prior to applying for a work permit. This document indicates that the hiring of a foreign worker will have a positive or neutral effect on the local labour market.
Canada highly values its economic freedom and, like the US, Canada has a generally free market economy where individuals and businesses are rewarded for their innovation and diligence.
SWAP Working Holidays
SWAP Working Holidays, formerly known as Student Work Abroad Program, is a not-for-profit organization which provides Canadian youth with opportunities for cultural exchange. U.S. citizens between the ages of 18 and 30 can obtain a 12-month open work permit to participate in this program provided that they have enrolled in full-time post-secondary institution within the past 12 months of applying. Students in their final year of study are also eligible for the program. Students who have already worked in Canada for up to a year under SWAP are permitted to re-apply for SWAP under the condition that they have completed another academic term at their post-secondary institution.
Under the auspices of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), U.S. citizens may be eligible for facilitated processing when applying for a temporary Work Permit in Canada. Work Permits under the provisions of NAFTA do not usually require a LMIA.
U.S. citizens may work in Canada under NAFTA through one of the following categories:
· NAFTA Professional
A NAFTA Professional must be qualified to work in one of approximately 60 targeted professions, including professions in teaching, science, medicine, finance, law, and many more.
· NAFTA Intra-Company Transfer
NAFTA Intra-Company transferees from the U.S. may be transferred to Canada on a temporary basis in order to work for a branch, subsidiary, or affiliate of their employer. These individuals must have worked continuously for their U.S. employer for at least one of the last three years and be employed by the company at the time of application in a position that is considered managerial, executive, or involving specialized knowledge.
· NAFTA Traders and Investors
A NAFTA Trader from the U.S. must demonstrate an intention to carry out substantial trade of goods or services between Canada and the U.S. NAFTA Investor must demonstrate that he or she has made a substantial investment in a new or existing Canadian business and that he or she is seeking entry to Canada to develop and direct the Canadian business. Work permits in the NAFTA Investor category may also be granted to employees of the primary Investor who can be considered essential staff.
Because Canada is the United States’ largest trading partner, and vice versa, a large number of American businesses have affiliate offices, branches, or subsidiaries in Canada. 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.
Work Without a Work Permit
A number of situations may occur when U.S. citizens can perform work in Canada without needing to secure a Temporary Work Permit. This includes individuals who engage in business or trade activities in Canada but will not enter the Canadian labour (labor) market, known collectively as Business Visitors.
Other positions covered by this provision include after sales service workers, athletes, performing artists, media, and military personnel.
Study in Canada
At a time when young Americans are faced with escalating tuition costs, mounting student debt, and higher barriers to entry than before, many of them are noticing that a world-class higher education is available on the same continent, and often for a fraction of the cost. With an exchange rate that benefits U.S. citizens looking to study in Canada, there has never been a better time to consider Canadian universities and colleges for further education. International students in Canada can also work while studying in Canada, allowing them to supplement their income and gain vital work experience.
Furthermore, studying in Canada doesn’t just make sense from an educational and economic point of view — it is also a pathway towards developing a professional career and immigrating to Canada permanently.
Permanent Immigration to Canada
A major advantage with the Express Entry immigration selection system is that applications are processed within six 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, thanks 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
Much like the United States, Canada is sub-divided into different jurisdictions, known as provinces. These provinces are, in some ways, similar to the various states that make up the United States. Unlike states in the U.S., however, Canadian provinces have a significant say in which new immigrants come and settle in the particular provinces. Indeed, over recent years many American legislators and commentators have asked publicly why the U.S. can’t emulate the success that Canada has had in decentralizing its economic immigration system. The Provincial Nominee Programs may be a useful starting point for Americans who know which province they wish to move to, as well as others who have specific skill sets and work experience that certain provinces are looking for.
Immigration to Quebec
Quebec is a distinct case within the Canadian landscape. As Canada’s only majority French-speaking province, many U.S. citizens may not initially jump at the opportunity to relocate to Quebec, but here are just a few reasons why the province deserves at least a second look:
· Quebec is home to the metropolis of Montreal, known for its laid-back European- style joie de vivre. Montreal has a large English-speaking population, a relatively low cost of living, and the second-highest per capita student population of any city in North America. The U.S.–Canada border is also just a 45-minute drive from downtown Montreal.
· For decades, Quebec has more closely modeled itself on the mixed economies and strong welfare states of Northern Europe. Quebec is the land of heavily subsidized day care for children and huge public investment in education, jobs training, and retirement costs, while also retaining a business-friendly environment.
· The major towns and cities of Quebec are just a few hours’ drive from Boston and New York City. The New England region and upstate New York are even closer, and further afield, Washington D.C., Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Buffalo are all within a day’s drive.
A large percentage of American immigrants to Canada arrive after being sponsored by a Canadian spouse or common-law partner. Canada and the U.S., after all, are the best of neighbours (neighbors), and many Americans and Canadians become the best of friends. The current Liberal government of Canada places particular emphasis on what is commonly known as family reunification or family sponsorship, and the pousal/common-law route is one pathway to Canadian immigration under this category. The government is also working on reducing processing times under this immigration category.
Furthermore, Canada recognizes same-sex marriage. Same-sex partners may be eligible to apply to reunite in Canada, provided they meet all eligibility requirements.
Business Immigration to Canada
Through the Business Class immigration programs, Canada aims to attract individuals that have a significant ability to contribute to the Canadian economy. With a diverse market-based economy and workplace values that American business people would recognize, Canada presents an abundance of opportunity for investment and entrepreneurship.