7 Things to know and do before moving from Canada to Florida

9 Things to Know before Moving from Canada to Florida

Florida is home to Disney World, airboats, The Kennedy Space Center, Universal Studios and beautiful beaches. Florida gives you a lot of freedom to enjoy biking, boating, and swimming all year round. Florida has numerous places to hang out that offer you an irreplaceable experience that you cannot find in any other of the states.

1. First Steps Upon Planning a Move to Florida

Employment Sponsorship

The first thing you need to figure out is the reason why you’re moving to the U.S. This is will determine the immigration you will have to follow. If you’re moving for the purpose of working in the USA, you’ll have three main categories to choose from. In most cases, your employer will sponsor you for a visa which would allow you to live and work in the country. Acquiring the appropriate immigration employment authorization means you need to be approved for one of the three following items:

  • Employment Authorization Card/ Work Permit
  • Employment Visa
  • Permanent Resident Card/ Green Card

Depending on which conditions you meet, and how long you will work in the US, you will be issued either of these documents.

Business and Investment

If you’re’ moving to the US to start a business or invest in the country, you will need to acquire a Business Visa or an Investor Green Card. There are many different types of business and investor Visas—temporary and permanent.

  • Business Visa: This is the most common immigration document for someone who wishes to start their own business in the US or invest in one. E-2 and EB-5 are the most popular programs for Canadian entrepreneurs.
  • Investor Green Card: While not all of these will turn into resident green cards, the one that provides you with the best chance is the EB-5 Investor Visa.

Family Sponsorship

Canadians can acquire a permanent resident green card through marriage or being an immediate relative of a U.S. citizen.  The steps you need to take to apply for a Green Card will be situation-specific.

Each of the immigration options highlighted above has different application requirements. Also, if you are moving, you would also need to provide a poof of identity as well. For that, if you are travelling by air, you need your valid passport or NEXUS card to enter USA. But if a person or family is entering USA via road or sea, they required to present Canadian passport along with at least one of the following documents:

  • NEXUS Card.
  • Enhanced Driving/Identification card.
  • FAST Card.
  • SENTRI enrollment cards.

To apply for a visa, visit the given link to find out more.

2. What should I look for in an International Moving Company?

Shipment of your goods from Canada to Florida by plane or road are two good choices. However, the prices of shipping your stuff by plane can be a bit luxurious as compared to the road but if you want your things to move speedily to your new place, then shipment by plane is possible. On the other hand, if you are not in a rush and can wait for a couple of days for the shipment then do it through truck rental/container services.

So when selecting an international moving company from a list of thousands, you need to keep the following things in mind:

  • Conduct thorough research so you can compare the rates between the best international movers.
  • Make sure that the mover you have selected is licensed and permitted to get the job done.
  • They provide insurance for your goods, including accidental insurance and damage insurance.
  • Their claim of giving quality service is backed by customer reviews.


A few international moving companies are specialized in cross border moves. Some of the movers you should consider are Allied Van Lines, North American Van Lines, U-Pack and Atlas Van Lines just to name a few.

3. Car shipping to Florida

If you own a car, you’ll be faced with one of three decisions: get rid of your car before moving, drive your way across the border or ship your car. If you have an updated model that you have been looking to give up the decision is straightforward. However, if you don’t want to see your car, you have a tough decision to make.

While driving into the U.S. on your own may give you the peace of mind that your car is safe with you and not at the mercy of a stranger, you may run into a few bumps in the road. If you don’t manage your fuel wisely, you may end up incurring a higher cost than if you simply ship your vehicle. Additionally, there’s a chance that you may break down on the side of the road with no assistance. In our opinion, it is a much easier option to just find a trustworthy car shipping company, and have your car shipped. You can enjoy a comfortable plane ride knowing your car is in good hands.

4. First steps upon arrival in Florida

Having moved from anywhere in Canada to Florida, there are a few things you’ll have to take care of before becoming acclimated to the state —getting a driver’s license, taking applying for a financial service as well as investigating the health care system.

Driver’s License

In most American states, you need your Social Security Number in order to apply for a driver’s license. We suggest you bring all your identification with you including your passport, foreign driver’s license, a birth certificate as well as proof of your legal immigration status. To obtain your legal driving license along with other information on the subject, visit this link.

Financial Services and bank account in Florida

Immigrant financial access is important as you move to a new country. As an immigrant, you may rely on these financial services to send remittances cash checks and pay your bills.  The first thing you must do is open a bank account with both a USD account as well as a CAD account. While the required documentation depends heavily on each bank, you generally need two things:

  • An I.D. number,
  • Proof of your identity and address—a government-issued photo ID will suffice.

Healthcare in Florida

Moving into the US, getting health coverage should be one of your first orders of business. To enroll in coverage program, you must live in the United States and you must be a citizen/ national (or be lawfully present). Furthermore, you cannot be incarcerated.

In USA, healthcare services are provided through private companies. The government has little to no part to play in this unless an exceptional case (disability, unemployment, living close to or below poverty level) is at hand. The citizens are themselves responsible to look after their wellbeing.

There are several healthcare programs that are available for residents of USA to choose/facilitate from. This includes:

  • Private medical insurance.
  • Medicaid
  • Medicare

As a Canadian immigrant, we urge you to get insured as soon as possible. As a new immigrant, you can consider New Immigrants Health Insurance. These will include companies such as Sirius International, Seven Corners, and Lloyd’s Of London.  Additionally, you can opt for a Short Term Health Insurance plan that will provide temporary coverage while you travel to and settle down in the US.

5. Home and Auto Insurance

Moving to Florida would also require you to consider Home and Auto/Car insurance.  When we talk of auto/car insurance, it is a plant to cover the cost of damage that your vehicle or you may have been subjected to in case of an accident. Although the full cost won’t be paid, a significant portion will be covered. Some factors that define or effect your insurance plan include:

  • Car’s model and make.
  • Age and gender of applicant.
  • Marital status of applicant.
  • Credit history.
  • City and neighborhood.

Although auto insurance is compulsory in most of the states, the enforcement of insurance requirements varies differently. Different types of auto insurance include:

  • Liability coverage.
  • Uninsured motorist coverage.
  • Collision coverage.
  • Underinsured motorist coverage.
  • Comprehensive coverage.

Home insurance on the other hand is not as compulsory as auto insurance but is still considered as mandatory as health insurance. It is one way of protection against damage or loss. If you have mortgage on the property, the chances are that you already have insurance. It protects your personal property and home against damage or loss. It also protects the homeowner in case someone gets hurts while on their property.

6. Average cost of utilities in Florida

Basic utility costs including electricity and water will cost you an average of $210 CAD per month in Florida. You’ll be happy to learn that eating out and shopping is actually 9% cheaper than the national average. Be prepared to be entertained cheaply!

Internet set up in Florida

If you want to get an internet connection in Florida, then you can check up with:

  • Xfinity
  • AT&T
  • CenturyLink
  • COX Communications
  • EarthLink


There are 31 internet options in Florida and they all are important companies that provide internet services in all cities of Florida. Xfinity and AT&T offer you internet speed up to 1000 Mbps whereas Cox Communications and CenturyLink offer internet speeds up to 940 Mbps.

7. Cost of living in Florida

The cost of living in Florida is very affordable, especially if you live in the suburbs of the big cities. But the state isn’t the cheapest to live in. For a family of 4, the estimated monthly cost is around $US 4000 without rent and approximately $Us 900 for a single person without rent as well in Orlando. It is important to mention that Orlando is one of the most expensive cities to live in Florida.

Best places to live in Florida

8. Find an Apartment or Home in Florida

Homes and apartments in Florida are only expensive in the major cities such as Miami and Tampa Bay. Other suburban cities offer many affordable housing options. Contact a local real estate agent or conduct your own online research to find out the best prices according to your budget. 

9. Where to do the groceries?

Groceries in Florida are very affordable. In most cities you can find major grocery stores such as:

  • Publix
  • Southeastern Grocers
  • Whole Foods
  • ALDI
  • Trader Joe’s
  • Kroger

What to Expect from your new life in Florida?

Florida is a very attractive place as it is very affordable for what it offers. As a Canadian you will definitely enjoy the weather, the many attractions, and the low prices!

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