11 Things to Know Before Moving From the US to Canada
Known for its many excellent benefits for residents, Canada has gradually become a top destination for immigrants, including Americans, in recent years. Despite its 37 million population, Canada is one of the safest countries in the world. Little wonder it is now home to several foreigners. Though the country has English and French as its official languages, there are many other languages spoken by residents.
With its status as the second-largest country in the world, it is a given that Canada has a range of climate conditions. Most parts of the country experience 4 seasons. Below temperatures are common during winter going to – 20 C easily in some provinces. Hot summers are common as well.
Regardless, Canada is a great choice if you are looking to relocate. However, before that, here are a few things you might find noteworthy!
1. First Steps Upon Planning a Move to Canada
If moving to Canada is the next to do on your bucket list, the first thing you must do is determine why you want to relocate. This will guide you in the immigration application, which offers different options.
After identifying what method you would like to apply through, fill out the necessary forms relevant to your application. If you are applying through Express Entry, you can create a profile online, which will make the process faster. For other options, all you have to do is complete your forms and mail your application to officials in Canada.
For your visa application, you could use any of the following methods.
Express Entry Visa
The Express Entry Visa is most suitable for professionals and skilled trade workers who have at least one year of full-time work experience. When applying through this method, your age, education, and field you work in will be considered.
Business Start-Up or Investment Visa
The Start-up Visa Program is recommended for entrepreneurs and business owners who wish to relocate to Canada. Investors with a minimum net worth of $10 million can also apply for immigration through this method.
Family Sponsorship Visa
If you have a family member who is already a resident in Canada and can sponsor your immigration, the Family Sponsorship Visa is best advised for you. If your spouse is a citizen or has been given permanent residence, you should apply through this visa.
The Caregivers Visa is suitable for people who plan to be caregivers to a Canadian citizen or someone that lives in the country. You can become a permanent resident through this route or simply work temporarily.
2. What should I look for in an International Moving Company?
You can easily move your things from the States to Canada by air or ground, but make sure the moving company you hire is reliable and trustworthy. When opting for an international moving company, here’s what you should look for:
- Insurance is included (Always ask what’s included).
- Rates are not extravagant (Get quotes from multiple moving companies).
- They have good reviews.
- Excellent customer service and transparency are their priorities.
Our pick of the Best International Moving Companies in Canada
Read our complete reviews and request free quotes to make an informed decision.
3. How Can I Ship my Car to Canada?
If you are a car owner planning to relocate to Canada, you have to decide what to do with your vehicle. You can either get rid of your car by selling it before you leave the US, or you can drive it across the border. Your third option is, however, having the car shipped to you by a car shipping company.
Despite knowing the available options, it could still be difficult to decide which is best for you. If you drive or choose to ship your car, what are the advantages and risks involved?
- Driving out of the United States guarantees that you can keep an eye on your car without having to worry whether or not it is in safe hands. However, this also means that you will be spending a lot of money on gas in the long run.
With this in mind, shipping can be a great option. However, how easy is it to find a reliable car shipping company that will safely transport your car?
- Since you will be a newbie in Canada, finding the right shipping company for you might be a bit of a task. However, several car shipping companies offer the best services at great prices.
4. What are the first steps to take upon my arrival in Canada?
After arriving in Canada, you must quickly sort out some things that will make your stay a lot better. Below is a list of the first steps you should take after getting to your new location.
Since you are coming from the US, you get to use your valid foreign full licence for at least 60 days before you are required to exchange it for the driving licence used in your new province. You’ll want to get more details from the government of your province. You should still get an International Driving Permit before leaving the States which will give you an official translation. This is especially useful if you move to Quebec where the first language is French.
Having a full foreign licence also means that you don’t have to take the regular driving lessons, provided you have proof of at least two years of driving experience. However, despite the free pass you might have in your first few months, you will eventually be required to trade your foreign licence and require some essential documents. An original ID card, proof of driving experience, your current licence, and an application fee are documents that may be required for the exchange, depending on your province.
Understanding the healthcare options available to you in your new location is as important as any other decisions you can make. The Canadian government runs a publicly funded Health Care System. This means taxpayers in the country mostly fund medical bills.
To register for Canadian healthcare, you are required to apply for a health card in your province. You, however, have to have lived in the country for three months before you become eligible to apply. To complete your health care registration, you would need to fill a health care coverage form, provide an ID card and documents proving that you are a permanent resident of Canada and a full-time one.
As you settle down in your new location, you must have easy access to your savings, and this might require setting up a bank account. Though the law does not make it mandatory for intending workers to have a Canadian bank account, most organizations prefer their workers to have one. This makes the process of paying salaries and removing taxes easier.
While every bank has its own specific requirement, opening a bank account generally requires providing documents such as:
- Immigration papers
- Proof of permanent resident
- A valid passport
- Social Identification Number
5. Utilities Setup in Canada
Like thousands of immigrants across Canada, you will be saddled with the problem of figuring out how to set up utilities upon your arrival in the country.
To get started with your electricity setup, go online to search for energy providers in your district. After going through the list, check out their rates and pick the one most suitable for you. Some provinces only have one provider legislated by provincial laws.
Next, go to the provider’s website and set up a profile. While doing this, you will be required to enter your home address and contact details alongside some other info. Some provinces offers energy tracking app to help you with your electricity consumption.
6. Internet Setup in Canada
As earlier mentioned, setting up utilities requires some research on your part. Check out some of the best internet providers online and choose the best one that best suits your needs. Whether you want Satellite Internet or an Alternative Internet Service Provider, Canada has many great companies with great bundles offer for TV and Phone as well. Some of the most popular providers in the country include Bell, Shaw, Videotron, Cogeco, Telus, Rogers and many others.
7. The essential insurance coverage in Canada
New immigrants often have a waiting period before they can apply for healthcare insurance. This often leads many to temporarily using private insurance while their interim period expires.
Even as a tenant, immigrants need home insurance. To get yours, make sure to find out about the different insurance companies available and how you can save money.
If you had your car shipped, it is advisable to have it insured in case of any accidents. Once again, be sure to do proper research and pick the car insurance that works best for you.
8. What Is the Cost of Living in Canada?
Though it varies from city to city, the general cost of living in Canada is similar to the states. Everything depends on how $ 1 USD is worth in $ CAD. In Toronto, the most populous city in the country, renting a one bedroom apartment would average $1467.
Also, you are expected to spend an average of $125 and $65 respectively for your electricity and internet bills. Depending on the service provider, phone bills are expected to average between $70 to $90 monthly.
In Montreal, the cost of living is relatively cheaper when compared to Toronto. To get a decent one-bedroom in this part of the country, you will spend an average of $1285. Electricity bills are not that expensive, with an average of $75 monthly.
Like Toronto, living in Vancouver can be expensive. With a one-bedroom apartment averaging $1869 and a monthly electricity bill reaching $124, Vancouver is one of Canada’s most expensive cities.
To get more information on the Cost of Living of different Canadian cities:
9. How do I Find an Apartment or a Home in Canada?
Finding a suitable apartment in your new location is very important. Since you are new to the area, here are a few suggestions based on several factors.
If you are a young unmarried person looking to find an apartment in Toronto, neighborhoods like Younge-Eglinton, Liberty Village, and King West are highly recommended. These areas are characterized by a spirited nightlife, cozy apartments, and a large concentration of young professionals. Indeed, you will get the best of the youthful energy readily available in these places.
If Montreal is your choice of location as a young person, areas like Hochelaga, Plateau Mont-Royal, and Griffintown will do the magic for you. Families might prefer Villeray, Rosemont or the suburbs.
In Vancouver, you would find more young people in neighborhoods like Gastown, Yaletown, and Kitsilano. If you are in tune with the youthful things of life, these are perfect locations for you.
While hunting for apartments, you will find out that there are different types of apartments ranging from a single room to those with one bedroom and more. To aid your search, you might want to keep an eye out for newspaper ads and listings on local websites or Facebook Marketplace.
10. Where can I Shop for Groceries?
As a new resident of Canada, one of the first things you will want to figure is where’s the closest grocery store. It is essential to locate reliable stores where you can make your day-to-day purchases.
Loblaws is a big player all through Canada with chains such as No Frills, Real Canadian Superstores and Provigo. Another player with many different banners is Sobeys. Metro is better known in Quebec and Ontario. Walmart and Costco can also get you all your grocery needs just like in the States.
11. What Can I Expect From My New Life in Canada?
Changing your location is never an easy thing. Even more, changing your country of residence is even harder. However, with all of the amazing things Canada has to offer, be rest assured that in the end, all of the stress would be worth it. Cheers to a new life!
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