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A Guide to Immigrating from Canada to The United States

Learn the various pathways of immigration to The United States from Canada, including family-sponsorship and employment.

Interested in immigrating to the United States?
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Do You Want to Immigrate to the USA from Canada?

It has become increasingly popular for Canadians to move to the United States. Some industries in the US are even hiring Canadian workers at this time.

Moving can be very stressful for anyone and moving to a different country can be even more stressful because there are laws that must be followed when moving to a different country. Of course, there are plenty of forms to fill out, no matter what country you are moving to. If you’re moving from Canada to the US, it could be for one of a few reasons.

Canada Icon FlagCanada
United States of America Icon FlagUnited States of America

How Do I Apply for Immigration to the US from Canada?

To apply for immigration to the United States from Canada, there are several steps that must be followed.

  1. Determine the appropriate visa category: The first step is to determine the appropriate visa category for your situation. Depending on the reason for immigrating, such as work, study, or family ties, a different visa category may be required.
  2. Gather necessary documents: The next step is to gather all necessary documents, such as proof of financial means, educational qualifications, and evidence of any previous work experience.
  3. Complete the online application: The individual will need to complete the online application for the visa category they have selected. This will include providing personal information, answering security questions, and uploading required documents.
  4. Pay application fee: There is an application fee that must be paid. The fees vary depending on the visa category and will be stated on the application form.
  5. Biometric information: In some cases, biometric information such as fingerprints and photographs may be required.
  6. Interview: Some applicants may be required to attend an interview at a US embassy or consulate in Canada.
  7. Wait for a decision: Once the application is submitted, the individual will need to wait for a decision on their application. Processing times can vary depending on the visa category and the individual’s circumstances.
Canada to US

Reasons Why Canadians Move to the US


If a Canadian meets an American who lives in the United States and they fall in love, marriage is usually the next step. When this happens, it is time to move to the United States!


You may have been transferred by your current employer or you may have found a new and better job. Some people move to America for economic reasons or make it big as the economy in America is bigger and more diverse. The United States has far more career opportunities for highly skilled professionals. Not only can more money be made, but a person can fulfill their full potential in one of America’s highly competitive cities.

When you are moving from Canada to the United States for a job, your employer must sponsor you. There are a few different categories when it comes to getting permanent residence in the US based on employment skills.

EB1 Category  – for employees with extraordinary ability and skill in:

  • Business
  • Science
  • Education
  • Arts
  • Athletics
  • Professors
  • Researchers
  • Ph.D. holders

EB2 Category –  for employees with extra skill and ability in the business, arts, or science fields. This is also for advanced degree professionals.

EB3 Category  – for professionals with Bachelor or Graduate degrees. Other skilled workers will also fall into this category.

If you would like to learn more about working in the US as a Canadian, visit our page on Canadian Citizens Working in the United States.


Some people move to the United States from Canada to get an education. While Canada has some excellent universities, many Canadians choose American schools and are given a few options through a student visa.

Immigration Process to the US

Most Canadian immigrants get their Green Card and become Legal Permanent Residents (LPRs) as immediate relatives of US citizens, through family sponsorship , through employment, or by claiming refugee status. Many Canadian immigrants begin as students in the US, it may also be useful to understand the student visa process as a stepping stone to later achieving legal permanent residency.

Top Questions for Moving from Canada to the US

Can I move from Canada to USA?

If you are eligible through one of the many streams of immigrating to the US, then yes! 

Your first step is to find out which path you are eligible for moving from Canada to the US. One of our immigration consultants can help you discover which path would be best for you. 

Can I live in the US as a Canadian citizen?

As a Canadian citizen, you can stay in the US for up to six months at a time. If you want to work or earn money in the US you will be required to obtain a work visa

How does a Canadian citizen get a US green card?

To get a US Green Card as a Canadian, you will need to become a US Permanent Resident. You can become a US Permanent Resident through several paths: investor, employment, or family. 

Do I lose my Canadian citizenship if I become an American?

No! If you want to become an American citizen or a US permanent resident, you can keep your Canadian citizenship through dual-citizenship.

Can a Canadian marry an American and get dual citizenship?

Yes! If a Canadian marries an American, they can apply for US citizenship after being a US Permanent Resident for 3-years.

Are salaries higher in the US or Canada?

Salaries in the US and in Canada all depend on the location and company. 

For example, a dentist in a small rural town in Canada will make less money than a dentist in Los Angeles, California

You should always look at the cost of living in each city that you are looking to move to.

Requirements for Immigrating to the US from Canada

In order to immigrate to the United States from Canada, there are several requirements that must be met:

  • You must have a valid reason for immigrating, such as work, study, or family ties.
  • The individual must apply for and be approved for a visa. Depending on the reason for immigrating, the appropriate visa category must be chosen, such as a work visa or student visa.
  • You must pass security and background checks, and provide biometric information.
  • The individual must have the financial means to support themselves and any dependents in the U.S.


In addition, it is important to note that the process of immigrating to the U.S. from Canada can be complex and it is recommended to consult with an immigration lawyer for guidance.

Necessary Forms When Moving to the US

  • ETA-750: This application is filled out and submitted through your employer to the Department of Labor.
  • I-140: This form will be filled out by your employer and submitted to the INS.
  • I-485: This form must be filled out along with any other documents for you and your family and it is submitted to the INS. At this time, you should also file the Employment Authorization Document (EAD) and Advanced Patrol (AP) or Travel Document.

When all of the forms are completed and approved, you will get the stamping in your passport and receive your plastic Green Card.

After 10 years, your green card will expire and need to be renewed. For a more permanent solution, you can apply for US citizenship after 10 years and will not need to reapply every 10 years.

If Documents Are Not Done Properly

If you do not fill out any documents properly, there could be a major hold-up in your application process. If you fill out any documents fraudulently, you will lose any chance you have of becoming a US citizen.

It is very important for you to do all of the necessary research and get immigration help from a professional when applying for US citizenship. It can be a very confusing and complex problem. It is a good idea to contact an immigration attorney in order to walk you through the process.

Bringing Your Family to the US from Canada

Family Based Petition is a popular option for those US Citizens that are interested in sponsoring their family. The Immigration and Nationality Act allows for the immigration of foreigners to the United States based on a relationship to a U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident.

To sponsor a relative, they must:

  • You must be sponsored by a citizen of the United States who can prove their American status
  • The sponsor must be able to prove that they can support you at 125% above the poverty line
  • The sponsor must be able to show proof that you are related. Not all relatives are allowed to be sponsored by a US citizen
  • You must be their husband or wife, unmarried child under 21, unmarried son or daughter over 21, married son or daughter of any age, brother or sister (the sponsor must be over 21 years old), or parent if they are at least 21 years old


The government wants to protect the health and welfare and security of the United States. So, the following people would be denied regardless of family status:

  • If you have a communicable disease
  • If you have a dangerous mental or physical disorder
  • If you are addicted to drugs
  • If you have committed a serious crime
  • If you have committed terrorist acts
  • If you are a member of a totalitarian party
  • If you are a former Nazi war criminal


The US citizen who is a relative and is sponsoring a relative must file the I-130 Petition for Alien Relative. The United States Citizen and Immigration Services (USCIS) must then approve the immigrant visa petition. This petition is also filled out by the relative and must prove the relationship. The US citizen would submit all of this information to the USCIS.

Already in the US?

If you are already in the United States legally, you can file for an adjustment of status for the permanent resident while your I-130 petition is being filed. To do this you would use Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence, or Adjust Status.

For immediate family members such as a spouse, child, mother, or father, the application process can take many months. Immediate family members have priority. For other relatives, it can take many months to 10 years for the petition to process. Once the petition has been approved and you are an immediate family member, you do not need to wait for a visa number. One will be issued immediately followed by an interview with the US Consulate in Canada.

Diversity Visa Lottery

If you do not have a job in the United States or a family member, you can still have a chance! Each year, the State Department holds a lottery. The State Department randomly chooses 50,000 qualified applicants, they get their green card and eventually apply for citizenship.

The State Department publishes the countries eligible to participate in the lottery each year. If you are eligible and you are chosen in the lottery, you can bring your spouse and any children who are under 21 and unmarried with you.

Qualifications include:

  • must have completed a 12-year course of elementary and secondary education OR
  • have 2 years of work experience over five years, in a field that requires at least two years of training to perform


How to Enter

  • Step 1: Gather all of the information regarding the lottery at the State Departments’ website
  • Step 2: Apply electronically at between October 5th and December 4th of each year.


If more than one application is received in your name, you will automatically be disqualified. Paper entries will not be accepted.

You are required to have a recent photo of the entire family. Even if a family member is not going to go to the United States, their photo must be included. There are no group family photos allowed. Each person must have their own.


There is no fee to enter the lottery, however, if you are chosen, you must pay the immigrant visa fee and a visa lottery surcharge. You will be notified by mail if you win. People who do not win will not be notified.

Settling in the United States from Canada

There are many things to consider when finally settling in the United States from Canada. These include:

Healthcare and Insurance: For Canadians migrating to the United States, healthcare and insurance are a significant change. There are several sorts of insurance coverage to take into account, and the American healthcare system runs differently from the Canadian system. To assure access to high-quality healthcare and financial security, it is crucial to comprehend the variations in healthcare systems and insurance practices and make sure you are prepared.

Housing and Cost of Living: Another couple of factors to take into account while moving from Canada to the United States include housing and the cost of living. Depending on the city and region, the cost of living might vary significantly. Apartments and single-family homes are both possibilities for housing, and rental costs can be exorbitant in some regions. To make educated selections about where to settle, it is vital to comprehend the local housing market and cost of living.

Cultural Adaptation: Moving from Canada to the United States involves a lot of cultural adjustment. Language, cultural practices, and social standards can all have an impact on day-to-day life. Individuals can adapt and feel more at ease in their new environments by becoming aware of these differences and learning how to manage them. Making connections with other Canadians or immigrants can also act as a support network during the transition.

There are several other factors to take into consideration when settling in the US. If you would like to learn more, you can visit our Settle in the US page.

What Are the Best US Cities to Move to as a Canadian?

Canada and the United States share the longest international border in the world, and with many Canadians considering a move south of the border, choosing the right city is essential. Although the United States is home to some of the most intriguing, diverse, and energetic cities, choosing the right one can be difficult. The US offers a wide range of options, whether you’re seeking a busy city or a more relaxed, beachy way of life.

Many Canadians who plan on moving to the United States are referred to as “snowbirds”. A “Snowbird” is a North American term for a person who migrates from the higher latitudes and colder climates of the northern United States and Canada to the southward direction in winter to warmer locales such as Florida, California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, or elsewhere along the Sun Belt of the southern United States, Mexico, and areas of the Caribbean.

If you’re a Canadian who doesn’t necessarily want to move to a warmer climate, visit our page on the Top 10 Cities for Immigrants to Live in the United States.

Is It Worth Moving to the USA from Canada?

The potential for greater economic opportunities is one of the main advantages of immigration to the US. As a result of having a larger population and economy than Canada, the United States may offer greater employment options and higher wages in some sectors. Also, the market in the United States is bigger and more varied, which might be helpful for business owners and entrepreneurs.

The decision to immigrate to the United States, however, may also have certain downsides depending on how you look at it. In some parts of the United States, especially in big cities, the cost of living can be exceedingly high. Also, compared to Canada, the United States has a more complicated and pricey healthcare system, which may worry prospective immigrants. Since the social and political structures, traditions, and practices of the United States and Canada differ, there are also cultural distinctions to take into account.

In the end, the choice to come to the United States from Canada is one that is made on a personal level and is influenced by a number of variables, such as personal objectives, preferences, and circumstances. Those who are thinking about immigrating should carefully explore all of their options, weigh those possibilities against one another, and seek advice from immigration experts.

What If I’m Looking to Move to Canada from the US Instead?

The United States and Canada are very close and share commonalities when it comes to immigration. Migrants moving from the US to Canada have chosen to move for a variety of reasons, including economic opportunity, to work, study, or a chance to be closer to a family member or partner, work. In fact, a large number of American students have chosen to pursue their studies in Canada due to the often lower tuition costs and closeness to home. Individuals may choose to come to Canada permanently or temporarily, depending on their goals and qualifications.

Hear About the Experience of a Canadian Who Moved to the US

VisaPlace held a Facebook Live where Fadi, one of our immigration professionals interviewed Michelle, who has moved from Canada to the United States. Michelle speaks about her immigration experience and they discuss what you can expect throughout the immigration process before, during and after. You can watch the video of this Facebook Live below:

Are You Interested in Migrating to the United States?

Immigrating to the US is not a completely straightforward process. The laws are somewhat complex, and for this reason, it helps to work with an immigration professional to help you.

If so, Contact VisaPlace today. All our cases are handled by competent and experienced immigration professionals who are affiliated with VisaPlace. These professionals consist of lawyers, licensed paralegals, and consultants who work for VisaPlace Legal an award-winning immigration firm that adheres to the highest standards of client service.

Have a Question related to your Immigration Needs?

Fill out the FREE Immigration Assessment form and get a response within 24 hours to see if you’re eligible.

The assessment form should take approximately 5-7 minutes to complete. We will get back to you within one business day to let you know if we are able to help.

Call Us Today

Getting started is easy. Use our eligibility assessment form or call us today at 1.877.296.0874 to speak to one of our U.S. immigration professionals.