Congratulations! You’re moving to Canada.
You’ve weighed the pros and cons, and your decision is made. You’re going to join the ranks of nearly 300,000 people that have made the northern country their new home.
There’s a lot of ways you could’ve come to your conclusion. Maybe you’re looking for a new job, a change of scenery or your spouse has a job in this great country.
Moving to Canada isn’t a hard decision to make; it has tons of great things going on to satisfy nearly everyone’s needs.
And even though Canada remains part of the British commonwealth, it still pretty similar to the USA – that makes for a smooth transition for those moving up north from Canada.
So now that you’ve made your choice, do you have what you need to make sure you’ve got everything squared away?
This article is going to cover all of your bases; take notes and keep it bookmarked for your big move.
- The different ways to legally immigrate to Canada
- What kind of paperwork to keep handy to make sure the transition is painless
- How to travel with your family and pets
- How to move your belongings across international bordersDealing with the different phases of culture shock
- How to acclimate to your new home
- Understanding cost of living, how to apply for Canadian health care, and what you need to set up your banking account.
For truly indispensable information – some you might not even anticipate – read on.
Getting There Legally
Obviously, if you’re moving to Canada. you want to have all your ducks in a row.
This goes beyond easy things like having your passport handy. You’re going to need a bit more paperwork than that.
If you’re following your spouse as they start their new job or you yourself snagged employment in Canada, many companies will help with relocation.
The skilled worker visa is the fastest and most common way to gain resident status.
If you don’t yet have a job or a relative or spouse, there are other pathways to legal immigration.
Look into the different types of legal residency. There’s so many, one of them has to fit your needs.
If you’re looking to start a business in Canada or are self-employed, as long as you meet the minimum requirements for funds you can get permission to immigrate to Canada.
Maybe you have family up north. If so, they could easily sponsor you.
If you have elderly relatives or just interested in helping those who need it, you can apply for a caregiver’s visa.
The rarest form of sponsorship is provincial class residency when a province specifically asks you to move to it.
There’s a similar rare residency for people who want to move specifically to Quebec.
Although these are both uncommon, that doesn’t mean it’s possible!
Make sure to research all of your residency options, then you’ll know which path is best for you and you can get started on your move!
The Actual Move
As with any move, it’s best to be organized. But if you’re coming from America to Canada, you’ll need to really take this advice to heart!
You’ll need to find a home or at least a hotel to check into while you search for your apartment. Just like in the states, sites like Craigslist can help you find a place to stay
When you’re going to gain entry to the country, make sure that you have all of your crucial documents.
Valid permits and passports for you and your family are obviously necessary to have on hand.
It’s also a good idea to make two copies of lists of everything you’re bringing with you now and everything that’s being shipped to you later. Make sure to include the monetary value too.
Speaking of money, don’t forget to change your cash over to Canadian currency before you move.
So you’ve got your paperwork and your family is good to go – don’t forget about the family pets!
Check to make sure your pet meets all the necessary requirements so that you won’t leave your furry friend behind.
If you think you’ve got all your bases covered, then one of the last moves to make is to book a moving company that will make the transition completely hassle-free.
Your New Life In Canada
One of the first things expats find out about no matter where they move is the sensation of culture shock.
You’d think that moving to Canada wouldn’t present that challenge for those from the U.S. but it can.
Usually, expats experience four (sometimes five) stages of culture shock.
From the honeymoon period, where everything is amazing and new, through shock, isolation, and finally adjustment, be prepared to feel a lot of things when you trade one home for another.
The good news? Now that you know what’s coming, you can anticipate it and maybe overcome it even faster!
Your goal is to settle in and enjoy your new life. That’s not going to be hard in a great place like Canada.
Canada is famous for its cold climate, so if you enjoy sweater weather, you’ll love it up north.
Think of all the stylish layering you can do with your wardrobe and don’t forget all of the fun outdoors activities you’ll have access to.
Skiing and ice skating are obvious choices; why not try out hockey and maybe even curling?
If you love warm weather activities like swimming, don’t stress; there are plenty of indoor gyms and pools – which is no doubt great news for folks from Florida or California!
Have you ever wanted to challenge yourself and learn a new language but found it difficult mastering it on your own?
If you move to Quebec, they speak French with their own unique local twist on it. Talk about immersion learning!
Settling In And Providing For You And Your Family
The realities of everyday life in Canada will settle in after you make your move. If you anticipate these needs, you’ll be ahead of the curve.
Cost of living is one thing to keep in mind. While it might seem a bit higher in Canada than other places, it’s actually pretty affordable compared to places like Western Europe.
For example, you can expect to spend 35-50% of your income on housing depending on the type of job you secure, but this is offset by affordable education and health care.
Many in the U.S. have heard about the health care system in Canada – both good and bad things. You might’ve heard that it’s completely free or that there’s always a long wait for services.
There might be a wait, but it’s not that long. And healthcare is actually very affordable.
To make sure you and your family are covered, apply for a health care card as soon as you arrive. Expats are eligible for different coverage than actual citizens.
Research the province you’re moving to online to get more information about your situation and to apply for the Health Card.
How are you going to pay for all of this? Make sure you open a bank as soon as possible when arriving.
This is going to take some time so make sure once you’ve chosen a bank or credit union, you make an appointment.
You’ll be asked to provide several documents – a driver’s license, passport, work permit, a letter from your employer verifying income among them.
Preparation is key to making your move as easy as possible!
You’ve got your visa or permit, got your game plan, and know what to expect living abroad. Now you’re going to make it happen!
Make the most of it and have this guide on hand so you can make your move to Canada smoothly and easily!