Moving to the USA – Customs, Restrictions, Documentation, Packing and other Information

Moving to the USA – Customs, Restrictions, Documentation, Packing and other Information

Moving to the USA is an extremely exciting change. But with so many things to keep in order, the moving process can be stressful.

That’s why we’ve boiled it all down into this easy-to-read guide for moving to the USA. If you use these checkpoints as your guide, your moving experience will be smooth and comfortable.

Getting Documentation in Order

Before moving to the USA, it’s important you have the important paperwork safely put away where you can easily access it.

The last thing you want is to be in a new country without your documentation.

Naturally, you should take your passport with the visa inside when moving to the USA (they won’t let you enter without it).

It’s also imperative that you not forget the following:

  • Birth certificates
  • Marriage certificates
  • Vaccination paperwork
  • Titles to any property you own
  • Tax records
  • School records
  • Employer letters of recommendation
  • Health and dental records
  • Drivers’ licenses

Make sure you fill in the correct US address when you pay for the Green Card fee. To avoid your Green Card getting lost, update your address with the US Post Office. This will ensure everything is properly forwarded to you.

Set-Up American Banking

You want your financials to be well-organized before moving to the USA. The cost of living is relatively expensive high in the US. Expenses come up all the time, particularly during a moving phase.

Expenses come up all the time, particularly during a moving phase.

Setting up a bank account once you arrive is quick and simple. You’ll need your Social Security Number of Taxpayer Identification Number handy.

Some banks, like Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD Bank in USA), Citigroup, and ScotiaBank, operate in the US.

Prior to moving to the USA, check with your current bank and see whether you will be able to keep using them after the move.

Decide What to Leave, What to Take

Moving to the USA from Canada can require some hard decisions as far your possessions are concerned. Relocating from one country to another isn’t cheap. You probably want to cut down on the costs of shipping and storage as much as possible.

A good rule-of-thumb is to ship the items you use on a daily or regular basis. Your beds, dressers, and other high-quality furniture that would be costly to replace.

If you want to save moving space, consider selling “dispensable” items that are easily replaceable and whose value depreciates quickly: toasters, food processors, even TVs.

The great thing about moving to the USA is you no longer have to sacrifice your prized possessions for the sake of price as you once did. Today’s

Today’s international movers offer affordable rates that make it much easier to take your valuables with you.

Make Arrangements for Pets

You don’t have to part ways with your dear pets just because you’re moving to the USA. But it is critical that you check pet regulations prior to leaving so that your animals aren’t prohibited entry in the country.

Some animals, like monkies, aren’t allowed entry as pets under any circumstances.

Birds are subject to strict revision. You must arrange for this revision with a port veterinarian at least 72 hours prior to arrival.

For dogs, you must present a valid rabies vaccination.

Cats should be visibly in good health or else are subject to further examination at the port of entry.

Because of these requirements, keep all your pets’ relevant records close by as you cross the border.

Plan for Customs

Moving to the USA requires filling out CBP Form 3299 in order to get your belongings past customs.

Prepare a complete list of the items you’re bringing and be ready to provide it to customs officials upon request.

Packing & Shipping

Packing is perhaps the most time-consuming part of moving to the USA.

You probably own hundreds of individual items. Pack according to the need you have for each of your possessions.

On your person, take the things you use most immediately. This includes your documents, phone and charger, medication, and wallet.

Your luggage should have everything you’ll need as soon as you arrive. Weather-appropriate clothes, toys and school items for your children, etc.

Carefully choose what you place in your shipment. Keep in mind that shipping takes time. Air shipping can take around a month. Sea shipments can take up to three months.

Your air shipment arrives faster, but it can’t be too big, so it’s best to use for things you need soon but can’t take with you as you travel. Bedding, kitchen items, and additional clothing.

All forms of shipping are more affordable now than ever. The key is to consult with your chosen moving company and map out the delivery timeframe so you can plan ahead.

Motor Vehicles

Keep in mind that your car must meet the vehicle specifications of US Federal Emission Standards and the US Federal Safety Standards.

Moving to the USA? Buy Health Insurance

Don’t forget that the US has a private health insurance system. If you’re not covered, medical expenses can be set you back thousands of dollars. And out-of-pocket expenses for consultations and prescriptions can be hefty.

Research and find a health insurance policy that fits the needs of you and your family. Pay attention to details like deductible amounts and conditions covered. Always read the fine print.

Tie Up Loose Ends

When moving to the USA, get these things in check to leave Canada on good terms (and avoid potential problems down the line):

  • Cancel your utilities: water, electricity, gas, internet.
  • Close bank accounts that you won’t be able to use in the US.
  • Notify tax authorities of your departure.
  • Pay off any outstanding loans you have.
  • Cancel subscriptions to newspapers, clubs, etc.

You wouldn’t want these charges to follow you in America (or catch up with you if you ever come back).


Moving to the USA is a big change. Getting everything done can be frustrating.

But you can reduce the frustration with some careful planning to make the move as seamless as possible.

And you don’t have to go it alone. With the help of a comprehensive international moving company, you can sit back while the heavier tasks like packing and shipping are taken care of for you.