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Many Americans are choosing to move to Canada for its excellent healthcare and tolerant culture. It is estimated that 1,020 Americans moved to Canada each month in 2022. Canada’s vast immigration system accepts people with the right skills, experience, and qualifications. If you’re an American who would like to move to Canada, you may be wondering which immigration route to use.

In this guide, we will summarize all the available options for Americans moving to Canada.

Understanding the Canadian Immigration System

There are dozens of immigration programs for anyone moving to Canada as an American. Each program falls into one of two categories: Express Entry Programs or Provincial Nominee Programs (PNP).

Express Entry: Contains programs for skilled workers with the right experience and qualifications. Successful candidates are allowed to settle in any Canadian province.

Provincial Nominee Programs: Contains dozens of programs for professionals, students, and entrepreneurs. Typically requires applicants to possess a job offer in the province
Successful candidates must reside in the province whose program they used.

Skilled Worker Immigration

Skilled workers can move to Canada from the US through one of the Express Entry programs described below.

Federal Skilled Worker Program

The Federal Skilled Worker Program is for individuals who meet the following eligibility criteria:

  • Hold a valid education Diploma or Degree and pass an Education Credentials Assessment (ECA).
  • Demonstrate a score of at least CLB 7 in an English or French language proficiency exam.
  • Show that you have a minimum of one year of international work experience in a skilled occupation that falls under NOC codes 0, A, or B.
  • Have a minimum of $13,310 of funds available.
  • Successfully pass a medical exam verifying that you are healthy.
  • Submit a police clearance certificate that shows you don’t have a criminal history.

Canadian Experience Class

The Canadian Experience Class caters to people who possess at least one year of recognized skilled work experience inside Canada. This program’s eligibility requirements are very similar to that of the Federal Skilled Worker program, with the following difference:

Demonstrate a score of at least CLB 7 in an English or French language proficiency exam if your work experience is in a TEER 0 or 1 job.
Demonstrate a score of at least CLB 5 in an English or French language proficiency exam if your work experience is in a TEER 2 or 3 job.

Federal Skilled Trades Program

The Federal Skilled Trades Program is for foreign individuals with two years of work experience in special trade occupations that cover less-skilled and more labor-intensive roles.

Jobs that fall under this program fit into the following categories:

  • Major Group 72, construction, electrical, and industrial trades
  • Major Group 82, supervisors and technical roles agriculture and natural resources
  • Major Group 92, manufacturing, processing, and utility supervisors and main control operators
  • Minor Group 632, cooks and chefs
  • Minor Group 633, bakers and butchers

Everything About Canada’s Category-Based Express Entry Draws in 2023

Family Sponsorship Programs

If you are currently married to or are in a common-law relationship with a Canadian permanent resident or citizen, you can apply for spousal sponsorship. You and your partner must both meet specific requirements to use the spousal sponsorship program. This includes:

Requirements for the Sponsor and Their American Partner

  • Both your sponsor and you must be at least 18 years old
  • You must be legally and recognizably married or in a common-law partnership where both of you have lived together for at least one full year consecutively.
  • Your sponsor shouldn’t have received permanent residence through the Spousal Sponsorship program in the last 5 years.
  • Neither your sponsor nor you should be in prison, bankrupt, or have been previously charged with committing a criminal offense.

Requirements for the Canadian Sponsor

  • Your sponsor must be a Canadian permanent resident or a Canadian citizen
  • Your sponsor must be willing and capable of financially supporting you in Canada
  • Requirements for the American Partner Being Sponsored
  • You must not be inadmissible to Canada.

Note that the spousal sponsorship program is also open to same-sex couples who are married or in a common-law partnership, as Canada recognizes such unions’ legitimacy.

Spousal Sponsorship Process

  • Fill out forms
  • Gather documents
  • Pay an application fee
  • Submit the completed application package

Check out the full guide on Canada’s Spousal Sponsorship here. You can find complete Document Checklist for Canada’s Outland Spousal Sponsorship here.

If selected, you will receive permanent residence and be allowed to stay in Canada.

Working in Canada as an American

Americans who would like to work in Canada must obtain an official Canadian work permit. These work permits are issued under the following programs:

Global Talent Stream

The Global Talent Stream is a special program designed to help facilitate the entry of skilled workers into the Canadian labor pool. Under this program, work permits are issued to people in specific high-value occupations or to people who have received referrals from specially designated referral partners.

Canada-U.S.-Mexico Agreement (CUSMA)

CUSMA is a special agreement designed to promote trade and the free flow of skilled workers between the United States, Canada, and Mexico. US citizens can use this program to apply for a valid Canadian work permit if they have received a recognized job offer from a Canadian employer.

Intra-Company Transfer

The Intra-Company transfer program is for multinational companies that have branches or subsidiaries in Canada. The program allows the company to sponsor their workers for Canadian work permits and then send them to work in their Canadian offices.

Targeted Express Entry Draws 2023: New Update on Category-Based Selections

Starting a Business in Canada as an American

A US citizen moving to Canada with the intention of starting a business also has many immigration routes available to them. These programs are:

Provincial Business and Entrepreneur Programs

Each Canadian province has business and entrepreneur programs with distinct requirements related to your net worth, investment amount, business location, prior business ownership experience, and the number of jobs your business will create.

The most popular provincial business immigration programs include:

Self-Employed Persons Program

The Self-Employed Person program is for foreign nationals in the art or athletics field who have performed at a world-class level and are capable of working as self-employed individuals in Canada.

The Start-Up Visa Program

The Start-up Visa program is for foreign entrepreneurs who possess the means and willingness to set up a business in Canada after receiving funding from a designated Canadian organization.

Read more: 5 Ways to Get Canada PR by Investment

Study in Canada as an American

Many Americans come to Canada to study at the country’s prestigious Colleges and Universities. People who graduate from Canadian Colleges and Universities are also eligible for a Canadian Post-Graduate Work Permit upon graduating.

If you can obtain a minimum of one year of full-time Canadian work experience in a skilled occupation under this work permit, you can apply for permanent residence through Express Entry’s Canadian Experience Class.

Read more: Canada Study Permit Visa Guide

Canadian Citizenship

Americans who have obtained Canadian permanent residence are eligible to become Canadian citizens in the future. To do this, they must ensure they meet the following requirements:

  • Live in Canada for a minimum of 3 years within a 5-year period.
  • Pass a Canadian citizenship test
  • File your taxes while living in Canada
  • Demonstrate your proficiency in English or French

Getting Canadian citizenship is advantageous as it allows you to vote and run for office. You will also receive a Canadian passport that allows you to enjoy the perks of visa-free travel to numerous countries.

Need help?

The moving to Canada from US requirements described above serve as basic guidelines. Please contact Elaar Immigration to learn which Canadian immigration route is right for you. Our team of Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultants has guided numerous Americans through the immigration process and can help you through it with ease.

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