Moving from Canada to the United States: 2021 Guide

The rules for moving from Canada to the United States are quite different from moving from the United States to Canada.

Though the United States government temporarily stopped some of its immigration programs, there are still a few active programs available for foreigners today. These programs favor visitors, workers and students who are currently planning on moving from Canada to the United States.

Moving from Canada to the United States

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Moving can sometimes prove really stressful, and for anyone moving from one country to another, it can be even more stressful due to certain laws, rules and regulations that must be followed when migrating to the other country; and of course, there are a bulk load of forms and application requests to fill out, no matter the country you are travelling to. If you’re moving from Canada to the United States, it could be due to one of the following reasons that include:

  1. Marriage
  2. Job recruitment
  3. Schooling
  4. Family sponsorship

These are further broken down thus:

#1: Marriage

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Love constitutes as a major factor today as to why some people are moving from Canada to the United States.

For instance, let’s say you, as a Canadian, meet with someone in the United States, and both of you fall in love with each other, the next possible step to this is marriage. When this happens, you’d have no other choice to move to the United States from Canada so both you and your groom can live together as a loving couple.

#2: Job Recruitment

People are constantly moving from Canada to the United States in search for job opportunities.

So whether you are in a current search for a job, or you’ve just been recently moved by your company, or just gained a better job in the United States, all this may be good reasons why you’d be planning on moving from Canada to the United States.

The United States offers a much better career opportunity for high skilled professionals, so, not only can you make more money from moving, but you can also tap into your full potential in one of the country’s highly competitive cities.

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On moving from Canada to the United States for a job offer, your recruiting manager or hiring company must sponsor you. The following categories relate to moving from Canada to the United States to get a permanent residence status based on your employment skills:

  • EB1 Category  – This category covers employees with extraordinary abilities and skillsets in art, business, science, education, athletics, professors, researchers and Ph.D. holders.

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  • EB2 Category –  This category covers employees with skills and ability related to business, arts, or science related fields. It also covers advanced degree professionals.
  • EB3 Category  – This category covers basically professionals with Bachelor or Graduate degrees. Other relatable skilled workers will also fall under this category.

#3: Schooling

Most people today moving from Canada to the United States are doing it to get an education.

Yes, Canada has some of the best notable universities in the world today, many Canadians still choose to travel to the United States to school and are given a few alternatives through a student visa.

#4: Family Sponsorship

Some Canadians are seen moving from Canada to the United States because a family member already in the United States invited them to come over and stay in the United States on a Family-Based petition.

A Family-Based Petition is a common alternative used by United States citizens looking to sponsor their family stay in the US. The Immigration and Nationality Act gives foreigners the freedom to foreigners to immigrate to the US as a result of having a relative who’s already a citizen of the US or with a legal permanent United States residency status.

The following are the major requirements when moving from Canada to the United States on a family-based sponsorship program:

  • Your sponsorship must come from someone who’s already approved as a citizen of the US or is able to prove his or her American status.
  • Your sponsor must show proof that they can help you at 125% above the poverty line.
  • Your sponsor must be 21 years and above to qualify to sponsor your moving from Canada to the United States.
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The United States government also takes every necessary step to protect the health, welfare and security of its citizens. So, you’ll be denied access to the United States due to the following, regardless of your family status:

  • If you’ve been diagnosed with a communicable sickness
  • If you suffer from a mental or physical disorder
  • If you are a drug addict
  • If you have any criminal records attached to your name
  • If you have done any act of terrorism
  • If you belong a totalitarian party
  • If you can be linked as a former Nazi war criminal
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Finally, it’s important to note that when moving Canada to the United States, your United States’ sponsor must file the I-130 Petition for Alien Relative. The United States Citizen and Immigration Services (USCIS) must then approve your visa petition, which should as well be filled by your relative in the States, showing proof of relationship. Your sponsor should then proceed to submit all of this information to the USCIS.

Necessary Forms When Moving from Canada to the United States

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  • ETA-750: This United States immigration application form is filled out and submitted through your hiring manger or recruiting company to the Department of Labor.
  • I-140: This United States immigration application form will be filled out by your hiring manager or recruiting company and submitted to the INS.
  • I-485: This United States immigration application form must be filled out along with other related documents for you and your family and submitted to the INS. At this point, you should also proceed to file the Employment Authorization Document (EAD) and Advanced Patrol (AP) or Travel Document.

When all of the forms are completely filled, submitted and approved, you will get the stamping in your passport and receive your United States’ plastic Green Card.

Your United States’ green card expires after 10 years where it’ll need to be renewed. For a more permanent solution, you can apply for your United States citizenship after 10 years, thus, you will no longer need to reapply for a green card every 10 years.

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Already in the United States?

If you are already based in the US legally, you can proceed to file for an adjustment for your permanent residency status while your I-130 petition is being filed. To get this done, you will need to make use of the Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence, or Adjust Status.

For immediate family members such as parents, child, or a spouse, the application process can take quite long. Immediate family members take more priority though. But for other relatives, this can take many months, even as long as 10 years for the petition to process.

On approval of the petition, and you relate immediately with your family member, a visa number will be issued to you immediately with a follow-up interview with the US Consulate in Canada.

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The United States Diversity Visa Lottery

If either you or a family member are unemployed in the United States, you can still have a chance in successfully moving from Canada to the United States!

This can be done by leveraging the United States yearly diversity visa lottery program.

Here, up to 50,000 randomly chosen qualified applicants qualify to get a United States green card and as well apply for citizenship. The State Department releases the countries that qualify to participate in this visa lottery program yearly, and if you qualify as an applicant and randomly selected in the lottery, you can bring your spouse and children who are under 21 and not yet married along with you.

The basic requirement to qualify for a United States diversity visa lottery program include:

  • You must have completed a 12-year secondary school education and course of elementary OR
  • 2 years of legal work experience over a five years period, in an industry that requires at least two years of training to work

How to Apply

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  • Step 1: Compile all of the necessary document relating to the lottery at the State Departments’ website
  • Step 2: Apply online at www.dvlottery.state.gov between October 5th and December 4th of yearly

It’s also important to note that you’ll face an automatic disqualification if more than one application request is received in your name, and there are no paper entries involved in this process.

You are required to present an up-to-date photo of your entire family, and it doesn’t matter if a family member is not going to be following you to the United States, their photo must also be included. There are no group family pictures allowed. Each picture of each family member must be submitted separately.

How Much Does it Cost?

Applying for a United States diversity visa lottery program comes at no cost, however, once chosen, you will be needed to pay the immigrant visa fee and a visa lottery surcharge. You will be informed by mail if you win, but people who were not selected or didn’t win will not be notified.

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