In recent years, many citizens of the United States have been looking northward as they near retirement age. The idea of retiring in Canada is appealing to many Americans seeking an affordable and picturesque locale for their golden years. And Canada can help you stretch your U.S. dollar as far as it can go while avoiding the, well, oft chaotic politics of the United States.
But, retiring from the United States to Canada is not as simple as many people think. In this article, we’re going to walk you through the most important considerations for retiring from the United States to Canada. From immigration to taxes, healthcare to climate, this is your go-to guide for retiring in Canada.
Visiting vs Immigrating Permanently
One of the most common questions we hear from U.S. citizens looking to retire in Canada is, “How do I immigrate to Canada for retirement?” The answer is a little bit tricky.
Rather than immigrating to Canada permanently, the easiest route for retirement-aged people is usually to live in Canada part-time, as a visitor.
To immigrate to Canada as a permanent resident, you have to go through an official immigration program. Canada’s main immigration programs for permanent residents are designed for:
- those with a close family connection in the country, like a spouse or parent;
- skilled workers with the demonstrated potential to contribute to the Canadian economy; or
- refugees and humanitarian cases.
You might be thinking that you’d be a good skilled worker candidate, but if you’re nearing retirement age, this impacts your eligibility. Age is a big consideration for most skilled worker immigration programs, giving preference to younger workers who will be able to contribute to the economy for years. This makes it challenging to qualify for such programs when approaching retirement age.
It’s not impossible to gain permanent resident status in Canada when you reach retirement, but it is challenging. Instead, you may want to consider living in Canada part-time as a visitor. However, if you want to learn more about the possibility of permanent residence, check out our guide breaking down the basics of Canada’s immigration options.
As a citizen of the United States, you are eligible to travel to Canada for up to six months at a time, without giving any advance notice or submitting an application. Simply show up at the border, whether by land or air, and come enjoy your stay! (Some would-be visitors may have to overcome criminal inadmissibility in advance of their travel to Canada.)
As a visitor, you can still own property in Canada, so you can spend part of your time at your Canadian home, making sure you exit the country at least every six months so you don’t overstay your visit.
One of the most important distinctions between living in Canada as a visitor and immigrating permanently is in your access to healthcare coverage.