Editor’s note, Nov 3, 2020. We notice that a lot US-based readers are reading this page right now. One of the best ways to explore your options for moving to Canada from the US is to create a Moving2Canada account and complete your profile.
Over recent years and months, we’ve had lots of Americans getting in touch wondering about immigration to Canada from the USA. We’ve put together this article to guide you through your options.
Immigration to Canada from the USA may not be as easy as you may think, and yet many thousands of American citizens move to Canada each year. Plus, thousands of non-citizen US residents make the move north.
So, let’s go through some options for moving to Canada from the USA.
Immigration to Canada from the USA as a permanent resident
Canada has a range of permanent residence programs for those seeking immigration to Canada from the USA. The system of selecting candidates for many popular economic programs (i.e. not family reunification, or refugee programs) is called Express Entry.
Applicants will need to become eligible under one of the following federal economic immigration programs:
- The Federal Skilled Worker Program;
- The Canadian Experience Class; or
- The Federal Skilled Trades Program.
Canada’s provinces also have a say in who gets to move to Canada. A portion of these Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs) are streamlined through Express Entry, while some PNP streams exist entirely outside the Express Entry system.
Each program has its own criteria, and the Express Entry system can help you discover which ones you may be eligible for.
To get started, candidates seeking immigration to Canada from the USA can submit an Express Entry profile to Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), the government department that processes applications. Candidates will be assessed to determine their eligibility for at least one of these programs.
They will need to provide some information on their foreign work history, Canadian work history (if any), education level, language ability in either English or French (a test is necessary, even if you went to Harvard!), and some other factors. From there, they will be assigned a score out of 1,200 points, under what’s called the Comprehensive Ranking System.
You can receive up to 600 points right away if a Canadian province has agreed to nominate you under a Provincial Nomination Program.
Twice a month, usually, IRCC will select the top-ranking candidates and invite them to complete their application. In other words, anyone with a score above the minimum cut-off will receive an invitation to apply.
The cut-off is varies from draw to draw. You can see what the most recent cut-off was on our Express Entry Draw page.