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Thinking about relocating to Canada? Moving to Canada from the U.S. is much different from moving across the country. Without proper planning you could be stuck at the border, unable to enter with your load of household goods.

Even after you go through the legal process for immigration and are allowed to move to Canada, you may discover the transition is much more difficult than you expected. Do your research in advance and be sure this is the right move for you. These tips will help.

If you have already taken care of the legal immigration process, are ready to move to Canada, and want the help of a full service moving company, contact Chipman Relocation & Logistics now.

Before You Decide to Make the Move

Maybe you've just started thinking about moving to Canada. If so, and you haven't visited the country yet, that should be your first step. Take a trip. Experience it. You may decide Canada is not for you, or you could come home ready to pack your belongings and make the move as quickly as possible.

Tips on Visiting Canada

Visiting Canada is much easier than moving to the country. As a U.S. citizen, you can enter Canada without a visa or Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA). However, you and all persons traveling with you should carry proper identification, such as a passport or birth certificate with government issued photo ID (driver's license). If you are traveling with minor children you share custody of and both parents are not present, it is a good idea to bring proof of custody in addition to birth certificates.

If you are traveling with a pet, you must meet certain requirements. For instance, to bring your personal dogs or cats aged 3 months or older, you must show proof of current rabies vaccination. If under 3 months, vaccination is not required, but you may need to show proof of age. Read about taking pets with you to Canada.

When you arrive at the border, an officer will tell you how long you can stay in the country. Typically, the period is six months.

But before you pack up and head to the border for a six-month stay, spend some time reading through the Canada Border Services Agency website. You will find lots of helpful information you need to know in advance.

Are you Eligible to Move to Canada?

After you've taken a trip to Canada and decided it is where you want to live, your first step in relocation is to determine eligibility. (You may want to do this first.) Unfortunately for some, not everyone who applies is allowed to move to Canada. The Canadian government makes it easy for you to find out online. Use the questionnaire here to get started.

Keep in mind that the processing of an application for permanent residence can take several months or years, depending on the type of application you submit. Even an application for a temporary resident visa can take a month or more to process.

Resources & Tips for Moving to Canada

As you wait for an approval of your immigration to Canada, take the time to learn about the country. The following tips, resources and things to know will help.

  • Know what you can and cannot bring with you before you pack to leave for Canada. You will need to make a list of all items you are bringing. Take at least two copies of the list with you. If you hire a mover, provide the company with a copy, too.
  • Prepare for Canada, the country's online magazine for immigrant professionals, provides articles filled with information on What You Should Know Before You Go. Browse through the articles for tips, resources and a checklist.
  • You are probably aware that the winters in Canada can be long and brutal, but hearing it and experiencing it are very different. Be prepared. View weather information here.
  • Canada uses Celsius, rather than Fahrenheit. Canadians also use the metric system, and speed limits are in km/h.  You can download a converter app for each if you need help with them.
  • As in the U.S., the cost of living in Canada varies depending on where you plan to live. Information on the cost of living is provided at Numbeo.
  • Your state driver's license issued in the U.S. is valid in Canada when you arrive. The period of time you have to exchange your license varies by providence and territory. You can get information here.
  • Before leaving the U.S., get a full copy of your driving record and take it with you. It will make obtaining one in Canada much easier.
  • If you “go out for a rip” (out for a drive) in Canada and ask for directions, a Canadian may tell you to make or “hang a larry.” That means turn left. “Hang a roger” means turn right. If you need a restroom, politely ask for a “washroom.” Read more here.
  • Did you know a conviction for drinking and driving in the U.S. could keep you out of Canada? In general, it's true. And do not make the mistake of drinking and driving within Canada. It's a serious offense.
  • If you are a smoker, know the smoking laws in Canada before you light up. You cannot smoke in any enclosed public indoor spaces or work spaces, not even work vehicles, and many providences have banned smoking in outdoor public patios. In some areas, you cannot smoke near playgrounds, jogging trails or other areas where children may be present. You can also be heavily fined for smoking in a personal vehicle with a minor present.
  • Have questions about moving to Canada that you would like Canadians to answer? Visit the forums at City-Data.com and ask. You can also learn a lot by reading previous posts.
  • Hiring a full service relocation company such as Chipman Relocation & Logistics will help make moving to Canada easier and less stressful. Chipman can handle many of the details for you and provide a wealth of resources.

If you would like to discuss how Chipman Relocation & Logistics can assist with your move to Canada, contact us now.  As always, move estimates are free of charge and without obligation.

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