Canada is a popular emigration destination for Americans and this is mainly because of the short distance and cultural differences. Canada is a reasonably laid-back country with stunning scenery and an abundance of wildlife, making it somewhat idyllic for those wanting to escape a busy life in the US. However, emigrating to another country isn’t a decision which should be taken lightly and just because they’re next door, doesn’t mean you can simply hop over the border and start living there. Financial and legal aspects of emigrating both need to be taken into account.
Visa – If you’re visiting Canada for over 180 days, you need a visa. American citizens can usually obtain a visa under the ‘economic stream of immigration’, which means that if you have a particular skill, such as an engineer, you shouldn’t have any problem. However, if you’re emigrating from another country, such as the UK, a decision may take a lot longer. Other aspects of your life taken into account when you apply for a Canadian visa are your age, level of education, income, health, whether your family is coming with you and whether you have a job already waiting for you. These regulations are in place to ensure Canada only allows the most desirable candidates to live in their country.
Taking care of your finances
Banking – Although it’s sensible to open a Canadian bank account before you move in order for all your funds to be transferred in time, it is possible to bank across the border from Canada, which can make the transition slightly easier. Ask your bank what the best option is and whether they have counterparts in Canada.
Healthcare and taxes – Health insurance is paid for via your taxes, similar to the NHS in the UK and therefore, you’ll no longer need to pay for your separate health insurance in the US. Make sure you cut this off as soon as possible, pay any cancellation charges promptly and apply for public health insurance in Canada as soon as you can.
Tax rates in Canada are not too dissimilar to those in the US. The amount you pay depends on where you live and how much you earn. The US, however, allows for you and your spouse to join your incomes for a joint return, where Canada doesn’t. The US also allows additional deductions.