Migration guide: Immigrating to Canada from the USA in 2021

Immigration to Canada from the USA in 2021

Lately, Canada immigration has benefitted from the increasing preference of international migrants who choose the country as their preferred destination. It’s an interesting fact that people in the US are thinking that way too!

The emergence of Canada as a prospective immigration destination and a destination to find employment and education has intensified in recent times. The welcoming gesture Canada always had towards immigrants and the increasing opportunities to find highly prospective work in Canada have contributed to it.

During the Trump administration, with the way in which the COVID-19 crisis and immigration were handled by the US, many people found that Canada indeed has more to look up to. This led to the increased immigration from the US which was an intriguing trend to watch and understand.

Here, let’s understand the ways in which people from the US can immigrate to Canada.

Moving to Canada from the US as a Canada PR

The Express Entry system is one of the easiest ways to immigrate from the US to Canada. The Express Entry system processes most of the applications for Canada immigration. This is done for 3 economic immigration programs namely:

  • FSWP – You are eligible for FSWP if you possess a minimum of a year’s work experience. Along with that, you must also have the necessary minimum scores for language proficiency in English or French. You must score a minimum of 67 points out of 100 points on the selection grid of the FSW.
  • FSTP – Under this program, you will require at least 2 years of work experience in a skilled trade. You must also meet the minimum requirements for language proficiency in English or French. You must also have a Canadian certificate of qualification so that you can practice your trade in Canada or do a job in the trade you are skilled in.
  • CEC – CEC is meant for those candidates who already have experience working in Canada. They have experience working in either a 0, A, or B skill level as per NOC. They also meet the language proficiency requirements in English or French.

The profiles of immigration candidates are ranked by CRS in the Express Entry pool. These ranks create a competitive scenario between candidates during immigration draws where the highest-ranking candidates are invited to apply for a Canada PR visa.

The possibility of a US permanent resident working in Canada

There are different types of work permits that apply while moving from the US to Canada for work.

NAFTA work permits

NAFTA is an economic agreement between the USA, Canada, and Mexico. It facilitates trade between these countries and allows the reaching of certain categories of TFWs into the markets of these countries. NAFTA work permits are issuable to US citizens via the International Mobility Program. They just need to have an eligible job offer from an employer in Canada on a temporary basis.

There will be no need for an LMIA in this process. US companies with Canadian branches can transfer employees in executive or managerial roles via NAFTA easily.

Employer-specific work permit

A person from the US can enter Canada if he/she has a valid job offer to the individual by an employer in Canada. The employer-specific work permit commonly requires an LMIA. LMIA proves that the foreign worker is required by the employer as the employer is unable to find the required skills and qualifications in the native population.

Anyone arriving in Canada and wishes to switch jobs will need to apply for a fresh work permit.

Spousal open work permit

In case your partner or spouse is an international student or TFW in Canada, you may be eligible for a spousal open work permit. This is also possible if you are going through an inland process of sponsorship. This isn’t an employer-specific work permit. That means you won’t need a new work permit if you are switching jobs.

Moving from the US to Canada as an international student

Learning from Canada comes with comparative advantages over US education like shorter periods for visa processing, lower tuition rates, and the chance to start working immediately after studies. With a Canadian study permit, you can work 20 hours per week while school is in session and 40 hours per week during holidays or breaks.

Universities in Canada offer associate degrees that are valid for 2 years. They also offer bachelor’s degrees with a 3-year duration.

In Canada, after doing graduation, you can get a PGWP in most cases. It’s valid for 3 years in which time you can gain work experience in your relevant field. This experience will add an advantage while applying for a Canada PR visa.

The cost involved in immigrating to Canada from the US

So, in case you are immigrating to Canada from the US, you will have to submit the processing fees along with the visa application in most cases. The rate of fees won’t change with your country of origin or nationality. The fees also depend on the immigration program you are eligible for.

A Canadian work permit costs $155 and a Canadian study permit costs $150 to apply for one. To apply for a permanent residence in Canada, $490 will have to be paid as the Right of Permanent Residence fee. This has to be paid once an application for Canada PR get s approved.

In case you are arriving in Canada from the US with a valid US passport, you have no need to have a Canadian visa or an eTA. In the following cases, you will need a visitor visa to enter Canada:

  • You aren’t a Canadian citizen
  • You aren’t a Canadian permanent resident
  • You aren’t from a visa-exempt country like the US.

So, being from the US, you needn’t worry about being admitted to Canada without an explicit Canadian visa.


NAFTA – North American Free Trade Agreement

PGWP – Post Graduate Work Permit

ETA – Electronic Travel Visa

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