Moving from US

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Important Considerations When Moving to Toronto from US

Often referred to as Canada’s financial capital, Toronto is one of the most diversified environments in the country. Moving to Toronto from the USA is a dream come true for many, but becoming a Canadian citizen or at least a permanent resident requires a bit of work. Toronto has people from all walks of life and provides access to publicly funded health care, plenty of festivals and events, culture, and an extraordinary cuisine. Canada’s largest city has an amazing job market and offers access to start up visa program solutions, workers’ visas, and other options.

Throw in the housing market and the public transportation, and you have one of the most complete Canadian cities, part of a reputable Canadian province, Ontario.

Be it the maple syrup or perhaps the great white north, Canada is mainly recognized for its high standard of living and cold weather.

All these things are the top reasons wherefore skilled workers turn to it, whether they’re after Canadian citizenship, the federal skilled trades program, or Canadian permanent residence.

Visa and Immigration Requirements for Your Work Permit in Canada

Tourists visiting for up to 180 days will benefit from an express entry. Forget about the permanent residence fee or dealing with the Canadian government, as you don’t need any. However, you may not be allowed to enter if you have a criminal record.

If you’re planning to spend more time in Canada, you can gain express entry with three types of visas under the federal skilled worker program. Other options include:

  • Provincial Nominee Program
  • Family sponsorship from permanent residents
  • Work visa, which also requires a Labor Market Impact Assessment
  • Intra-Company Transfer Program
  • Starting a business visa
  • Study visa

The family sponsorship requires proof of family ties. If you move to study, you need at least one year to be able to stay for the duration of your visa.

Becoming Canadian citizens will require a permanent residency first.

Express entry means your wait is reduced to a minimum.

Customs and Import Regulations When You Move to Canada

Whether you’re pushing for the permanent resident status or you go through a different immigration program for a skilled worker, a foreign national can move to Canada and bring their belongings with no issues at all, be it on a visitor visa or a study permit, among others. Your belongings are not subject to duty taxes. However, this rule applies to items that have been used before. New stuff will require paying a tax. A free assessment will be conducted on the spot, regardless of the reason you come to Canada.

Healthcare Enrollment Once You Move to Canada

The public healthcare system is funded through taxes and covers doctor visits or hospital needs, but it doesn’t really cover prescription medication, vision, or dental visits. Private healthcare is also available, as Canadian experience class programs. It makes no difference if you have a full time job or you’re self employed. Those on a study permit are also allowed in.

Apply for the Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) if you’re physically in Ontario for 153 days in a year, if you’re in Ontario for 153 days out of the first 183 days since your first day in, and if Ontario is your primary residence.

Obviously, you need to be in one of the local immigration programs to benefit from universal healthcare. International students, self employed professionals or arranged employment experts or those with a job offer can apply, as long as the residence is set or in the process.

Once enrolled, you can get a medical exam whenever you need it, and medical care if required, yet family members must be enrolled separately. Medical inadmissibility could be an issue, too, if your problem doesn’t really require medical help.

You’re less likely to be deemed medically inadmissible for common sense issues, though.

As one of the largest cities in Canada, Toronto has numerous medical facilities and quite a few reputable hospitals.

Social Insurance Number (SIN) for Your Work Permit in Canada

The SIN is mandatory in all parts of Canada, from Nova Scotia to Quebec if you want to work and access governmental social services. Just because your common law partner has one, it doesn’t mean you are exempt. It’s unique for each student, skilled trade worker, or retired individual.

You can apply online, but also by mail or face to face. Children older than 12 can apply themselves too. There are times of the year when there’s an excessive demand for SIN registrations, so the application might be slightly delayed.

It makes no difference if you get hired on a temporary basis because of your relevant experience or your specific employer wants you for a full time job. The SIN is a must in all situations.

If applying online, Google searches will take you to the official website.

Driver’s License and Vehicle Registration in Canada

To bring your car from the USA, it must pass a Registrar of Imported Vehicles (RIV) inspection. Your driver’s license is valid in Canada, and no further changes are required. You can leave it as it is if you plan to leave Canada at some point.

Unless you have a new or expensive car, it might be a better idea to enter Canada without it and just buy a locally registered vehicle. Canada continues to be strict regarding new registrations.

Tax Obligations in Canada

While every American citizen is worried about double taxation when getting a work permit in another country, Canada and the USA have a tax treaty. Those who live in Toronto with work permits will be considered tax residents in Canada. This means global income will be taxed in Canada.

Informing the IRS about it means you won’t be double taxed. There are tens of thousands of Americans doing it on a regular basis, only to prevent such problems. You don’t need to inform the IRS if you switch jobs, though.

Banking and Financial Accounts in Canada

Many Americans struggle with banking when moving to Canada, whether for a good pay job, education or other immigration reasons. To open an account and get money in it, you must prove your Canadian residence. Required documents include:

  • Identification
  • Proof of address in the country
  • Immigration paperwork for the country
  • Reference number issued by the government

Top banks in the country include the RBC, Scotiabank, BMO, Tangerine, or TD Bank, among others. Other candidates for fast track account opening in the city include KOHO and CIBC.

Like anywhere in the world, moving to Canada means you’ll gain access to everything locals have, from access to education to fair pay.

Emergency Contacts and Consular Services

The US Consulate General is downtown and provides access to administrative services. Most people would rather go there than back to the USA to sort out such issues, mainly because of the cost and convenience.

Unlike in other parts of the world, if you find yourself in an emergency, dial 911 from any phone. The number is valid regardless of your immigration status or condition. Simply ring if you face an emergency, such as a fire or an accident, not to mention crime or medical help.

From this point of view, there aren’t any major differences between Canada and the USA.

Education and School Registration

Educating yourself is one thing, but moving with family requires special attention for your kids, too. There are no special requirements for kids because, according to the law, schools can’t refuse children, regardless of their parents.

Even illegal immigrants’ children have the right to be schooled in Canada. Believe it or not, even kids who live in the USA can attend schools in Canada, yet this is rarely the case due to the distance. However, there are quite a few cases in communities around the border.

Finding Accommodation

The real estate market is usually online. Here are a few sites to consider:

A single bedroom apartment in the city center can exceed $2,500 per month, while two bedroom apartments in the same area will cost more than $3,000 per month.

Cultural Adaptation and Community Resources

There aren’t many differences between Canada and the USA, but you’ll notice a more diversified population in this place. Guns are not as common as in the USA, not to mention religious talks. There’s no culture shock, though. As for making friends, it pays off browsing social media networks to find groups for your area, as well as community events.

Final Pre-Move Checklist Before Moving to Canada

Bottom line, moving to Toronto requires a bit of work. Here’s a quick checklist to consider before starting to gather all the required documents:

  • Settle your medical insurance or wait until you can get one in Canada
  • Find a reliable moving company
  • Make sure all the documents are in place and make copies for each of them
  • Assess the cost of living and determine how much money you need to bring




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