The 2016 presidential campaign has gone from a simmer to a boil, so naturally, a large portion of Americans are threatening to move to Canada. It seems that every time there’s a divisive issue in the United States, people vow to pull up stakes and head for the Great White North.
Fortunately, our famously likable and welcoming northern neighbors seem to embrace immigrants. Attorney, Bruce Allen, tells CNN Money that it’s just not a hot issue for Canadians.
Regardless of which candidate you want to win, or if neither floats your boat, here’s what you need to know about an international move to the land of maple sweets and Tim Horton’s coffee if November 6 goes down in flames.
Are You Eligible to Move to Canada?
Google searches about moving to Canada might be at an all-time high, but there’s a more direct route to the legal immigration info that you need. And that’s the Government of Canada website. Consider it your hub for completing all of the steps that stand between you and your new home up north.
First things first: find out if you’re eligible to move to Canada. At the immigration and citizenship portion of the website, you’ll find a “check your eligibility” assessment. It takes about 15 minutes to complete.
Have handy information such as your income, work experience, education and any Canadian job offer that you might have. And remember that this is just a pre-screening tool. An immigration officer will personally review your full application later, based on the Canadian Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.
Although many Americans tend to believe that moving across the border is simple, there are reasons you may not be allowed to enter their country. Some of those are criminal activity, certain health conditions and serious financial problems.
How Will You Support Yourself?
Canada is famous for its social awareness and dedication to taking care of its own. And under certain circumstances, you could also be eligible for benefits such as healthcare. But you’ll need a work plan that shows their government that you intend to contribute to the Canadian society in a meaningful way.
If you already have a job offer, that’s one issue out of the way. It takes about 3 months to learn whether you’re approved if you have a job offer in hand. But CNN Money cautions that Canadian unemployment is also at an “all-time high,” so it might be more of a challenge than you think to find a job.
If you have a valuable, marketable skill, you can apply for their Express Entry program. You’ll compete against other people who want to move to Canada, and the most impressive people in their respective industries are invited to apply.
If you have a community sponsor, you’re independently wealthy, or you want to start your own Canadian business, you have other immigration avenues. Sponsored people could gain entry in about 6 months. Otherwise, Canada’s “economic immigration” guidelines may permit entry, but it can take several years – as many as 8 – to process.
Your least favorite presidential candidate would certainly be out of office by then, even if they’re re-elected in 4 years.
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Preparing for an International Move
Whether it’s to Canada or anywhere else in the world, an international move can be rather complicated. You’ll certainly want to cull your belongings, at least a little. That part of the planning should begin as early as possible.
In some cases, it’s cheaper to sell or give away your large belongings, particularly furniture, and buy new items once you arrive in your new home country. That’s advice from HGTV. If family members can take possession of family heirlooms that you don’t want to pack, all the better.
Pack everything else in the sturdiest cartons that you can find. Your belongings have a long journey ahead of them and it could be quite some time before you unpack again. They have to go through customs before they’re released to be delivered.
For most of your household and personal items from furniture and books to jewelry and clothing, you won’t have to pay duty. But there are exceptions.
You’ll need separate applications and approvals for certain imports, even your family pet. Some of them include:
Note that there are strict regulations on firearms and vehicles.
Finding an International Moving Company
Unless you’re only packing a few suitcases, you’ll probably need a mover to haul your belongings to your new home in Canada. Long-distance movers are one thing, but international movers are a bit of a specialty.
If you pack your own stuff, Mayflower movers say you need to label them as “packed by owner.” You’ll also need an inventory on each box. If your movers pack, they’ll handle the labeling.
Either way, you must be present at the local Canadian customs office. Otherwise, your shipment will be “held in bond.”
As for finding a mover to do all of this heavy lifting, many of the larger companies have special international divisions. Their credentials should be easy enough to check. Here’s what you should find:
- Worldwide capability for “door to door” service. You don’t want to hand off goods to another mover at the border.
- Fédération Internationale des Déménageurs Internationaux (FIDI) accreditation. FIDI is the global alliance of professional international moving and relocation companies.
- Registered International Mover (RIM) Certification
- ISO 9002 Certification
- Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) license
Check that mover credentials are valid and current.
The political climate in the U.S. is volatile right now. So it comes as no surprise that many Americans are considering a move to our northern neighbor, Canada. Just remember that it’s not as simple as filling out a few forms and presenting identification. In some cases, the process can take years.
It’s a giant step, but it’s one that thousands of U.S. citizens have taken for generations. If the election has frayed your nerves and it’s time for you to pack up and move to friendly pastures, Mover Junction can help you find an international mover to take on some of the labor. Get a moving quote today.