How to Immigrate to Canada from the United States

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A man is standing on the floor with the words "Welcome To Canada" printed on it.There are many reasons why people of other nations consider immigrating to Canada. The country’s social, healthcare, and economic systems are just a few of those reasons. Even some U.S. citizens see benefit in considering the move. If you’re thinking about "how to immigrate to Canada from the United States", what steps do you need to take?

Get Familiar with Canada

Canada is a large country with ten provinces and three territories. That means potential immigrants have a lot of choice about where to settle. While parts of the country will seem familiar to U.S. citizens, there are significant differences between the provinces and territories. Visit regions that seem appealing to discover if they suit you and your family. In most cases, visitors can stay in Canada for up to 180 days, which should give you time to decide where you might want to live.

Available Canadian Immigration Programs

Before you begin an application to immigrate to Canada from the U.S., it’s important to understand which immigration program you’re eligible for. If you intend to make Canada your new permanent home, you want to explore programs that lead to permanent residency status. The Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) website provides a tool that can help potential immigrants determine which programs they might fit.

Canada Immigration Through Express Entry

To work in Canada, you need to apply to the  Express Entry system, which includes the Federal Skilled Workers Program, the Federal Skilled Trades Program, and the Canadian Experience Class. These three programs are aimed at selecting possible immigrants who have the skills and experience to work in and contribute to the Canadian economy.

The Express Entry system requires applicants to create an online profile. The information you provide will determine your eligibility to immigrate and your position in the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS). The CRS assigns points according to certain criteria such as: work experience, education, language ability (English and/or French), and valid job offers. Having a family member who is a Canadian citizen or permanent resident can improve the CRS score.

Once you have been admitted to the Express Entry pool, you could receive an invitation from IRCC to apply for permanent residency. These invitations are issued only to applicants who meet a certain standard in the CRS. It is possible to create a profile without having a job offer and the government offers applicants the opportunity to use the Job Bank service to find possible jobs. People can improve their CRS scores by getting a valid job offer or acquiring relevant work experience and/or education. Another way to increase your score is through the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP).

With the PNP, the provinces and territories can target specific skills that match needs and jobs in that region. If applicants in the Express Entry pool match those skills and requirements, then the province or territory can nominate the applicants for permanent residency. The opportunities with the PNP are another reason why it’s important to get familiar with Canada before you apply to immigrate. If you discover a province or territory where you want to live, then you can explore their PNP as a route to permanent residency status.

What Can Delay an Application

While Canada is known to have a generous immigration policy, there are reasons IRCC will reject an application. If an applicant has a criminal record—including a DUI, an assault charge, or petty theft—IRCC could reject the application. This fact can surprise people, particularly for charges that might have occurred years ago. It’s important to ensure that any offenses have been discharged from your record before you apply to immigrate to Canada.

Incomplete applications and improper documentation can also delay an application or cause one to be rejected. Also, not accumulating sufficient points in the CRS means you will not receive an invitation to apply for permanent residency.

When you decide to immigrate to Canada from the U.S., you want to put your best application forward. That’s why many people choose to hire an immigration professional to help. The right immigration professional knows immigration policy and is familiar with the standards IRCC demands for meeting program criteria and supplying proper documentation.

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