Things to know before immigrating from the US to Canada 

US to Canada immigration is regularly overlooked in news and popular culture. Despite the lack of attention, its numbers are rising- except for slight irregularities during the 2020 Covid-19 pandemic. According to the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada’s (IRCC) Express Entry Year End Report 2020, the US accounted for 4% ( 2348) of all admissions into Canada in 2020. The numbers climbed from 1155 admissions in 2016 to a high of 3942 in 2019. 

The two countries share many similarities beyond geography, including the usage of English, education and a high degree of cooperation between their governments. 

US citizens are also exempted from Visa and Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) requirements when travelling into Canada. You’ll only need official Proof as a lawful permanent resident of the US Americans looking to immigrate as Permanent residents will also benefit from the Canadian government’s immigration programs. 

Canada is an exciting destination for any immigrant. Whether it’s for adventure or business, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be interested in making Canada your new Home. 

Lifestyle comparison 

As next-door neighbours, Canada and the US share many similarities. A person from one country won’t have significant trouble adjusting to life in the other. The two have similar languages, the same fast-food chains and diverse populations. 

However, differences do exist. Comedic stereotypes like Canadians being apologetic and friendlier than their Southern neighbours or fundamental differences like Canada having two official languages- English and French. Here are some interesting titbits, If you’re an American looking to travel to Canada: 

  • Canadians follow Hockey. If you’re an avid NHL fan, you already have something to look forward to if you move to Canada. 
  • Canadians enjoy extended maternity leave and benefits
  • Canada uses the metric system- like most of the world. 
  • Canada has cheaper Universities on average. According to Statistics Canada, the average fee for International undergraduate students in 2022 was $33,623. 
  • Some provinces in Canada package their milk in plastic bags, not cartons. 

How much can I expect to earn in Canada? 

Ever wondered what salaries look like across the border? According to World Population Review, Canada has a higher minimum wage, with $10.33 per hour, compared to $7.25 in the US. However, the median income is higher in the US at $19,306, compared to $18,652 in Canada. 


The two countries have similar taxation systems comprising a Federal tax and a state/ provincial tax. However, they differ in many aspects. 

The Federal tax rates for Canada in 2022 are: 

  • For the portion of taxable income of $50,197 or less – 15% 
  • $50,197 – $100,392 – 20.5% 
  • $100,392 – $155,625 – 26% 
  • $155,625 – $221,708 – 29% 
  • More than $221,708 – 33% 

Canadian provinces also have their own Provincial and Territorial tax rates that are calculated the same way. Some popular provinces and their provincial tax rates for 2022 are listed below.  

  • Ontario 
    • For the portion of taxable income below $46,226 – 5.05% 
    • $46,226 - $92,454 – 9.15% 
    • $92,454 -  $150,000 – 11.16%  
    • $150,000 - $220,000 – 12.16%  
    • Taxable income above $220,000 – 13.16%  
  • British Columbia 
    • For the portion of taxable income below $43,070 – 5.06% 
    • $43,070 - $86,141 – 7.7% 
    • $86,141 - $98,901 – 10.5% 
    • $98,901 - $120,094 – 12.29% 
    • $120,094 - $162,832 – 14.7% 
    • $162,832 - $227,091 – 16.8% 
    • Taxable income above $227,091 – 20.5% 
  • A complete list is available on the Canadian government’s website. 

Similarly, In the US, income tax is imposed by the federal, state and local governments.  

Federal tax is a graduated/ progressive tax that increases with taxable income. The Federal tax brackets for single taxpayers in 2022 in the US are: 

  • $10,275 or less – 10% 
  • $10,275 – $41,775 – 12% 
  • $41,775 – $89,075 – 22% 
  • $89,075 – $170,050 – 24% 
  • $170,050 – $215,950 – 32% 
  • $215,950- $539,900 – 35% 
  • The top tax bracket of 37% kicks in for income over $539,900 

State income taxes are not consistent across states in the US and can range from progressive taxation to a flat tax system with a single rate for all incomes. Some states also impose no Income Tax. States that implement the single-rate system include Colorado (4.55%), Illinois (4.95%), Indiana (3.23%), Kentucky (5%), Massachusetts (5%), Michigan (4.25%), North Carolina (5.25%), Pennsylvania (3.07%) and Utah (4.94%). States with no Income tax are Alaska, Florida, Nevada, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas and Wyoming. 


Health insurance is prevalent in both countries. The difference is that Canada’s National Health insurance program (Medicare) is run by the government and covers the entire population.  

In contrast, the USA does not have a national health insurance program. The government only runs Medicare insurance for the elderly and Medicaid insurance for low-income families or disabilities. Private players mostly dominate the American market. 

According to a CNBC report in 2019, Healthcare was approximately $7000 per person in Canada and $10,000 in the USA. All the more reason to move from the US to Canada. 

Job Market 

Job vacancies reached a record high of 957,500 for the first quarter of 2022 in Canada. It can be attributed to the labour shortage in the construction, Healthcare and social assistance, manufacturing and retail sectors. The likelihood of finding a job in Canada is very high if you’re a qualified professional in the US. 

Cost of Living 

Canada had five cities listed in Mercer’s annual Cost of Living Survey. In order of rank: 

Toronto (89), Vancouver (108), Montreal (125), Ottawa (132) and Calgary (141). 

The Average Home Prices in these cities were: 

  • Greater Toronto with an average sold price of $1,079,500 in August 2022 (according to
  • Greater Vancouver with a benchmark price of $1,207,400 for all property types in July 2022. 
  • Montreal CMA with an average sold price of $576,760 in July 2022 
  • Calgary, with an average, sold price of $491,392 in July 2022 and 

The United States had seven cities listed in Mercer’s Cost of Living Survey. 

New York (7), Los Angeles (17), San Francisco (19), Honolulu (20), Washington (29), Chicago (36), and Cleveland (112). 

The United States had more cities on the list, and six outranked all the Canadian cities. Major American cities are still more expensive than their Canadian counterparts. 


Both the US and Canada have rules about Inadmissibility. 

If you’re travelling to Canada, you should know its rules and regulations. According to the government’s website, you can be inadmissible for: 

  • Security reasons 
  • Human or international rights violations, including 
  • Committing a crime 
  • Participation in Organized crime 
  • Medical reasons 
  • Financial reasons 
  • Misrepresentation 
  • Failure to comply with any provision of IRPA or 
  • having an inadmissible family member. 

What are your options for Immigration into Canada? 

As a US citizen, you can seek permanent residency in Canada in several ways: 

  • Express Entry: The express entry method allows skilled workers to immigrate and contribute to the Canadian economy. Candidates can apply online on the Canadian government’s website. 
  • A Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) scores you based on age, education, qualifications and language proficiency. As a US citizen, you already enjoy a competitive edge. 
  • Only the candidates with the required score receive an Invitation to apply (ITA). The Express Entry system is further divided into three programs. 
    • Federal Skilled worker Program- This program is for candidates with skilled work experience in the following National Occupational qualification (NOC) job groups-  
      • skill type 0 Managerial jobs 
      • Skill level A Professional jobs 
      • Skill level B Technical jobs 
    • The program requires you to have a minimum Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) 7, along with Proof of funds, if you don’t have a job offer from a Canadian employer. 
    • Federal Skilled Trades Program- The program caters to qualified workers in a skilled trade. You need at least two years of work experience in the skilled trade and a minimum Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) score of 5 for speaking and listening and 4 for reading and writing. Proof of funds is also required unless you have a valid Canadian job offer. 
    • Canadian Experience Class- This program is available to a person with at least one year of skilled work experience (managerial level 0, professional skill type A, technical and skilled trades type B) in Canada- within the last three years. You must still have a minimum Canadian language benchmark of 7 for NOC 0 and A jobs and a 5 for NOC B jobs. 
  • Provincial Nominee Program: The program allows immigrants to fill labour gaps in a specific province. You must have the skills, education, experience and other qualifications and be willing to live in the province that nominated you. 
  • Each province has their unique requirements and instructions to apply on its website. 
  • Once you’ve been nominated, you can submit your paper application to the IRCC. 
  • You can also get nominated through the Express entry route: 
    • Contact a province and apply directly for a nomination under Express Entry. You can then update your Express Entry profile once you’re nominated. 
    • Alternatively, you can show the provinces you’re interested in when you create an Express Entry profile. A province then contacts and sends you a nomination certificate if your skills are needed there. 
  • A nomination is worth 600 CRS points and effectively guarantees you a spot for Permanent Residency. 

Other programs that cater to temporary visits from the US to Canada are: 

  • NAFTA: The North American Free Trade Agreement facilitates temporary entry for business persons (business visitors, professionals, intra-company transferees, traders and investors) from the US and Mexico. NAFTA professionals are not required to undergo Canada’s Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). 
  • The documents issued and the process may vary slightly according to your business purpose or professional capacity. Usually, you can apply for a work permit at the Port of Entry or a Visa office before you depart for Canada. 
  • Visitor: As a United States citizen, you are not required to carry a Canadian visa or an eTA when travelling into Canada. Some guidelines to keep in mind are: 
    • If you have membership in a NEXUS program, you may present the membership card as Proof of identification and citizenship. 
    • If you are a member of the FAST program, you may use their cards as Proof of identity. 
    • You need a passport and Proof of permanent residence if you are a Permanent resident of the US with membership in the NEXUS or FAST program. 

The USA and Canada share a long history of friendship and cooperation. It is one of the easiest places to migrate to if you are a US citizen. 

So, have you decided to move to Canada? We would love to hear about your experiences and thoughts. Please share with our community of immigrants and well-wishers, and tell us about your troubles, success and things you wish you knew from the start. 

Janggoulal Sitlhou

Janggoulal Sitlhou

Janggoulal Sitlhou is a content writer with SettleCanada. He is a Political Sciences graduate and a keen follower of international affairs and contemporary history. He has a background in publishing and regularly dabbles in writing and game development projects. Janggoulal currently writes on issues related to Canadian Immigration.