Are you a US citizen looking for temporary escape to Canada? Are you considering becoming a permanent resident of Canada? A vibrant economy, beautiful landscapes and a rich history are among the great things driving Americans to Canada. There are different ways to gain permanent residency or work in Canada.
Once you obtain permanent residency in Canada, you may become a Canadian citizen and receive a Canadian passport after 4 years. If you do not wish to forego your US citizenship, both Canada and US allow for dual citizenship. It’s important to find out what works for your situation and then begin the application process. Below are a few immigration programs available for those wishing to live or work in Canada.
Temporary Resident Visa
U.S. citizens can enter Canada as visitors or temporary residents for up to six months at a time without having to first apply for a visa, and just using their U.S. passports. This is a great way to explore the country and look for a job, or otherwise see what options are available.
Perhaps the simplest way to start living in Canada is to obtain a work permit so that you can be earning money to support yourself while gaining work experience that can potentially lead to a permanent residence application later. Work permits are typically valid for one to three years. To obtain a work permit, you first need a job offer from a Canadian employer. Under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) a work permit can be obtained fairly easily by many types of professional occupations such as doctors, scientists, accountants, architects, social workers, etc., as long as they have a job offer in Canada. For occupations not identified in the NAFTA professional category, the Canadian employer would first have to obtain a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) before they can offer a job to an American, a process which takes about three months to complete.
For young people who wish to enter into Canada to study there is the option of obtaining a study permit. To obtain a study permit the applicant first has to obtain admittance into a Canadian school program. The validity of the study permit will be tied to the length of the school program, typically 1 to 4 years. During the time the student can work part-time, and once they graduate, can obtain an open, post-graduate work permit for the same duration as the length of their studies.
The express entry program allows skilled workers who currently work in Canada or other countries to obtain permanent residency. This program allows you to get to Canada quicker and connects you with potential employers. The program works on a points-based system where you will provide information about yourself like the skills, work experience, language ability and education. These areas will be evaluated and you need to secure about 450 points out of a possible 1200 in order to qualify. The application takes about 6 months once an invitation is issued and a permanent residence application filed. If you plan to live and work in Quebec, you may apply through the Quebec Experience Class.
Family Class Sponsorship Programs
This program is restricted to those who have their immediate relatives living in Canada. If you have adult children or a spouse or partner who is a citizen or permanent resident of Canada, they can sponsor you for Canadian permanent residence. This can be a way for you to immigrate without having to look for a job.
Canadian Experience Class Program
This program is available to US citizens and other foreigners who live and work in Canada. If you’ve worked in Canada as a temporary worker and want to reside there permanently, you may apply for a PR card under this program.
Provincial Entrepreneur Programs
If you are an entrepreneur looking to immigrate to Canada and create employment, then you may qualify for a visa through one of the provincial entrepreneur programs. You may be eligible even if you haven’t started the business yet. You just need to explain your idea and then apply for the visa.
To apply for permanent residency or citizenship in Canada, you must pass the Canadian language test (English or French). Make sure you choose an immigration program that applies best for your situation. Go through Canada’s immigration website to get the application forms or better yet, work with an experienced immigration attorney to simplify the process.
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