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Moving from the US to Canada for retirement

Friday, March 17, 2023

Canada is a welcoming country, so much so that millions of American retirees are moving to Canada. Retiring in Canada and moving there does not have to be a difficult task. Getting a Canadian visa, however, may be. So this article will tell you what you need to know about paperwork, the move, and which company can help you with the moving process.

A permanent move to Canada or being a lifelong tourist

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American citizens have one card up their sleeves when it comes to living in Canada for their retirement. That is to become a lifelong tourist. This means that you can live part-time in Canada while also being able to have another place elsewhere. You may wonder how, so we prepared a simple guide on how to retire in Canada.

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You do not need to fill out any paperwork if you plan on just being a “visitor.” You can stay in the country for 6 months (183 days) at a time. Just as long as your passport is valid. You can open a Canadian bank account, and also own property in Canada as a tourist. The US dollar can stretch a bit more in Canada due to the exchange rate. 

A downside of being a life-long tourist is that you would have to pay US taxes. Also, you would not have access to Canadian healthcare. If you want the latter, and to pay Canadian tax, you may opt for a visa. It is strongly suggested that you aim to become a Canadian citizen/ permanent resident in the near future.

Canadian visa options

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There are Canadian visa options available for American retirees where the most common ones are:

  • A Canadian super visa is a family-oriented one. This one you can apply for if you have a close family connection in the country such as a parent, a child, or even a grandchild. With this visa, you can live in Canada for up to two years at a time, for a total of a decade. To qualify for this type of visa your children, or grandchildren have to be either a citizen or permanent residents of Canada. They also have to write a letter promising financial support for the duration of your stay in Canada. The downside of the super visa is that it does not provide access to provincial health coverage and other residency benefits. 
  • The other type of visa you can apply for is the skilled worker visa which shows what you can contribute to the economy of Canada. This may be a tough one due to you entering retirement age. This latter point can impact your eligibility since age is a big consideration when it comes to the Canadian government accepting applications.
  • The last type of visa you can apply for is the refugee and humanitarian case one if you need it.  

It would be best to go for the tourist one since it seems to be a bit less complicated. Speak to a professional about all the options that you have before you decide what to do. 

Apply to become a permanent resident in Canada straight away

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If you want to live in Canada for more than 6 months at a time, then you can apply to become a permanent resident even if you do not have family there or attended a visa. There are a few benefits to becoming a resident in that you will have access to government-based programs such as healthcare. A permanent residency is a gateway to becoming a Canadian citizen.   

There is the immigration process “Express Entry” which can lead to residency. This process is for those people who wish to operate businesses in Canada or who have a certain set of skills. There are also some provinces in Canada that have their own immigration options.  

These are based on being a graduate from a Canadian university or being something in a particular field. These can be options to become a permanent resident, and even have a second career during retirement if you so wish. 

Canadian healthcare

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Healthcare is important to anyone at any age. Canada is known for having great healthcare. Hence, why many people would love to live there. When you become a permanent resident of Canada you will have access to its publicly-funded universal healthcare. Until then, you can opt to use private healthcare or if you have a certain type of immigration status. 

It is very important that you speak to a professional about all of this so that you know your best options for moving to and retiring in Canada. Canada is known for its good public healthcare, so it would be best to get that ball rolling as soon as possible.

Cost of living in Canada

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Canada is quite similar to the States in a few ways. One of them is that the place you live in Canada will impact your cost of living. The housing costs are lower when compared to the States and if you become a permanent Canadian resident you will have access to free public healthcare.  

The potential downside is that a lot of items in Canada are imported from the US such as food, and even gasoline. While we are on this subject, if you plan to drive your car across the border for the move then it might have to be modified to meet the emission standards and safety standards of the Canadian government.

Do your research, and have a visit to Canada before you make the move

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It would be a worthwhile venture to do your research before you make the move to Canada. This is so you can know what you have to do to become a permanent resident if you so decide. What is more, it is also important to know how this move will affect your tax situation.  

You do not lose your US citizenship, but you may be required to pay tax to the US government while living in Canada. You can also look into your private healthcare options in Canada so you can find the best one for yourself at the right price. 

Another good idea would be to take a trip to the land of the beavers. This is so you can get a feel for the area, and the culture, as well as even check out potential houses or homes to move into. While Canada and the States share a border there can be a lot of differences between the two countries, such as the weather.  

The language is English, but there will be Canadian slang for you to get used to. The outdoor world of Canada is a breath of fresh air since it has a lot going for it. It can be a great escape from the city while still being in one. Get a feel for the place, and see where exactly you would want to live. This short trip can help narrow down your choice when it comes to locations, and to see if the Canadian climate suits you.

Long Distance Moving help with Shyft

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Moving to Canada for retirement can be easier said than done with the help of AARP® Moving Services powered by Shyft. Shyft is a company that does all the organizing of your move for you. Shyft, and its huge network of independently verified moving companies, are at your call. You just have to reach out to Shyft via the website or by calling 1-888-838-5981 to learn more and to get started.  

The progress of working with Shyft is that a Shyft Move Coach will give you a video call through the free-to-download app known as Shyft Next. This call will happen at the time that you say, not before or after. The app can be downloaded on Android, and iOS, be it a phone or tablet.  

It is during this call that you will see and meet your real-life Shyft Move Coach. It is also during this call that the Move Coach will get to know what you want out of your move. The Move Coach will also create your inventory list during this first call. This list will be 95% accurate. It will be sent to you within half an hour from the end of the video call. You can check your inventory list, add items, remove items, and add notes if need be.

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When you are happy with your inventory list you send it back to your Move Coach. The Move Coach will take the updated inventory list, and your moving details, not including the personal ones, to Shyft’s secure move board. This is where experienced, and legitimate moving companies bid on projects, yours included. It is through this process that Shyft will collect a lot of moving quotes. Each moving quote is from a different moving company. The quotes will be sent your way, along with information about the movers.  

You decide which one is the best mover for your job. What is more, is that you can compare the quotes. You can also add or remove ancillary services before making a booking. All this is done so that you can make informed decisions while looking at all your options. AARP members have a discount of up to $250 off any move booked with Shyft.  

Shyft and your Move Coach are there to help at every step of the way. You can reach out to Shyft and the Move Coach 7 days a week. This is if you have any questions or would just like a follow-up. Contact Shyft today to save on your next move, and get the moving process started.

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