For many Americans, Canada offers a safe, inexpensive, open-minded option when looking to immigrate. With its free public health insurance, subsidized education, friendly people and booming job market, living in Canada is a fantastic option, especially as it's just next door. However, moving to any country has many costs, which are often hard to keep track of. Between the visa fees, the cost of living and moving costs, it's essential to know exactly what costs you must pay to budget your move to Canada from the US effectively. Moving costs ultimately depend on where you live, where you're moving, and the amount you must move. As a result, these costs are unique to each immigrant. The Canada immigration cost and the cost of living in Canada vs the US are far easier to calculate as considerable fixed costs are involved in both aspects. In the coming sections, we'll dive deeper into the costs involved in your Canadian immigration.
Canada Immigration Cost
If you are applying to immigrate to Canada from the US, a few primary pathways allow you to do so. The most popular of these is the Express Entry program. Many applicants utilize Canada's Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs) to guarantee their chances of getting permanent residency. you will first need to pay processing fees for either your Express Entry or Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) profile. These processing fees vary depending on the province or territory you are applying to. You can find the fees on your Express Entry or PNP profile once you apply, but in most cases, you will need to pay the processing fees for both immigration profile types. You must also pay the necessary processing fees if you intend to move to Canada from the US via any of these programs:
- Agri-food pilot
- Atlantic immigration pilot
- Atlantic immigration program
- Canadian experience class
- Federal skilled workers
- Federal skilled trades
- Provincial nominee
- Rural and northern immigration pilot
- Quebec-selected skilled workers
The fixed Canadian immigration cost under these programs are as follows:
- Application processing fee (CAD$850)
- Right of permanent residence fee (CAD$515)
For your partner:
- Application processing fee (CAD$850)
- Right of Permanent Residence Fee (RPRF) (CAD$515)
For dependent children
- Per child (CAD$230)
Each dependent child must have their immigration documents together to be processed. Each dependent child must show all the personal immigration documents they have been issued.
The application processing fee essentially does what it says and covers your permanent residence application costs. You will have to pay this fee multiple times if you apply more than once. The RPRF (Right of permanent resident fee) is a fee you must pay if your application is approved. You must pay it to become a permanent resident. You can pay these fees directly to the IRCC when you apply to avoid delays or any IRCC immigration office you may need to visit. If your application is refused or you withdraw, the Canadian government will refund the RPRF. This is the only fee they can refund. You may also apply for a loan to cover the cost of the RPRF if needed.
You do not need to pay RPRF if you're:
- the dependent children of a principal applicant or sponsor
- sponsorship applications for adopted children
- sponsorship applications for an orphaned sibling, niece, nephew or grandchild
- protected persons, including applicants eligible on humanitarian and compassionate grounds and convention refugees.
If your application is accepted, you must pay the following fees to obtain Canadian travel documents.
- Permanent Resident Card (CAD$50 per person)
- Permanent resident travel document (CAD$50 per person)
Temporary Residence Permit
If you're looking to move to Canada from the US under a temporary residence or work permit, there are fewer, smaller fees to be paid in the short term. However, if you wish to gain permanent residency at a later time, you will still have to pay the necessary permanent residence fees.
The primary ways people can stay in Canada with temporary residence is by gaining a work permit, study permit, temporary residence permit or through a family sponsorship program, like a Super Visa.
The processing costs for each temporary residence permit are as follows:
- Study permit (CAD$150)
- Temporary resident visa including Super Visa (CAD$100)
- Maximum family rate for the temporary resident visa (CAD$500)
- Work permit (CAD$155)
Once you've organized your necessary visa or permit and paid the Canada immigration cost, you're ready to start making your move to Canada from the US. If you’re unsure of which program to apply for and, as a result, which costs pertain to you, click the button below to set up an online evaluation with an expert consultant
Cost of Living in Canada vs US
Overall, Canada and the US have a wide range of cities with widely varying living costs – both in terms of their income tax brackets (which also include local taxes) and rent. As a result, to effectively compare the cost of living in Canada vs US, we'll take an in-depth look at a few basic monthly costs in major Canadian cities and compare them to a few major US cities.
Two of Canada's largest, most expensive cities are Toronto and Vancouver. The two largest, most expensive cities in the US are New York and Los Angeles. The costs of living per city differ in a few specific ways, but, according to Numbeo.com, the costs of living per city are as follows:
Toronto vs New York
The estimated monthly costs for a family of four living in Toronto are around US$3,649.67 without rent, with rent coming to approximately US$2,646.81 for a three-bedroom apartment in the city. By comparison, the estimated monthly costs for a family of four living in New York are around US$5,105.92, with a three-bedroom apartment in the city costing around US$6,903.45 per month. However, outside the city center, the rent drops to around US$4,064.69.
Vancouver vs Los Angeles
For a family of four living in Vancouver, monthly costs would come to around US$3,614.74, excluding rent, with the cost to rent a three-bedroom apartment in Vancouver city center coming to around US$3,373.77 per month. In Los Angeles, the costs for a family of four are around US$3,902.61, not including rent, with rent for a three-bedroom city apartment coming to around US$4,392.27 per month.
Comparing these cities shows that the most expensive places in Canada are still significantly cheaper than the most expensive cities in the US. However, to get a more accurate idea of your cost of living in Canada vs US, it's recommended to use a cost of living application like Numbeo. This compares your current city to the city in Canada you currently plan on moving to. While Canada does tend to be far cheaper to live in than the US, different cities have different prices, and it's vital to know how much living there will affect your financial status.
How do you turn a temporary residence permit into a permanent residence permit?
There are several ways in which one can become a permanent resident after gaining temporary residence in Canada. Once you've lived and worked in Canada under your temporary residence, student or work permit for a year, you can apply for the Express Entry program under the Canada Experience Class. There are also TR to PR pathways opening in September, making gaining your permanent residency easier than ever.
What if my family is already in Canada?
If you have family members already in Canada and they're willing to sponsor you, they can via the Family sponsorship program, provided they fulfil the criteria of being over 18, holding either Canadian citizenship or permanent residence and having sufficient funds to support you when you arrive in Canada.
Which province is best when applying for permanent residence?
The answer differs per the individual. While certain provinces of Canada have a far lower cost of living than others, monthly salaries also differ wildly between provinces. The best province to apply for permanent residence to is likely the province where you're most likely to get a job or, even better, a provincial nomination.
The cost to immigrate to Canada from the US can vary widely depending on how you plan to move. To have a better idea of what the costs would be for you, click the button below to speak to a Registered Canadian Immigration Consultant who can help provide a custom-made breakdown of all fees and costs to ensure you know what your move to Canada is going to involve.