How Much Does It Cost to Move to Canada from the US

You've probably found yourself daydreaming about moving to Canada from the US. Starting a new life in this northern nation can be quite appealing, whether it's the allure of the breathtaking landscapes, the friendly locals, or the universal healthcare system. But before you pack your bags and wave goodbye to Uncle Sam, you must understand what you're getting into. One of the most critical aspects to consider is the financial implications. This guide will give you a comprehensive overview of the costs of moving to Canada from the US.

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 that are often hard to track. Between the visa fees, the cost of living, and moving costs, it's essential to know exactly what costs you must pay to effectively budget your move to Canada from the US. 

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

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. First, You must pay processing fees for your Express Entry or 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:

The fixed Canadian immigration costs under these programs are as follows:

For you:

Visa CAD
Application processing fee 850
Right of permanent residence fee (RPRF) 515

For your partner:

Visa CAD
Application processing fee 850
RPRF 515

For dependent children

Visa CAD
Per child 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 must 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 Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (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,
  • sponsoring adopted children,
  • sponsoring an orphaned sibling, niece, nephew, or grandchild
  • a protected person, 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.

Visa CAD (per person)
Permanent Resident Card 50
Permanent Resident Travel Document 50

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 later, you must still pay the necessary fees.

People can stay in Canada with temporary residence 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:

Visa CAD
Study permit 150
Temporary resident visa, including Super Visa 100
Maximum family rate for the temporary resident visa 500
Work permit 155

Once you've organized your necessary visa or permit and paid the Canada immigration cost, you're ready to 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

Settlement Funds Canada

Settlement Funds Canada is a term you'll come across when planning your move. When you first arrive in Canada, this is the money you need to support yourself (and your family, if applicable). It's a buffer to cover living costs while finding employment or establishing a business. The amount of Settlement Funds Canada you need varies depending on the size of your family. For instance, a single person needs at least 13,757 CAD (10 108,38 USD), while a family of four requires around 25,564 CAD (18 783,94 USD). Bear in mind this is the absolute minimum. You'll likely need more to cover additional costs such as rent deposits, furniture, and other necessities.

Moving Expenses Canada

Moving Expenses Canada

Moving expenses Canada constitutes a significant portion of the cost of moving to Canada. These include shipping or transporting your belongings, travel expenses, temporary accommodation costs, etc. Shipping costs depend on the volume and weight of what you're moving and how far you're moving it. For instance, moving a three-bedroom house from Los Angeles to Vancouver can cost 6,800 to 9,500 CAD (approximately 5,000 to 7,000 USD), according to International Van Lines. Travel costs include flights, car rental, or fuel if you're driving. Remember to factor in meals and refreshments for your journey. Temporary accommodation costs will depend on where you're moving to and your chosen accommodation type.

Cost of Living in Canada vs US

Canada and the US have various cities with varying living costs regarding their income tax brackets (including 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.

Toronto and Vancouver are two of Canada's largest, most expensive cities. The US's two largest, most expensive cities are New York and Los Angeles. The costs of living per city differ in a few specific ways, but according to, 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 5,490.40 CAD (4,036.90 USD) without rent, with rent coming to approximately 4,127.69 CAD (3,034.90 USD) 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 7,685.70 CAD (5,650.90) USD, with a three-bedroom apartment costing around 10,462.74 CAD (7,692.76 USD) monthly. However, the rent drops to around 6,084.65 CAD (4,473.76 USD) outside the city center.

Vancouver vs Los Angeles

For a family of four living in Vancouver, monthly costs would come to around 5,306.6 CAD (3,901.70 USD), excluding rent, with the cost to rent a three-bedroom apartment in Vancouver city center coming to around 4,809.26 CAD (3,536.03 USD) per month. In Los Angeles, the costs for a family of four are around 6,381.80 CAD (4,692.20 USD), not including rent, with rent for a three-bedroom city apartment coming to around 6,456.36 CAD (4,747.06 USD) 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, using a cost-of-living application like Numbeo is recommended. This compares your current city to the one in Canada you plan on moving to. While Canada tends to be far cheaper than the US, different cities have different prices, and knowing how much living there will affect your financial status is vital.

How to Budget for Your Move to Canada

How to Budget for Your Move to Canada

Budgeting for your move to Canada is vital to avoid financial stress. Start by listing all the potential costs - including visa fees, immigration fees, moving expenses, and settlement funds. Then, add a contingency for unexpected costs. Consider the cost of living in your new Canadian city. Research the average rent costs, grocery prices, utility bills, and other everyday expenses. This will give you a clear idea of how much you'll need to live comfortably. Finally, consider how you'll fund your move. Do you have savings you can use, or will you need a loan? Plan this to avoid last-minute financial stress.

Learn more about budgeting your move to Canada.

So, is moving to Canada worth the cost? Only you can answer that. It's a significant financial undertaking, but many find the benefits outweigh the costs. The quality of life, the beautiful landscapes, and the welcoming culture can make the expense worthwhile. Remember to do thorough research and plan your finances carefully. This will help you avoid any unpleasant financial surprises and ensure you can enjoy your new life in Canada.


How Do You Turn a Temporary Residence Permit into a Permanent Residence Permit?

One can become a permanent resident after gaining temporary residence in Canada in several ways. 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. 

Learn more about Canada's TR to PR pathways.

What if My Family is Already in Canada?

Suppose you have family members already in Canada and are willing to sponsor you. In that case, they can do so via the Family sponsorship program, provided they fulfill 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.

Learn more about Family Sponsorship 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.

Learn more about Canada's provinces.