If you’re a Canadian citizen contemplating moving to the United States, you’ve come to the right place. In this guide, we’ll explore the different US immigration options available for Canadians, including nonimmigrant (temporary) visas, immigrant visas (leading to a Green Card), and paths to dual citizenship.
Temporary US Immigration Options for Canadians
- B1/B2 Visa – The B1/B2 visa category is designed for temporary visits to the US for business (B1) or tourism, medical treatment, and certain types of recreational study (B2).
- TN Visa – Under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), now replaced by the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), Canadian citizens can apply for a TN visa. This visa is for professionals in certain fields who have a job offer in the United States.
- H-1B Visa – The H-1B visa is a nonimmigrant visa designed for individuals in “specialty occupations” that typically require a higher degree or equivalent. While there’s a cap on the number of H-1B visas granted each year, Canadians are eligible to apply.
- L1 Visa – The L1 visa is for employees of an international company with offices in both the United States and abroad. The visa allows such employees to relocate to the corporation’s US office after having worked at the company’s foreign office for at least one year within the last three years.
- E1 Visa – The E1 visa, or Treaty Trader visa, is for Canadian nationals who need to enter the US to carry out substantial trade. This trade must be predominantly between the US and the applicant’s country of nationality.
- E2 Visa – The E2 visa, or Treaty Investor visa, is available to Canadians who are coming to the United States to invest a substantial amount of capital in a US business, either by creating a new business or purchasing an existing one.
- F1/M1 Student Visa – Canadians wishing to study in the US can apply for F1 (academic students) or M1 (vocational or other nonacademic students) visas.
Permanent US Immigration Options for Canadians
- Green Card Through Family – If you have immediate relatives who are US citizens or Green Card holders, they may be able to sponsor you for a Green Card.
- Immediate Relative Visas (IR): These visas are available for immediate relatives of US citizens, which include spouses, unmarried children under 21, and parents of US citizen petitioners 21 or older.
- Family Preference Visas (F): These visas are for more distant family relationships with a US citizen and some specified relationships with a Green Card holder (Lawful Permanent Resident). F1 to F4 categories cover unmarried sons and daughters of US citizens, spouses and children (unmarried and under 21) of Green Card holders, married sons and daughters of US citizens, and siblings of adult US citizens, respectively.
- Green Card Through Employment – Canadians can apply for a Green Card (permanent residence) in the United States through employment. There are multiple categories, including EB-1, EB-2, and EB-3, each with specific requirements and processes.
- Green Card Through Investment – The EB-5 visa provides a method of obtaining a Green Card for Canadians who invest $1.8 million (or $900,000 in a targeted employment area) in a business that will benefit the US economy and create or save 10 jobs for US workers.
- Diversity Lottery – While Canada is generally not eligible for the Diversity Visa Lottery Program (due to the high number of Canadians immigrating to the US), Canadians born in an eligible country may still apply.
The United States and Canada both allow dual citizenship, meaning Canadians who become US citizens do not have to renounce their Canadian citizenship and vice versa.
In conclusion, several options can lead Canadians to the United States, whether temporarily or permanently. It’s crucial to consider your personal circumstances, consult with an immigration attorney, and understand the requirements and processes before deciding on the most suitable route.
Our US Immigration Services for Canadians