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6 Ways Canadians Can Legally Move to New York

6 Ways Canadians Can Legally Move to New York

Canada and its cities regularly top lists of the most livable places in the world. But while it’s a great country to live in, some Canadians will for various reasons prefer to build their lives elsewhere. New York City is certainly a popular destination in this regard if the number of Canadians in the Big Apple is anything to go by.

Before you start looking for a suitable moving service (such as If this city has captured your heart and you don’t see yourself wanting to live in Canada any longer, here are a number of ways you can move.

1. School

This is perhaps the easiest path to moving to New York and the US in general. As a Canadian, a student visa isn’t even necessary. Apply, get accepted by the school and you are good to go. You’ll need tuition money though—plenty of it. College fees are already expensive for US citizens but are much higher for international students.
After you graduate, you can apply for the EB-2 visa.

2. Use NAFTA

Under NAFTA, some professions are eligible for a visa but you must have the required qualifications as well as a credible job offer. Note that well before his election, US President Donald Trump had indicated he would repeal NAFTA. That hasn’t happened as of this writing so this opportunity is still available for now.

3. Marry a US Citizen

Marriage is a relatively easy path to acquiring US permanent resident status. Once you are married, request your spouse to be your green card sponsor. Note that marriage does not automatically grant you permanent residence—it allows you to plan.

There’s plenty of paperwork involved but your odds of approval are very favorable as long as your relationship is proven to be legitimate. You can realize the same objective by marrying a US permanent resident but the process takes longer.

4. Get an Internal Transfer from Your Employer

The L-1 visa is a great way to have the right to work in the US. If your company has a NYC office, you are in luck. Actually, many Canadian businesses have a New York office even when they don’t have any other presence in the rest of the US.

That being said, if you are banking on an internal transfer to have a medium to long-term stay in NYC, just be sure that it’s a job and company you love. Once you switch to a different employer, you automatically lose the visa. Also, note that you cannot stay longer than 7 years in the US on an L-1 visa so if you want to extend your stay, consider exploring some of the paths to permanent residence we cover here.

5. Get a Job Offer
If you’ve received a NYC job offer, the employer can sponsor your H-1B visa application that will allow you to work in New York or anywhere in the US for no more than 6 years.

The US is  the world’s largest economy so as you would expect, job vacancies attract far more international applicants than anywhere else in the world. Competition for H-1B visas is therefore intense. Getting an employer who’s willing to sponsor you is just the first part. Your application has to go through the H1-B visa lottery that accepts about 65,000 applicants annually.

However, if your new employer is in the nonprofit sector, you are not subject to the lottery cap.

6. Become an Investor
This is a quick way to become a US permanent resident and live in NYC for as long as you want. It’s also the most expensive. If you can demonstrate you have the capital needed to establish your business in New York, you don’t even have to cross the border for an interview. It will all happen in Canada.

These are the most common paths to becoming a long-term resident of NYC. As a Canadian, you are less likely to experience as much of a culture shock when you move to New York compared to people from other parts of the world.


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