This article was published on December 12th, 2016
Politically, 2016 has been nothing if not fascinating. For Americans it is a frustrating and genuinely frightening time. With Donald Trump being elected to become the next President of the United States, the fragile advancements of the LGBT movement are being threatened and the safety and security of the LGBT community is in question. Many LGBT Americans have expressed a desire to move to Canada.
While Canadians would love nothing more than to open theirs arms to the community and welcome them to Canada, it isn’t that easy. American citizens can’t just move to Canada. Canada a completely separate country and you have to cross an international boarder to enter, with procedures and processes that need to be followed. However there are ways to speed things up. For those of considering a move to Canada, here are your options and the reality on how to do it.
First, you need to make sure you have a valid passport. You can’t begin the processes of moving to Canada without one. If you don’t have a passport already, you’ll need to get one right away.
The most secure way to ensure long-term residency is to apply for a permanent residents card. This allows you to permanently move to Canada. There are drawbacks though. You have to commit to living in Canada for 2-5 years or risk losing your card. It’s also expensive to apply, costing over $1,000. Once you have it though, it entitles you to almost all the benefits of Canadian citizens, including healthcare, education, right to work, study and live in Canada, and more! Your eligibility depends on your income and work experience. You need to be eligible to apply. Thankfully the Canadian government has changed the process to make it faster, it’s now possible to complete in around six months!
If you have a valid job offer, a work permit is a quicker and cheaper route. Taking around three months, this costs approximately $200 and can count towards an eventual permanent residency application. This is by far the fastest option but unfortunately not an easy one because Canadian unemployment at a high it won’t be easy to find company willing to navigate the red tape to obtain a work visa for you!
Each province has its own immigration program to encourage workers who fill labour shortages to come over. If you have an in demand skill check with specific provinces! This can take over 6 months and cost $750 so may not be the cheapest option available.
For the mega rich, you can apply for an investor’s visa if you have made over $7million in legal investments (who hasn’t?!). For around $800 you can apply for a self-employment or start up visa if you’d like to set up a business; these are pretty competitive and can take seven to eight years to complete.
There are other options available. Unfortunately, coming from the United States doesn’t qualify for refugee status. You can try to find a hot Canadian to marry, however the spouse relocation process is lengthy, intrusive, not cheap, and comes with no guarantees. A student visa might be a better option for those with no eligible skills yet, relocate to Canada and develop those skills while you are there then apply at the end of your studies for a skilled workers visa.
If none of these options suit, you can still come to Canada for up to six weeks at a time. You are allowed to visit as often as you like as long as the total time spent in Canada doesn’t add up to over 6 months, minus one day, per year. You also may have to provide evidence that you aren’t working in Canada or maintaining a permanent residence.