Toronto Mike

Moving to America for A Career? A Step by Step Guide for Canadians

Canada and America have always had a cordial relationship that allows citizens from the two countries to cross borders visa-free. Canadians and Americans can stay in each other's countries visa-free for up to 180 days as tourists before going back to their country.

However, your identity documents, such as passport and Insurance for Canadians in the US, are essential.

Despite the strict measures that came with the COVID-19 pandemic, some U.S. companies were still hiring Canadian workers. So, if you are a Canadian citizen, recently thinking about moving to America for a career, you still have a chance.

This guide provides the information you need as a Canadian looking to move to America for a job.

Moving from Canada to America for a Job

As a Canadian, you can move to America if you have found a better job or when your employer transfers you to an American branch.

Whatever the reason, with the proper procedure and tips, you can make it big in the U.S., thanks to its diverse economy and a wide range of career opportunities for skilled and unskilled professionals. Besides fulfilling your financial dreams, America also offers an excellent opportunity for you to fulfil your utmost potential in its competitive employment industry.

If you are moving from Canada to America for a job, your employer must sponsor you. Getting permanent residence in the U.S. based on employment skills comes in multiple categories:

EB1 Category

This category prioritizes employees with extraordinary skills and abilities in arts, business, athletics, education, science researchers, Ph. D holders, professors, multinational managers and executives.

EB2 Category

The EB2 category is designed for employees with exceptional skills and abilities in science, business and art-related fields. You can also apply for this category if you are an advanced level professional.

EB- 3 Category

Besides professionals with Bachelor's and Graduate degrees, any other skilled and unskilled employees also fall in this group.

EB-4 Certain Special Immigrants

This category comprises a range of subgroups from ministers of religion to some Retired International Organization Employees and Persons Recruited Outside the U.S. who have served or enlisted to Service in the U.S. Armed Forces.

EB- 5 Immigration Investors

This category is for foreign investors with plans for capital investment in new commercial enterprises across the U.S., which creates jobs for Americans.

The Immigration Process

There are multiple reasons why Canadians move to the U.S. Employment is one of these leading reasons. Your journey begins by ascertaining whether you are eligible for the employment-based green card.

Eligibility for the Employment-Based Green Card?

Your dream to work in America as a Canadian is easier to achieve if you have an American employer ready to petition for your permanent residence. In most cases, most applicants looking for this petition are usually already in the U.S., using an H-1B Visa L1 Visa, among other temporary work visas.

If you are not currently in America on a temporary work visa, you should begin by applying for the immigrant visa for fresh immigrants seeking to work in the U.S. With the right combination of skills, educational qualifications, experience, and eligibility, you will not only find a good job but also live permanently in America on an Employment-Based Visa (EB Visa).

The application of the EB Visas involves filling an I-40 application to the Service Centre close to the jurisdiction of your workplace. As discussed above, these visas are categorized as EB-1, EB-2, EB-3, EB-4, and EB-5. The suitability of each category depends on the occupation types.

Steps for Applying for an EB Visa

For an American employer to petition a foreign worker for permanent residence legally, they must adhere to the following steps:

Obtaining a Labor Certification Approval (Employer or agent)

Most employment categories require the sponsoring employer to get a labor certification approval from the Department of Labor. The approval certifies that no qualified American workers are available or willing to take the job.

Filing a Petition With USCIS

Upon approval, the employer files Form I-40 – Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker, with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for the relevant employment-based category. Individuals from the E-B1 category have the privilege to sign their petitions.

USCIS Sends a petition to the National Visa Centre

After the approval, USCIS sends the petition to the National Visa Center, NVC, where the pre-processing process of the applicant's case resumes. If the applicant is already in the U.S., they should apply for an Adjustment of Status to avoid the hassle of getting the visa through their embassy or consulate.

With everything approved, the foreign worker still in Canada can apply for a green card or immigrant visa.

Temporary Work Visas Available for Canadians in the U.S.

Canadians can temporarily work in America on different work visas as discussed below:

H-1B Visa Temporary Work

The H-1B is a temporary work visa that allows Canadians and other immigrants to work in America for three years.


The North American Free Trade Agreement, NAFTA, allows Canadians and Mexicans of eligible professions to work in the U.S. Professionals in this category include management consultancy, teaching, law, engineering, librarians, accountants, scientists, social workers, mathematicians, computer systems analysts, among others.

L-1 Visa – Employee Transfer

The L-1 visa is suitable for people who immigrate to the U.S. to work temporarily for multinational companies in managerial, executive, or specialized knowledge capacities.

O-1 Visa -- Extraordinary Skills Visa

This visa allows individuals with extraordinary skills and capabilities to work in the U.S. temporarily between 1 and three years. These visas are classified as either O-1A or O-1B, and the applicant can move with their family. However, the accompanying parties can only study but not work in America.

Below are the legal forms you need to move to America:

  • ETA-750: Your prospective employer fills out and submits the form to the Department of Labor.
  • I-40: The employer fills out this form and submits it to the INS.
  • I-485: You should fill out this form alongside other vital documents and submit them to the INS. You should also sign The Employment Authorization Document and Advanced Patrol / Travel Document at this time. Upon completion and approval of all documents, the authorities will stamp your passport, and you will receive your plastic Green card. Green cards expire after every ten years, requiring renewal.

Effects of Improper Filling of Documents
Ensure that you fill out all documents correctly to prevent a holdup in your application process. It would help if you were honest, as any fraudulence in the filling process results in the complete loss of your chances of becoming an American citizen.

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