Whether you are moving to the US from Canada as a result of a company transfer, a new job or as a part-time resident, there are some things you need to be aware of to have a smooth move. Because of our close ties with the US, Canadians are sometimes under the mistaken impression that we can move freely across the border to work or live particularly if they have purchased property.

Unfortunately moving to the US is still moving to a foreign country. You and your possessions are subject to scrutiny from Citizenship and Immigration, Homeland Security and US Customs and Border Services. Each division of the US government have their own regulations and work with each other to make sure no one enters to US to live and or work who doesn’t follow the rules.

When choosing a moving company, be very careful about any company that neglects to explain the required documentation or to discuss customs regulations. You should do your own research but having a knowledgeable moving company will help ensure that your household goods get across the border without a problem. This being said, it is important to remember that US officials have the ultimate authority about who and what gets in. Sometimes a customs officer will deny entry even though all of the documentation appears in order. Unfortunately, the driver of the moving truck cannot argue with any ruling they make and must comply with an order to return the goods to origin.

Moving to the US to Work

A work visa is mandatory to work in the United States. If you are being transferred by your employer, then generally your human resources will take care of filing the necessary paperwork in order for you to obtain a visa. If you have found a new job in the US, the new employer will likely assist you as well. For those of you who qualify for a NAFTA visa, this is usually the type of visa that your new employer will suggest you apply for at the outset. Specific occupations are covered under the NAFTA agreement.

One of the most important things to know as it relates to your household goods is that the moving company cannot take your possessions across the border unless they have a copy of your work visa. You obtain your visa when you clear US immigration at the airport or the border crossing. You must exit Canada at this time so it is essential to coordinate your household move with your entry to the US. Once you have been cleared for personal entry to the US you can send a copy of the work visa to the moving company. Prior to leaving Canada, you should have also provided them with a copy of your passport, and your completed 3299 Declaration of Free Entry of Unaccompanied Goods form. If you are including a car with your shipment, then there will be other documents.

Moving Your Car to the US

Cars must meet US safety and admission standards in order to be imported. You must obtain a letter from the original manufacturer not the dealer that states the car meets all of the standards and then complete a HS7 and an EPA 3520 form. If the car is going to be in the US for less than one year, then this regulation can be waived and the car imported on a temporary basis. However if it is not exported within one year of entry, then the car can be seized.

Part-Time Residents

Purchasing property in the US does not give you to right to live their permanently. At the present time, Canadians can only stay in the US for six months. US officials require proof that you still retain ties to Canada. In order for a mover to cross the border with your household goods, they must have a copy of your passport, the 3299 Declaration of Free Entry of Unaccompanied Goods form plus several documents that prove you still have a residence in Canada. Normally they require a copy of a current property tax bill, hydro and heating bill and other documents to prove you have a residence.

In recent years, border officials have been suspicious of younger people claiming to be entering the US on a part-time basis. They can deny entry of individuals and household goods if they think you are planning to stay and work in the US without a proper work visa.

As you can see moving to the US from Canada requires advance planning and the adherence to the rules. For more information about moving to the US from Canada, or to get a free estimate for the price of the move, contact us today!