For anyone looking to move to the U.S., immigration is a threshold issue. Canadians who go south for the winter are only able to spend up to 180 days per year in the U.S., for immigration purposes. If they go over this amount, they run the risk of being barred from crossing the border.

Clients who push the boundaries may not be able to spend time in their winter home, attend important events, or visit their grandchildren. There are several ways to coordinate Canadian immigration to the U.S. and obtain residency.

Your Optimal Immigration Path from Canada to the U.S.

Choosing which path to pursue can be challenging. Each American visa has different advantages and limitations. The key to determining the optimal immigration path is to clearly define goals and priorities by posing questions such as: Is this a permanent move?

Do you plan on working? Do you have a job offer? Do you own a business? Will any family members (spouse, children) be joining you? If it is your goal to spend the majority of the year in the U.S., it is essential to work with a cross border planner to explore your options well in advance. It is important that your holistic cross border plan is in place prior to becoming a U.S. resident. Below is some information on various visa and green card opportunities.

EB-5 Investor Green Card:

This path allows Canadians to be eligible for a green card if they make an investment of $500,000 in one of the regional center projects that are approved by U.S. immigration. Typically, the projects are real estate driven such as office buildings or hotel chains, situated in a U.S. location where unemployment is high and economic activity is needed. This investment is ideal for clients or retirees who prefer a hands-off approach. As a limited partner in a pooled investment, the client is a passive investor who is not involved in the day-to-day management of the project. After approximately a year, a client may get a conditional green card for the U.S.

E-2 Visa:

Canadians moving to the U.S. who are interested in actively running a business may be eligible for the E-2 Visa. The E-2 allows a Canadian to live and work in the U.S. as long as they continue to operate the business. Although the visa can be renewed indefinitely, it is important to remember that it is a temporary American visa, which does not lead to a green card for the U.S.

U.S. Citizen/Spousal:

One of the most common ways people obtain green cards is through family members. You may be eligible to get a green card if you are an immediate relative of a U.S. citizen. This includes spouses, children, and parents of a U.S. citizen.