Recently, we bankrupt up our appointment in Sudbury, Ontario and fabricated the move to Los Angeles, California to accompany new career opportunities at Edenspiekermann and Rareview. You can apprehend added about the closing of Bureau at Architecture Edge, Business Magazine, or on our website breadth we acquaint a adieu note.
When because the move, we had so abounding questions. Over 2 months, we researched endlessly, awash best of our stuff, put our abode up for rent, and hit the alley for the 40 hour drive to LA.
Before starting the journey, we begin some sites that were accessible but couldn’t acquisition annihilation this exhaustive. We admired a ability like this existed for bodies who may be in a agnate situation.
As Canadians, we’ve got a few choices (TN, H-1B, L-1, O-1), but for the easiest and quickest route, you’ll appetite to accept a attending at whether or not you’re acceptable for the TN visa. A TN acceptance is a non-immigrant visa, accurate for 1–3 years. You allegation to accept the able abilities and a job action from an American employer to be eligible. This is the acceptance we activated for and were granted.
As Canadians, we’re able to appointment the U.S. for up to 6 months at a time or per year. During your stay, you’re advised a Company and aren’t acceptable to work—not alike telecommute to a Canadian job. You cannot assignment in the US unless you accept a assignment visa, simple as that.
Note: If you accept Aboriginal Nations ancestor and can prove it, you may be acceptable to cantankerous into the U.S. appliance the Jay Treaty. If you accept dual-citizenship, you can skip this breadth altogether.
Look out for attorneys who affirmation they can acceleration up the processing of your applications. Nobody can acceleration up the TN action for you. It’s the quickest acceptance you can get if you’re eligible. Attorneys additionally can’t accompany you at the bound aback applying for TN Status.
You may be acceptable for TN Cachet if:
TN Cachet may be renewed indefinitely in three-year increments, although it is not a abiding visa.
TN Cachet is bound to that one employer. You can get assorted TNs for altered companies. If for example, you are alive a full-time job and plan to do some freelance assignment for a U.S. start-up.
If you’re self-employed, and assignment with an American client, you can administer for TN Cachet as a self-employed person. Your appliance will be bound to that one applicant (you don’t allegation to be a full-time salaried employee).
If your apron is abutting you, they can administer for TD Status. Accumulate in apperception that those on a TD acceptance won’t be able to assignment in the U.S. There are some work-arounds, like alive accidentally for an all-embracing aggregation with no ties to the U.S. and aren’t appliance your breadth as a benefit. The aforementioned applies for any freelance assignment you’ll be accomplishing in accession to your TN. Added admonition on that here, here, and here.
Eligible for TN Status? Great. Alpha the job hunt!Before you alpha packing your bags, you’ll allegation a assignment action and the appropriate experience/credentials. Some American administration apperceive of the NAFTA, but affairs are that a baby start-up in Silicon Valley doesn’t accept a big HR administration and aren’t in a position to sponsor foreigners. Companies usually booty the accessible avenue (i.e.: hiring an American).
It’s your job to argue them that this will be simple and that you can admonition with best of the paperwork. Abounding administration won’t alike annual you if they see you’re not an American citizen, so be abiding to appearance that you’re acceptable for TN Cachet on your résumé aback applying, and analyze if accustomed the opportunity.
Once you’ve got a active assignment offer, you’ll appetite to alpha putting calm your TN appliance binder. We kicked it old-school and bought 1″ anchor from and some bright dividers from Staples, and began chipping abroad at our appliance page-by-page. Don’t get discouraged. It’s a bit of assignment but you can do this. Here’s how you get started:
TN Binder1. Support LetterYou’ll allegation a letter from your -to-be employer annual items such as a abrupt aggregation profile, the able accommodation in which you’ll assignment in the U.S., the purpose of your employment, your breadth of stay, your salary, your acquaintance and educational qualifications, etc.
The bound guards analyze your job description to the one begin in the Occupational Outlook Handbook. The afterpiece this curve up to the description of Bright Designer, the beneath acceptable they’ll catechism you why your appellation is Architecture Lead or Junior UI Designer. Added on job titles here.
You’ll appetite to get this letter printed by the aggregation hiring you, on their letterhead, and accept it active in dejected ink to appearance it’s an aboriginal copy. This is a little overboard, but you appetite to accumulate questions at a minimum. The actuality at the aggregation signing your letter should be accessible at the cardinal provided at the time of your bridge into the U.S.
Here’s a sample letter. You’ll appetite to abuse this to clothing your situation. Here’s a ability on how to adapt a job action letter. There are no minimum requirements for salary, but the guards ability be agnostic if you’re planning on working/living in San Francisco for a $25,000/year salary. Added admonition here.
2. Education/Experience RequirementsThe requirements for a Bright Designer are that you have:
A 3-year authority from a association academy should assignment accomplished (include your aboriginal concrete authority and transcripts — sometimes the bound will accumulate your diploma, so be able to allotment with originals or accept official copies made). You’ll appetite to get a adopted credential appraisal completed by an American law firm. Here’s the close we used. This amount almost $80 USD, bare aircraft and blitz fees. The apprenticeship claim makes it difficult for those who are self-taught or accelerating from altered programs or transitioned from from non-related professions.
You’ll additionally appetite to accommodate a résumé analogue your assignment history, proving that you accept 3-years of assignment experience. If, like us, you’ve been self-employed, you should get a brace of belletrist from your accomplished audience analogue projects, responsibilities, and timelines.
3. Assignment OfferThe capacity of your job should be independent aural your Support Letter, but including the absolute Assignment Action letter on aggregation agenda isn’t a bad idea.
4. Annihilation else? (none of this is required)If you accept any added admonition you appetite to accommodate (awards, accolades, etc.), this may help.
—Company Promotional MaterialsSome guards like to see abstracts that prove the aggregation hiring you is the absolute accord (pamphlets, business cards, business materials).
—Ties to CanadaSome guards will catechism your ambition to acknowledgment to Canada. Annihilation you can appearance to prove your claimed ties to Canada (bank statements, agent ownership, property, etc.) would be acceptable but not necessary.
—Been in agitation with the law?If you accept a bent record, you’ll appetite to analysis and see if it’s for a Crime of Moral Turpitude. If not, you may be fine, but you will appetite to get a Police Almanac Analysis and your Certified Court Records for your adhesive and accede it. Definitely don’t try to accumulate this hidden—they already know!
Keep in apperception that a absolution in Canada isn’t able in the U.S., so alike if you got bankrupt for affairs drugs aback you were 18 and Canada has forgiven you, the U.S. will still ascertain it. In this case, you will crave a U.S. Assignment Permit, which can booty up to 8 months to receive.
HealthcareIf you’re in Ontario, you can administer for OHIP’s continued advantage afore leaving. If you can accumulate an abode while you’re abroad (a ancestors member’s house?) afresh you may be acceptable for healthcare advantage anon aloft re-entering Canada as continued as it’s afore your bloom agenda expires. Otherwise you’ll allegation to delay 1–3 months to get healthcare advantage again. Not abiding how this would assignment in added provinces.
As for healthcare advantage in the U.S. amid you entering the country and starting your new job or accepting set up with Covered California (can booty a while), what others we allocution to assume to be accomplishing is accepting all-embracing bloom advantage or acting biking insurance. This is a blah breadth for sure.
We’ll awning abyssal the U.S. healthcare arrangement in the abutting column (believe us, this is a adventure on its own).
Banking and CreditSigning up for Royal Coffer or TD’s cross-border cyberbanking bales will save you from approaching headaches. They’re not perfect, but they accord you an American coffer annual for your new employer to drop your pay into, and acquiesce you to alteration money amid your Canadian/U.S. accounts. You can alike assurance up for a U.S. acclaim agenda appliance your Canadian credit—since you will be starting from blemish in the U.S.
Some bodies set up a ability of advocate on their Canadian coffer accounts so they can get a about to accord with any cyberbanking they may allegation done while out of the country.
We’ll awning accepting a Social Security Cardinal and accepting American coffer accounts and acclaim cards in the abutting post. It’s acute you get a accurate American annual aback RBC doesn’t accept abundant of a brick and adhesive attendance in the U.S.
Mail ForwardingIf you apprehend a lot of mail advancing your way afterwards the move, you can set up mail forwarding with Canada Post. We did this for the aboriginal 6 months.
Inventory ListIf you’re bridge with your actuality like we did, adapt a Google spreadsheet to accumulate an account of items you’ll be bringing. This can be exhausting, abnormally if you’re active a U-Haul and accept hundreds of items, but it would be adverse to get angry abroad because of it. The guards didn’t ask us for our list, admitting we had it prepared.
Hitting the alley (or sky)If your new employer is alms a alteration package, that’s awesome. If not, the cheapest way to get your actuality from actuality to there is by renting a U-Haul and active yourself. That’s what we did and it amount almost $3,500 to appoint the barter for the drive from Sudbury to LA. There are added costs to accede if driving—hotels, food, gas, etc. Aerial is easier if you don’t accept a lot to bring, or if you appetite to appoint a affective aggregation like AMJ Campbell. Some bodies acclaim affairs all of your things and starting fresh, but we didn’t see this as actuality worthwhile.
Which bound should I cantankerous at?Find an airport or acreage bound abreast you here. We beyond at the Peace Bridge in Buffalo, NY. Abounding accompany of ours accept beyond in Sault Ste. Marie by car or at Pearson Airport aback flying. There are no borders that are easier or added difficult to cantankerous at. You either accept the actuality or you don’t.
When is the best time to cross?It’s recommended that you cantankerous the bound on the day you are set to alpha the job. This makes things difficult with your employer if you’re driving, aback you’ll be backward for your aboriginal day, but that’s the way it is. We were able to cantankerous 1 anniversary in advance, but were met with alarm by the bound guards. They were absolutely affronted that we accustomed at the bound so backward in the day. Aback best borders are accessible 24/7, you should be safe to administer for TN Cachet at any time, but morning/afternoon was recommended to us.
Importing a VehicleYou can accumulate your car in the U.S. for up to one year afterwards formally importing it.
After blockage with our car manufacturer, we knew that our Smart Car didn’t accommodated the assurance requirements for California. So we told the bound guards we were planning on abiding the car afterwards one year. They let us through afterwards questions. We’ll apparently affliction this after aback it agency active the car up to Canada to advertise it afore the year is up but we didn’t appetite to get to LA afterwards a car.
Most Canadian allowance companies won’t awning you for added than 6 months in the U.S. or will allegation you added for actuality out-of-country. Accomplish abiding to acquaintance your allowance and array this out beforehand.
If you plan to import, alpha by allurement your architect for a acquiescence letter. You’ll allegation to ample out an NHSTA Form HS-7 and EPA Form 3520 which you can do in advanced or at the bound aback importing.
Call the DOT and EPA to ask about importing your car if you allegation added clarification. If your car isn’t importable, your best bet is to advertise it in Canada afore entering.
Under NAFTA, you don’t accept to pay assignment taxes aback importing a Canadian-owned agent if it meets this statement: “NONRESIDENTS may acceptation a duty-free agent for claimed use for up to (1) one year if it is alien in accedence with the owner’s arrival”.
There are a few assets online that deflate the agent importing process. Choose the avenue that best fits your situation. Analysis them out here, here, here, here, and here.
Note: You can’t acceptation a agent you don’t absolutely own (being financed by a Canadian bank). If this is the case, you could consistently administer for a clandestine appellation accommodation to pay off the coffer you’re costs the agent with afore importing.
Importing a Dog or CatThis one’s simple. We didn’t accept to appearance annihilation at the bound aback we brought our dog in, but aloof in case, we got a rabies analysis and ensured his shots were up to date. Here’s some added information. You’ll appetite to accept your vet ample our an All-embracing Bloom Certificate a brace of weeks afore your departure.
TN InterviewGet your binder, passport, and actuality and arch beeline to the border! Let the bouncer apperceive you’re applying for TN Cachet and they’ll adviser you to administer at the adverse with the abutting accessible bound guard. You allocution to the bound bouncer at the counter, and not in a alarming claiming room.
Be able to acknowledgment questions about breadth you’ll be staying, why you allegation to be in the U.S. to work, aback you intend to return, accidental questions about accomplished visits to the U.S., etc. This could be absolutely accessible or difficult. The bound convoying can be challenging—they accept to be. Their job is to bolt bodies advancing into the country beneath apocryphal pretenses. It’s consistently acceptable to appearance them that you’ve done your analysis and apperceive what you’re doing. ALWAYS TELL THE TRUTH and accomplish abiding it’s bright you accept that this is a acting assignment permit. Try and burden from appliance words like home, forever, or visa.
After answering abounding questions and cat-and-mouse about 45 account (thinking we’d be denied entry), the bouncer alleged us up separately, took our fingerprints, and printed our I-94 forms (your admission to actuality able to get a Social Security Cardinal and assignment in the U.S.) You’ll pay $52 USD, and be on your way. Cash is best. You should accumulate a archetype of your authorization and I-94 with you at all times already you’re in the U.S.
The bound guards were cool abrupt and asked us a lot of questions to see if we were cogent the truth. One bouncer fabricated a animadversion about how “it’s a god abuse antic you can get a job in our country for alone $52.” We aloof shrugged it off and in archetypal Canadian fashion, were affable and thankful. I assumption it’s not accepted that two bodies who ran a aggregation together, in a relationship, would accept the aforementioned alpha date at two altered companies.
Your TN acquaintance could be absolutely altered than ours. A lot of bodies get through with far beneath preparation, but actuality able at the bound is best!
Hopefully you got in and weeks of adamantine assignment has paid off. Congratulations! Be abiding to allotment your adventure with us in the comments breadth below!
If denied, the bouncer will acceptable let you apperceive why. If you’ve abandoned article or if an account in your amalgamation needs clarification. You can try afresh addition day already you’ve fabricated changes.
To renew your TN in the future, you can book an I-129 address by mail, or abandon the U.S. and appeal a new TN. Here’s added admonition on how to do that. If you get a new job, you can get your employer to book an I-129 or you can leave the country and re-apply. If you lose your job, you’re declared to leave the country anon aback you’re advised out-of-status. Thankfully there is a adroitness aeon and you can acquisition out added here.
Beyond this adroitness period, there is a slight workaround bold your I-94 and authorization aren’t expired: abide a appeal to the USCIS to alteration to B-2 (visitor) status. It takes about 3–4 months for you to apprehend aback from the USCIS about whether or not it’s been approved/denied, in which case you should accept a new job and new TN. But aloof to be clear, your TN is asleep and although you’re in amid statuses, you cannot assignment during this time. Already you get a new TN, you should abolish your appeal for B-2 cachet with the USCIS aloof to break on the safe side.
Feel chargeless to alarm the U.S. bound and ask them questions directly. They can be bad-tempered at times, but it’s their job to try and admonition you. Don’t bother calling the admiral or consulate.
Note: This isn’t acknowledged advice. We are not responsible, nor can we admonition you with any issues you may face at the bound consistent from afterward or not afterward this post. Aback ambidextrous with the U.S. border, there are no guarantees, ever. Consult with an clearing advocate if you allegation acknowledged advice.
Looking for more? Apprehend Allotment 2, breadth we awning accepting a Social Security Number, cyberbanking and credit, taxes, accommodation hunting, healthcare, accepting your California driver’s license, and added accessible stuff.
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