What to know when moving to the United States

Moving from Canada to the U.S.

When Canadian citizens are considering a move to the United States, properly completed documentation is essential. According to a Statistics Canada report, about 167,300 Canadian residents moved to the U.S. between 2001 and 2006. Here are a few key things to know when undertaking that move.

Preparing for the Move – the Inventory

Either you or the moving company must document all personal belongings and household items by creating an itemized inventory, along with a brief description. Provide a copy of the inventory to the transport vehicle driver to facilitate the customs clearance process and delivery verification at the destination.

Documentation Required

In order to permit the proper clearances of all personal and household items through U.S. Customs, you need these cross-border documents completed and with you. Canadian citizens moving to the U.S. require:

  • Passports, birth certificates, social insurance number, and clear photo identification for each family member. Copy of marriage certificate if spouse’s family name differs

  • A work visa, immigrant visa, or an I-94 multiple entry form. You must enter the U.S., have your Visa stamped, and declare goods to follow before your shipment can be loaded

  • Letter from employer indicating validity of transfer (if applicable)Completed 3299 (free entry form) – find it here

There are certain situations when U.S. Customs may charge a duty on a citizen’s personal items, and they should always inquire with U.S. customs before the moving process begins.

There are additional regulations to take note of as well:

Alcohol - Transporting alcoholic beverages on the moving van is forbidden. If you intend to import any alcohol, you must contact the appropriate authority before you ship these items as the duties and taxes must be paid in advance.

Pets - A proof of rabies vaccinations and a certificate from a veterinarian stating that the animal(s) is in good health are mandatory for dogs and cats over 3 months old. Birds may require a period of quarantine.

Antiques - Any declared antique must be at least 100 years or older in order to be allowed to cross the border without being subject to duty charges. In certain instances, it is highly advisable the individual carries documentation such as a receipt or an appraisal of the item’s value should the U.S. Customs official request some type of authenticity.

Vehicles – On-road motorized vehicles (less than 25 years in age) must meet U.S. safety and environmental standards. To move a vehicle to the U.S. inquire with a U.S. Customs office before the moving process takes place. Learn more.

Avoid unnecessary delays when moving to the U.S. by using a reputable an experienced cross border mover who is well versed in the requirements for cross border moving.
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