Moving From Canada to USA? Here’s Everything You Need To Know

by / Tuesday, 28 November 2017 / Published in International Moving

Are you thinking about moving from Canada to USA or have you been offered a promotion you just can’t refuse?

The idea may seem like a daunting one, but don’t panic, people have been moving from Canada to USA since 1755.

An international move is a big deal no matter how you look at it, but it needn’t be a stressful one.

Here’s what you need to know for a trouble-free move to your new home.

Regulations for Moving from Canada to USA

Playing by the rules is the only way to make your move as hassle-free as possible.

Know the boundaries and prepare in advance. You don’t want to be denied access at the last minute.

The Paperwork

Any immigration process is going to need paperwork. In the case of moving from Canada to USA, you will need:

  • A valid passport for all adults
  • Birth certificates and photo ID for everyone moving with you
  • Work Visa, I-94 multiple entry form or immigrant visa as applicable
  • Social insurance number
  • A 3299 form
  • Copy of marriage certificate
  • Letter from your employer or proof of employment offer

That’s the people covered, but what about the family pets?

Animals and Pets

Any animals that you want to take with you when moving from Canada to USA must have a clean bill of health from a veterinarian. Cats and dogs more than 3 months of age must also have proof of rabies inoculation.

Contact the US Citizenship and Immigration Services if you have any questions about how to fill in the necessary forms or where to find them.

We don’t need to tell you not to leave things to the last minute. Get your paperwork in order as far in advance as possible.

How to Breeze Through Customs

Getting through the red tape of customs can cause problems for you if you are not prepared.

As long as your household goods and personal items have been in your possession for more than a year, you will not be required to pay a duty on them.

Each item and its value must be recorded on the relevant CBPP 3299 form.

It is vital that you cross the US border before the removals van arrives. That way, you can clear your household items through customs in advance and avoid unnecessary delays.

If you don’t arrive beforehand, your shipment will be placed in ‘bond’ until you show up.

Avoid These Pitfalls

The most common hold-ups that you could encounter at customs are the following;

  • Incorrect paperwork regarding your personal goods and household items.
  • The removal company does not have a copy of your I94 document

These are not the only things that may that may attract the unwanted attention of customs officials though.

Alcoholic Beverages

Moving companies are not permitted to carry alcohol in the same container as your personal belongings.

If you simply can’t leave that case of vintage wine behind, transport it across the border with you. In some cases, you may be able to arrange for the moving company to arrange an alternative.

Be advised that certain types of alcoholic drinks will attract a duty fee when transported across the US border.

Antique Items

Items must be at least 100 years old to qualify as antique and cross the border without attracting duty fees. Keep the relevant appraisal documents handy when you reach the border post.

Motor Vehicles

Any vehicles traveling with you to the USA must meet the country’s safety and environmental standards.

If your personal vehicle does not make the grade, you will be given one year to export the vehicle back out again. Failure to do so will result in the authorities paying you a visit with a warrant for it to be seized.

This legislation applies to all motorized transport including motorcycles. Refer to the National Highway Traffic Safety Association’s Department of Transportation website for more information.


You need a permit to transport firearms into any foreign country. Some antique firearms may be exempt but will need an authenticating document.

Make the necessary arrangements with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms in advance. Failing that, you could end up in hot water at the border.

Food Items

All food and food-related items must be transported in your personal vehicle. Any food items found in your shipment will be confiscated. This includes canned goods, infant formula, and canned goods.


The US Department of Agriculture has placed a ban on importing bare-rooted outdoor plants and household plants from Canada. Contaminated soil or dirt can spread diseases such as foot-and-mouth disease. The USDA Plant Protection and Quarantine Permit Unit must approve any of these substances before they are imported.

Contaminated soil or dirt can spread diseases such as foot-and-mouth disease. The USDA Plant Protection and Quarantine Permit Unit must approve any of these substances before they are imported.

Get Packing

Packing up a lifetime of belongings and moving thousands of miles away is no mean feat.

Now is a good time to go about a ruthless clean out. Try to give away things you don’t need or place them in storage. Think ‘new beginnings’ and ‘fresh start’.

Moving unnecessary items is going to cost you the same as the important ones.

The difference between relocating within the country and moving from Canada to the US is that you are going to need a detailed inventory of your goods.

Everything you are moving needs to be included on a list. This should include an item number and brief description of the item.

A professional moving company can do this quickly and easily on your behalf. It is important that you are in attendance during the process though. That way you’ll know where to find stuff on the other side.

Finding the Right International Moving Company

Not just any old man with a van will do when you are undertaking an international move.

Some of the things you should consider when selecting a suitable moving company include experience, price, and reliability. Choosing a company with a great reputation will save you from many sleepless nights.

Alero Moving and Storage ticks all the boxes. We have guided and assisted many clients along every step of the way during international relocation.

Get in touch for a free quote before you start planning your big move.