I recently had to make the move from Canada to the United States. While I found this particular blog post very helpful: Tips on Moving to the USA from Canada here are a few extras that some might find helpful:
- Be prepared for the paperwork and lots of it
- You will have no credit history in the US. Which means it will take a while before you have a credit card from a US bank. Get a US credit card from a Canadian bank before you move.
- Once you arrive and establish residency, get your SSN (social security number) as soon as humanly possible.
- Getting some form of ID. Once you have your SSN easiest way to get an ID is to apply for a State ID. I would again suggest you do this ASAP.
- Open a checking account with a bank or a credit union in the US once you have your SSN, you CAN open a checking account without the SSN and add it later but I’ve heard in some cases it may not be a smooth transition, who knows.
- Now that you have a SSN, apply for a prepaid credit card. As soon as you have this card stop using your Canadian US CC, and start building credit.
Importing your car and driver’s license
Note: this is from my experience in WA state. Depending on where you move from and where you are going this can end up very simple or very convoluted.
If you shipped/imported your car:
- To import your car into the US you need a certificate/letter of Conformity from the car manufacturer. Contact them ASAP and get the process rolling, this may take up to 3 weeks!
- Once your car arrives you need to get it titled and get new plates, but In WA you can’t do this unless you have your driver’s license.
- WA only recognizes BC driver’s license for a transfer. Anywhere else and you have to do both the written and driver’s test.
- To me the best option was to contact a driving school that can also administer the test and book both the written and driving test with their vehicle.
Other non critical but still To-dos and gotchas
One thing no one mentioned was changing all sorts of online accounts from Canadian to American. This is what I have experienced so far:
- Paypal: Can’t add a US billing address to a Canadian account! Had to make a new paypal account for US presence. You suck paypal!
- Microsoft accounts: Short answer: it’s a mess. Microsoft store/Outlook.com/Hotmail/Windows account etc: Depending on which products you use, it’s unlikely you can switch.
- Microsoft store CAN bill and ship to US address.
- Groove music/windows services won’t recognize or give you US promotional discounts!If you care setup a new account. If not keep using your Canadian account.
- Google/Play store account: Can be switched, but with a hack:
- Goto wallet.google.com and add your US account details and set it as default
- On your android phone clear the Play Store’s cache (from settings->Apps)
- Open the play store and add a payed app to your account and proceed to checkout.
- Accept the license agreement. You do NOT need to confirm to complete the purchase.
- Steam: Same process as Google play store, their official documentation/support guide method did not work.
More to come as I learn them.