This article will help you understand the benefits of moving to Canada and what it takes to retire in Canada as a US citizen. Canada is a wonderful country with beautiful scenery, friendly people, and relative living costs. It’s also an excellent place for retirees because of its safety, health care, and strong social security net. We’ll cover how the process of retiring in Canada works and some general information on living in Canada.
Things you ought to know about retiring in Canada
Canada has been ranked as the best country to retire in. It is an excellent choice because it has low crime rates, a robust healthcare system, and plenty of outdoor activities. Canada is a picturesque country with plenty of natural wonders. You will be able to enjoy the scenery in your retirement years and explore the different regions of this country. Canada should be your top choice if you are seeking to retire at a pleasant place. To immigrate as a permanent resident in Canada, you need to have one or more of the following:
- Have a family member (spouse or parent) who is already a permanent resident or citizen
- Have skills that can help contribute to the Canadian economy
- Have a case for humanitarian or refugee status
Even if you are a skilled worker, your chances may be limited as you approach your retirement age. You may consider staying in Canada temporarily on visitor status. Being a citizen of the US, you can easily stay in Canada for up to six months. Moreover, you do not need to apply for a visa; you can simply cross international borders by air, rail or road. Visitor status does not stop you from owning a real estate property in Canada; all you need to ensure is to exit Canada every 6 months of your stay.
Does a US citizen get to access the Canadian healthcare system?
The Canadian healthcare system is publicly-funded, meaning that Canadian citizens and residents do not pay for most of their healthcare needs within Canada. All they ought to do is show up at a doctor’s clinic or hospital and present their provincial health card to access free healthcare. Being a US citizen, you will be able to get a health card; hence you may not get free access to Canadian healthcare. However, it is worth noting that the Canadian healthcare system is one of the world’s best systems, and you can access it if you have private medical insurance. You may buy it before you cross the border over to Canada. Also, simply assuming that everything related to healthcare in Canada is not entirely true. Citizens and residents still rely on additional medical insurance bought privately or through their employers. It helps them fully cover or subsidize dental treatments, physiotherapy, vision, and drug expenses.
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How do I get a Canadian Retirement Visa?
Canada does not have a provision to issue a retirement visa to anyone. Canada is more affordable to live in than the US, where real estate and healthcare are costly. You don’t have to apply for a visa to cross the border from the US to Canada. And you need to ensure that your stay does not exceed 6 months, this is when you need to return to the US.
Can I qualify for Canadian Government Health Coverage as a US Citizen living in Canada?
Canadians have access to a universal healthcare system, while the US has a privatized one. With the Canadian government’s healthcare coverage, you can access medical care and prescription drugs without paying any upfront costs. As a US citizen, you may not qualify for Canadian government health coverage, but you can access world-class healthcare in the following ways:
- You can be employed by a Canadian employer who offers private health insurance benefits in addition to your salary
- You can be married or living with your spouse who is a permanent resident of Canada or a citizen of Canada with at least one year of residency in the country. You could get a PR status quickly and enjoy the free publically-funded healthcare benefits
- You could buy private medical insurance either in Canada or get it before you cross the border
Retiring in the United States is a complicated process. The taxes and living expenses in the US are high, which means it is expensive to retire there. The best places to retire in North America are Canada and Mexico. They have comparative living costs and less restrictive immigration laws than the US.
Managing your tax liabilities in Canada and the US
Every US citizen must file an income tax return every year regardless of where they live. Do you file a tax return to the Canadian Revenue Agency (CRA) too? Well, it depends on your income during your stay in Canada. From a tax perspective, you are liable to pay tax when you reside in Canada and earn income locally. Refer to the CRA website guide for meaningful insights into Canadian taxes.
Being a US citizen, it is beneficial to know that Canada and the US have one of the most cordial relations, which extend into the tax domain too. Some of them are as follows:
- Foreign Earned Income Exclusion (FEIE) – you could exclude your annual income over $100,000 from your US income tax. You should reside in Canada for at least 330 days a year.
- You may be able to regain some of your taxes paid in Canada when you file your income tax return in the US by virtue of the US-Canada Tax Treaty.
Cost of living in Canada
The cost of living across Canada can vary greatly depending on where you live. It is due to a variety of geographical and taxation-related reasons. When you move from the United States, you must factor in the exchange rate between the US and Canadian dollar, food costs, and goods prices. Canadians may also be paying more for services such as electricity and gas in some parts of the country.
It makes sense to consult a professional because the Canadian tax, residency, and visa landscape differs from the United States. Consult and assess the potential financial implications before you make a move. You may also want to consider and compare Canada’s cost of living and social security benefits.