Moving to Canada from USA - ask an international

My_question_is: Applicable to both US and Canada
Subject:        Moving to Canada from USA
Expert:         taxman at
Date:           Monday December 20, 2004
Time:           05:01 PM -0800
We (myself and my wife) landed in Canada from USA as immigrant 18 months
back. We stayed there few weeks and got our PR Cards, SIN Cards, opened the
bank account and then we came back to USA. I am working in Detroit, USA for
past five years on H1B visa. We want to move to Windsor, ON so that we can
maintain our Canadian PR status.
Few things have changed since our landing in Windsor, Canada.
- My wife got new passport as she applied for the change in her married name
(she also has the old passport where Canadian Immigrant Visa is stamped, but
her PR Card carries her old name as in old passport)
- We have twin kids who were born in USA last year.
- We have filed for the US Green Card and our application is in the State
Labor Clearance process.
- We did not file taxes in Canada yet
- When we landed in our car, they imported it in Canada and I went through
car-inspection and sent the necessary papers to RIV, but never registered
that car in Canada and brought it back in the USA.
I would appreciate your sincere advice in learning the following:
1. Can we move to Windsor, Canada after the above mentioned time delay and
2. What the possible problems, we may face?
3. Can we transfer our commodities, like Sofa, Bed, TV and other household
things? I was thinking that I can load them in U-Haul and drive through
Windsor-Detroit Tunnel, is it that easy as I already gave the list of goods
to follow when I landed in Canada 18 months back.
4. I am planning to daily commute from Windsor to Canada, Would it affect
our US Green Card Application process?
5. Can I re-import my car in Canada?
Please also suggest any DOs and DONTs.
Sincere replies are appreciated.
david ingram replies:
You are playing both ends against the middle.  I do not blame you for your
actions because you are trying to do the best for your family but you are
risking both of your positions.
To keep your PR status in Canada, you have to live in Canada for two out of
five years or be working out of Canada for a Canadian Company that has
transferred you out of the country to work in a foreign office.
Living in Windsor and commuting to work in the USA would also qualify you
for your permanent status and because you have it, I would move to Windsor
and do the commute.
When you do that your income will be taxable in the USA first and then in
Canada. In Canada, you will calculate Canadian tax and claim the federal
tax, the Michigan Tax and the Social Security you have paid as credits on
your Canadian return.
Do that and get your Canadian Citizenship because at the moment, that is a
guaranteed thing if you live in Windsor for the next four years and commute.
You should not have any trouble getting your furniture into Canada if the
list matches your actual contents.
Your car has been imported so take the paperwork and register it in Canada.
Your green card is another matter.
If you are in a six year process, you can get your Canadian Citizenship and
then move back to the US when the green card comes through.
However, you could be in the position of one client couple I had from
Brazil.  They were in line for their Canadian Citizenship when their Green
Card application came through giving them 90 days to take up residence in
the USA.  Today, 6 years later, the husband is living in California  as a US
citizen with a business and the wife is a Canadian citizen living in Alberta
with another business.
They visit back and forth and can not make up their mind whether they should
now sponsor her into the USA or him into Canada.
Your H1 status expires in a couple of years although it will extend a little
longer if you are shown to be living in Canada and commuting.  The weekends
can be added onto the time limit for your H1.
When you get your Canadian citizenship, you will then qualify to work in the
USA again but you are going to be short a year as I calculate it. You should
have stayed in Canada and started commuting then.
Hope this helps.
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