Country Guides March 8, 2023

Crossing the Border – A Guide to Moving to Calgary from the US

Blake Shaw

Bostonian and residential moving and packing expert. Blake Shaw enjoys bar-hopping, music, and writing insightful content.

Are you considering moving to Calgary from the US? Whether for work, family or simply a change of scenery, relocating to a new country is a huge change. In this guide, we’ll go over everything you should know before the move. We’ll cover everything, from obtaining a visa to finding a place to live and a job. So buckle up and let’s explore what it takes to make a move.

What Should You Know Before Moving to Calgary

Moving internationally brings a lot of unknowns. That’s why before packing up your bags you should learn a thing or two about your new home. It will surely make the adjustment process that much easier. Here is some basic info about Calgary:

  • The climate is semi-arid with long, cold winters and short, mild summers. So, be sure to pack clothes that fit cold weather and snow.
  • The currency is Canadian dollars (CAD).
  • The language is predominantly English. However, due to its multicultural population, you may also hear other languages such as French, Spanish, and Mandarin.
  • In Canada, sales tax is added to the purchase price of most goods and services, and it varies by province. In Calgary, the sales tax rate is currently 5%.
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Americans Moving to Calgary, Canada Should Gather All the Right Documents

As an American citizen, you do not need a visa to enter Canada as a visitor. However, you will need to obtain a work permit or permanent resident status if you plan to work or stay in Canada for an extended period.

Before you start gathering documents for the move, inform yourself about all the ways you can immigrate to Canada from the US. The best way to do this is by contacting the Canadian Embassy.

Express Entry Is the Easiest Way to Immigrate to CA

The major advantage of Express Entry is the fact that the whole immigration process lasts six months or less. So if you are in a hurry to start working in CA this is the way to go. US citizens typically have a strong chance of being invited to apply for permanent residency since they have strong language skills and work experience.

You Can Also Check Provincial Nominee Program (PNP)

Each Canadian province has its own set of immigration rules. When you set your mind to the place, you can apply for the PNP program. When you know that you want to move to Alberta it will be easy to gather all the right documents and immigrate without a fuss.

For more information about the relocation process check out the video below.

Pick One of the Best Neighborhoods to Call Home

You’ll be moving abroad to one of the best countries in the world, but still finding a great place to call home might take a bit of research.

Luckily, Calgary is a vibrant and diverse city that offers a wealth of opportunities for expats. Whether you’re looking for a lively urban atmosphere or a quiet, family-friendly community, there’s a neighborhood that’s perfect for you.

Did you know that there are almost 200 neighborhoods in Calgary?

Settle In Beltline – One of the Most Walkable Neighborhoods

Beltline is one of the most popular neighborhoods for expats, and for good reason. This lively and diverse community is located in the heart of downtown, making it a great choice for those who want to be close to all the action.

Beltline is home to a wide variety of restaurants, bars, and shops, as well as some of Calgary’s most popular cultural attractions, such as the Glenbow Museum and the Calgary Tower.

One of the most attractive features of the Beltline is its walkability. According to WalkScore, the area is not only pedestrian but also a biker paradise. And on top of that there are more than a few bus lines going through the area.

Before you choose it as your next home, take a virtual summer walk through Beltline in the video below.

Lakeview Is an Excellent Choice for Nature Lovers

Located in the southwest quadrant of the city, Lakeview is a peaceful and family-friendly neighborhood that is popular with expats. The community is centered around Lakeview Village, a charming shopping district that features a variety of boutiques, cafes, and restaurants.

Lakeview is also home to several parks and green spaces, making it a great choice for those who enjoy spending time outdoors.

One of the biggest draws of Lakeview is its proximity to some of Calgary’s top schools, including Bishop Pinkham Junior High School and the Calgary Science School. This makes it an ideal choice for families who are relocating with children.

University District Has an Urban Vibe to It

If you’re looking for a vibrant and dynamic neighborhood that is close to some of the top educational institutions, University District is a great choice. Located in the northwest quadrant of the city, this community is home to the University of Calgary, as well as several other colleges and universities.

In addition to its academic offerings, University District is also home to a variety of restaurants, shops, and cultural attractions, such as the Alberta Ballet and the Calgary Zoo. The neighborhood is well-connected to the rest of the city via public transportation, making it easy to get around.

Garrison Woods Is One of the Most Popular New Neighborhoods

Garrison Woods is a charming and historic neighborhood that is located in the southwest quadrant of the city. The community is known for its tree-lined streets and beautiful parks. It’s a great choice for those who value a peaceful and relaxing atmosphere.

The area is part of Phases 1 and 2 of the redevelopment of the former CFB residential area. It is a part of new urbanism that encourages pedestrian-friendly layouts.

Garrison Woods is also home to several top-rated schools, making it a popular choice for families with children. In addition to its educational offerings, the neighborhood is also home to a variety of restaurants, cafes, and shops, as well as several outdoor recreational areas.

volunteer looking at donation box
Albertans including Calgarians hold the second place when it comes to volunteering

Start Looking For Work Before the Move

When moving to Calgary from the US, know that you are relocating to a bustling city with a thriving economy that offers a range of job opportunities for expats in a variety of industries. So, even if you are relocating without a job lined up you’ll be able to find employment ASAP.

For starters, you can seek job opportunities in the oil and gas industry which has traditionally been a major driver of the city’s economy. This industry encompasses everything from oil exploration and production to pipeline construction and maintenance. It employs a wide range of professionals, including engineers, geologists, and project managers.

Also, Calgary’s technology industry is rapidly expanding, and it offers a range of job opportunities for expats with backgrounds in engineering, software development, and data analysis. In recent years, the area has become a hub for startups and tech companies, and it’s home to several tech incubators and accelerators.

Next is the healthcare industry. And it offers a range of job opportunities for expats with backgrounds in medicine, nursing, and allied health professions. In addition to traditional healthcare roles, there are also opportunities in areas like healthcare administration, health policy, and medical research.

Calgary is a major financial center, and it’s home to several large banks and financial institutions. The city’s finance industry offers job opportunities for expats in areas like accounting, investment banking, and financial analysis. Additionally, there are also opportunities in areas like financial technology, risk management, and financial consulting.

A girl carrying the Canadian flag
Almost 25% of Calgarians are foreign-born

Before Relocating to Canada Go Over the Cost of Living

Before you start packing your bags, sit down and crunch some numbers. Even though you may already know what is the cost of living in Canada, prices vary depending on the city you choose to live in. That’s why you should focus on figuring out how much money you’ll need to live in Calgary.

Check out the table below (data from Numbeo) where we go over utility and housing costs.

Expenses Amount of Money
Basic Utilities $225
Transportation Monthly Pass $85
Rent Per Month 1 Bedroom Apartment $1,000
Rent Per Month 3 Bedroom Apartment $1,650
Buy Apartment Price per Square Feet $285

Hire an International Moving Company to Make Your Move Easy

One of the essential things you need to do when moving overseas or just across the border is to hire professionals to help you. Having international movers by your side will make the whole process fast and easy because you won’t have to worry about the grunt work.

For example, when you hire Shepherd International Movers you’ll get a team of professionals that can handle every part of your move, from packing to storage and car shipping. All you should do is give us a call and ask for a free moving quote, the rest will be up to us.

Plus, with professional international movers by your side, you’ll have enough free time to focus on looking for work, or a new place to call home.

Gaining Knowledge Here Will Be Easy

The city is a vibrant and diverse place that offers a range of educational opportunities for expats. Whether you’re looking for a quality K-12 education for your children or you’re interested in pursuing higher education yourself, the city has something to offer.

There are excellent K-12 schools, both public and private. As for higher education, Calgary is home to several top-rated universities and colleges. These institutions offer a range of degree and certificate programs in fields like business, engineering, arts and humanities, and health sciences.

Choose One of the Best Colleges to Pursue Higher Knowledge

Top-rated colleges here offer a range of certificate and diploma programs in fields like business, healthcare, technology, and trades. If you want to enroll in college here are some of the best ones in the city:

  • Bow Valley College – is known for its strong focus on student success, and it offers a range of support services to help students achieve their academic and career goals.
  • ABM College – is known for its flexible scheduling options, which allow students to balance their studies with work and other commitments.
  • CDI College – is known for its small class sizes and hands-on training, which allows students to gain practical skills and experience.
  • Bay River College – is known for its personalized approach to education, which allows students to work closely with instructors and receive individualized support.
  • Rocky Mountain College – is known for its strong sense of community and its commitment to providing a transformative educational experience.

To get a better understanding of the programs, focus, and class sizes of colleges check out the table below.

College Name Programs Offered Class Size Focus
Bow Valley College Business, healthcare, IT Medium Medium Student success
ABM College Healthcare, business, IT Small Flexible scheduling
CDI College Business, healthcare, IT Small Hands-on training
Bay River College Healthcare, business, IT Small Personalized
Rocky Mountain College Theology, counseling Small Christian education

There Are Plenty of Entertainment Opportunities

You’ll settle in a vibrant and exciting city that offers a range of entertainment options. From cultural attractions to outdoor activities, there’s something for everyone. For starters, the city is home to several world-class cultural attractions that are sure to appeal to expats.

The next thing you should remember is that the city is known for its stunning natural beauty, and there are plenty of outdoor activities to enjoy. Some of the best options include – Banff National Park. This nearby park is home to some of the most stunning mountain scenery in Canada, as well as opportunities for hiking, skiing, and wildlife watching.

And finally, Calgary has a lively nightlife scene that offers plenty of options for people who want to go out on the town. Here, finding expat communities and making friends won’t be too hard.

city of Calgary, Alberta during autumn
There are around 450 miles of bike paths around the city

Is Moving to Calgary a Good Idea? The Final Answer Is YES!

After everything that’s said you should know that moving to Calgary is an excellent idea for anyone looking for a new adventure. The city has a thriving economy, a welcoming community, and a high standard of living, making it an ideal destination for families, young professionals, and retirees alike. Therefore, the final answer is yes, undoubtedly a good idea to move here!

To start your relocation as soon as possible give Shepherd International Movers a call. Ask for a free quote and book your move, the rest is up to us. We will ensure that your relocation to Canada goes without a hitch.

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