Leaving The US

I think this thread existed on the older site, but did not make it over. Anyway, I’ll start.

I am a Canadian Citizen with resident alien status. I have lived back and forth between the US and Canada my whole life, Cali, and BC. My wife is an American citizen who immigrated from Vietnam as a kid. I have two kids both born in the US.

I don’t want to move back to Canada really. I like it there, and like some things better there to be certain, but we have had a good and easy life here. Good cushy jobs. Loads of opportunities. Decent house and school for the kids. It’s kinda picket fence shit, if you are into that kind of thing.

When Trump won we immediately got the kids their Canadian citizenship proof sorted. I thought we were headed for a pretty bleak time and fairly quickly. I was hair on fire half the time and people around me were starting to worry about me. Trump was telegraphing all the things he was going to do back then, but we were in the stage where people still thought the republicans were going to squash him.

@Suzzer can probably recall my doom and gloom PMs to him back on 2p2 and they were off on some details and timing but arrived in the same fucking place.

All that time, I held out hope and clung to denial. You all have lived through this with me. Protests, incompetence, elections, Meuller, impeachment, Bernie…something had to throw a wrench in this shit. Like people could not possibly actually want to ruin everything? Right?

So now here we stand with our last “hope” being fucking Biden. That was the best that the so-called resistance could muster. Watching more vehement protests against safety precautions in a pandemic than we ever saw for concentration camps for children. I have been stripped of any hope.

My wife and I finally realized there is no argument for staying any longer. None. Well, the weather. That’s it. So we finally went through the birth of acceptance, we are really going to do this. We have to.

Now we have got to start taking care of that baby and it’s fucking overwhelming. I don’t know where to start and frankly I really don’t want to do the work involved. A blessing in disguise is that every time I get a little comfortable some more off the wall shit goes down. But now…today we are feeling like the leisurely pace we were planning on taking of targeting the fall may be too slow. The god damned frog is big though man.

I am going to lay out my thoughts here and would love feedback and correction. Here is what I have to solve:

  1. We have to get the family up there during this. Since three out of four of us have citizenship I am assuming we will be able to cross the border with some quarantine expectation. I really am considering sending the wife and kids first, like soon, because I am really concerned that shit is getting very weird here and could get ugly fast. It will be easier for me to drive up later on my own after I take care of the other things on this list. I think we can accommodate this by having family find a rental for us to live in and quarantine in, but if I come separately then it will add a wrinkle as I will have to quarantine alone later.

  2. Pack, ship and store our stuff. We are not really minimalist so much as low consumers, which translates to not having a lot of stuff and not a lot of it being valuable. We could legit leave almost everything we own and it wouldn’t be as much if a financial loss as a time suck to replace it. It’s probably not worth taking much.

  3. We have two cars and probably will have to sell one. I am thinking that it makes more sense for the kids and wife to fly on a two-hour flight than to do an 18-hour road trip. I would drive the other one up.

  4. Sell our house. I am shocked, but it is still a sellers market and I feel like that is a window that could slam shut at any time. There is not a lot of work that needs to be done, but it is not show ready and we will for sure take a hit on maximizing value for things like having an old fence, some small paint issues etc, landscaping being kinda wack. In the previous timeline, I was going to leisurely take a few months to fix it up, but now I am thinking I should just eat the loss. Then there is the logistics of the actual sale and the transfer of money which brings us to.

  5. The transfer of money. I have some in some 401ks, some in cash, and some in the house. I have no idea how to even begin transferring this safely.

  6. Health insurance. It is a very slight possibility that we could keep our jobs for some measure of time while we make this move, and thus our insurance, but we are going to have to establish residency and get my wife status there to qualify for health insurance there. My sister has done so, with her husband who is a Mexican citizen, so I have help with it, but I believe they were uninsured before they immigrated back themselves.

So the first thing I have done is looked up crossing the border and it is not clear. Since my wife is not a citizen she would only be allowed to cross for essential travel and that is not clearly defined and looks to be decided on a case by case basis. I assume that moving would be considered essential, but that likely requires starting the immigration process. So I have asked my family in Canada to look for an immigration lawyer and I hope that will start to put some of these pieces in place for us.

If anyone here has a reference or experience in this it would be greatly appreciated. All thoughts, advice, and anecdotes are welcome, however, qualified.


Seems like a pretty awful time to plan something that involves multiple people, location, bureaucracy and travel. Lock yourself home and deal with everything you can online. I don’t see why Fall is too late tbh. You’re still in California.

1 Like

I am assuming even in the best case scenarios with diligent work put in starting today still may be the fall as a timeline. The problem is we have to mentally steel ourselves to break inertia. It is crazy easy to procrastinate when you don’t even want to do what you have to do.

Just making this post was a pretty big step tbh. I already feel like I have more of a handle on it.


As you said, the first thing is the immigration process. It can be hell sometimes (I’m practically stranded in the US right now, for example. Even without covid). Find some reddit/Facebook group that specializes in that.

1 Like

That’s a great idea. I am lucky in that my sister did something very similar with her husband, and they have some friends from Mexico who are also going through the process from mexico so they are asking about lawyers.

Doing it yourself is a nightmare. Given your circumstances, splurge for the immigration lawyer.

I know that I’ve made the move out of America. However, I didn’t have a family to move with me and a house to sell. Having relatives currently living in Canada to help you out along with already having citizenship is a huge step in the right direction.

I can’t think of what else to add other than wishing you the best of luck in Canada.


seems like a huge pita

1 Like

My experience with Immigration lawyers has not been stellar, but lol sample size and such. Not that you shouldn’t use them, you def should, but it’s super important that you’ll be well informed yourself.

1 Like

Agreed. My sister and her husband got terrible advice from a lawyer here in the US. He was undocumented when they met and the lawyer said they should establish their relationship on paper asap which they did. that created a record that essentially eliminated the possibility of him getting legal residency. It was the legit worst advice possible.

I’ve gone the other way. Canada to US right after Trump inauguration pretty much. We hardly brought anything with us. We’re not going for immigration though, so that’s an extra pain for you. Good luck!

1 Like

This is the least of your worries. The money will just sit in the accounts growing or shrinking depending on what you’ve got it invested in. If you need to access it so you can spend it, you can just wire it or write yourself a check or whatever. It’s not a problem.

Repatriating all the money into Canada at once may or may not be complicated, I have no idea. But I’m pretty confident there is no urgency on this. I’m not even certain that there is a reason that you ever have to do it.

1 Like

Yeah I have some cash in index funds and I don’t really bother dealing with it much.

I have access to my American bank account via Czech ATMs. I just don’t use that card since the charges are a bit ridiculous. Transferring between bank accounts you control is pretty easy though.

Welcome home :canada: :canada: :canada:


If there’s anything I can do to help, let me know. I don’t see anything in there about a skoolie though, so I can’t imagine what it’d be. Dunno…maybe if you throw your stuff in storage I can bring it up if we’re ever through pandemicking.


Thanks man. Once I get up there you can come and join my cult. Or at least visit and help me set up the alternative energy.


oh for sure i can store some stuff for you if you need and it’s closer than Mexico or wherever microbet lives.


RE: Immigration attorneys, I’m wondering if it makes sense to consult a couple of them to make sure you can drill into a “consensus” opinion. I had a good one when I brought my wife over from Germany but I have heard of negative experiences so I would treat this like a medical doctor second opinion.

1 Like

Is solar even worth it in BC?

He did say “alternative energy” - could be wind or micro-hydro. “worth it” depends on a lot - and being off-grid makes a big difference. And the price of the equipment matters a lot and I have 13 old panels and I’m not sure how many micro-inverters in my backyard and garage available gratis to the right cult.

(limited time offer - panels are up on offerup and some have been sold - but I have a pretty good chance of being able to get my hands on old cult-ready stuff for free or close to it whenever)

I was just assuming solar. I didn’t know you offered wind and hyrdo as well.

When it comes to solar, how much of the “worth it” is weather dependent? There have to be some places where there isn’t enough sun to make it “worth it” under any realistic scenario (and I assume BC would be such a place). Is that not the case?