Guide for Canadians moving to New York City


New York City, often dubbed “The City That Never Sleeps,” is synonymous with its vibrant nightlife, iconic landmarks, and a melting pot of cultures. For numerous Canadians, relocating to NYC represents the realization of a dream. The allure might be its career opportunities, familial ties, or the sheer vibrancy of the city’s arts and entertainment scene. However, moving across borders is not without its intricacies. While the two places share certain similarities, there are stark differences that Canadians would do well to acquaint themselves with before making the move. Leveraging the specialized moving services Toronto offers can ease the transition immensely. Here’s a guide for Canadians moving to New York City to ensure a seamless shift to the heart of urban excitement.

Visa and immigration essentials

Before you pack your bags, ensure you have the right visa or permit to live and work in the US. Canadians don’t need a visa to visit, but living and working is a different story. Research the various visa options, such as the H-1B for specialized workers or the E-2 for investors. Consult with an immigration lawyer to understand your best options. Remember, failing to complete this step will put you in life-threatening situations and spoil your new life in this amazing place. Not to mention that it is illegal to live and work without these documents.

aerial view of NYC
After you read our guide for Canadians moving to New York City, you will be ready to embark on this exciting journey.

Living expenses in NYC vs. Toronto

While cities like Vancouver and Toronto are expensive, NYC can be a whole new level. Moving from Toronto to New York means you need to get straight with your budget and make a wise plan. The average rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Manhattan can be significantly higher than in downtown Toronto. For instance, a one-bedroom apartment in Manhattan might cost anywhere from $2,500 to $4,000 or more per month, depending on the neighborhood. In contrast, a similar apartment in downtown Toronto might range from $1,800 to $2,500. Before moving, create a budget factoring in rent, utilities, transportation, and other essentials you will need.

The healthcare

Unlike Canada’s universal healthcare system, the US has a predominantly private system. This means you’ll need health insurance. Private health insurance is surely more expensive than the universal one. Many employers offer insurance, but if you’re self-employed or your job doesn’t provide it, you’ll need to shop around. Remember, medical care without insurance can be exorbitantly expensive. Moreover, in case of an accident or a disease, it is more convenient to have medical insurance than to spend a fortune on healthcare.

Weather differences

You need to know that cross border moving from Canada to US is special in many ways. While there are similarities in weather patterns between Canada and NYC, the intensity, duration, and timing of seasons can vary. Canadians moving to NYC might find winters a bit milder but should brace themselves for hotter and more humid summers. For instance, Toronto might see average January temperatures ranging from -6°C to -1°C (21°F to 30°F), while NYC’s January temperatures typically range from -3°C to 4°C (27°F to 39°F). However, cities like Winnipeg or Edmonton in Canada can experience much colder temperatures, often dropping below -20°C (-4°F).

A woman reading a guide for Canadians moving to New York City
Although the weather is different, you will quickly adjust to New York City’s milder climate.

Both regions boast beautiful fall foliage. While Canada has its renowned spots like the Cabot Trail in Nova Scotia or Algonquin Park in Ontario, NYC has Central Park and nearby areas in upstate New York, like the Catskills and Adirondacks, which offer stunning autumn views.

Public transportation

One of the beauties of NYC is its extensive public transportation system. The subway runs 24/7, and there are numerous buses and taxis. While many Canadians are used to driving, in NYC, it’s often more convenient and cheaper to rely on public transport. If you do decide to keep a car, be prepared for expensive parking and heavy traffic. Moreover, if you are a Canadian moving your business to NYC, make sure you plan your budget thoroughly. Driving to commercial districts can be very expensive, so make sure you enlist the help of commercial movers Toronto offers to move your office belongings and show you around the area.

NYC taxes system

Tax structures vary significantly between the two states. Canada features a straightforward federal tax system. In contrast, New York’s tax landscape can be more complex due to the layers of federal, state, and city taxes. Notably, New York City imposes its own unique income tax, a feature not often seen in cities across the nation. For individuals earning over $500,000 or couples over $600,000, NYC’s top tax rate stands at 3.876%. In Canada, most cities don’t have a separate city income tax.

A girl and an old woman looking at the cell phone
Although the taxes are higher, many Canadians gladly move to the Big Apple.

Embracing NYC life as a Canadian

While Canada and the US share many cultural similarities, there are subtle differences. New Yorkers are known for their directness and fast-paced lifestyle. It might take some time to adjust, but soon you’ll find yourself walking faster and mastering the art of the New York minute. Some other examples of cultural adjustments in New York City are:

  • Banking: While in Canada, you might be used to e-transfers, in the US, services like Venmo or Zelle are more common. Also, credit scores and banking systems are different, so you might need to start building your credit history from scratch.
  • Tipping: In NYC, tipping is customary in many situations, from dining out to taking a taxi. It’s generally expected to tip between 15-20% for good service.
  • Language: While English is predominant in both places, there are subtle differences in terminology. For instance, in Canada, you might ask for a “double-double” at Tim Hortons, but in NYC, you’ll ask for “two creams, two sugars” at your local coffee shop.

Our guide for Canadians moving to New York City will make your transition easier

Moving from Canada to New York City is an exciting adventure filled with new experiences and opportunities. While there are differences between the two places, with preparation and an open mind, Canadians can make a seamless transition. If you follow the guide for Canadians moving to New York City, you will learn about culture, taxes, weather, and other things. Embrace the hustle and bustle, and soon you’ll be calling NYC your home.