Summary: Cdn looking to relocate to US (long)

Subject: Summary: Cdn looking to relocate to US (long)
From: Erin Kampf <ekampf -at- YAHOO -dot- COM>
Date: Tue, 2 Feb 1999 20:55:19 -0800

> Fellow Techwhirlers:
> I've been meaning to get this summary out for a while, but better late
> than never, I suppose.
> I'd like to thank Kelly Reeve, Jennifer Jackson, Kathy Riikonen, Diane
> Gutierrez, John Cornellier, Fena Maucieri and Mark Smith for their
> responses. I hope I didn't miss anyone.
> TN-1 Visa
> Tech writers are eligible for a TN-1 visa under the NAFTA agreement.
> This visa is a one year work visa which is renewable indefinitely.
> In theory, this visa is simple to obtain. You must have at least a
> four-year university degree, or you can also have a diploma of some
> sort plus three years related work experience. All that is required is
> a letter from your new employer stating your job description (keep it
> short and simple), its duration (no longer than a year), and, I
> believe, salary.
> You present this letter, as well as proof of your qualifications, plus
> $50US in cash to the INS at a border crossing. Generally, the INS does
> not grant the TN-1 more than two weeks in advance. In fact, you can
> often present the required paperwork and get on the next plane to your
> destination. Apparently some border crossings are easier to get
> through than others. Major crossings seem to be recommended. You may
> be hassled by the INS officer (depending on what side of the bed
> he/she got up on that day), but it seems that everyone does get their
> visa in the end.
> Note that you should be able to take a permanent job (lasting longer
> than the one year), but your employer must be willing to "fib" on the
> letter and issue you a new letter every year that your employment
> continues. You have to present the same info to the INS annually (at a
> border crossing) to get the visa renewed.
> You can also probably take jobs that are somewhat outside the
> technical writing realm, again, if your employer is willing to stretch
> the truth a bit on your letter. It seems that it is easiest if you
> follow the exact title that the INS uses on their own paperwork (I'm
> afraid I don't have it with me right now, but email me if you need
> this info). An example from outside the tech writing world would be
> "accountant". I know a couple of people whose visas say they are
> accountants (and they are by designation), but they are not currently
> working as accountants (although they are working in the financial
> sector).
> Income Tax
> Most of the suggestions for income tax were to do your research before
> you move and to hire an accountant who is familiar with the tax laws
> of both countries.
> Apparently it's not earning income in two countries that is the
> problem. It's having assets in Canada while you are earning income in
> the US.
> You will likely need to file returns in both countries, at least until
> all your income is coming only from the US, but you should only have
> to pay taxes in one country. Don't quote me on this one... my
> understanding of taxes is sketchy at best.
> Also, it seems you can apply to extend your filing date (at least
> going from the US to Canada, not sure about the other way around).
> This is highly recommended since it gives you more time to sort out
> what can be a rather complicated tax situation.
> One last suggestion on taxes, embassies and consulates may have tax
> experts available to help you at no charge.
> Finding work
> The people who responded used a combination of local (US) recruiters
> and applying for jobs online. They had phone interviews or were asked
> to come down for an interview on site.
> Employers seem to be open to hiring Canadians since it's a fairly
> simple process for them (no sponsorship). But, as with any job search,
> you need to prove to them that hiring you is worth their while.
> Relocation assistance is not standard. Just as within Canada, it
> depends on the country.
> Finally, don't forget that although salaries are a lot higher when you
> convert them into Cdn dollars (and of course US taxes are lower), cost
> of living can be substantially higher in the US. It depends on where
> you're coming from and where you're going to. Moving from Saskatoon to
> Silicon Valley would, I'm sure, be a drastic difference.
> I think that about summarizes everything, except one good online
> resource is This is the Web site for an immigration
> lawyer, I believe, but contains lots of good (free) info on it. Start
> your research here.
> If you have any questions, feel free to email me. I can't guarantee
> I'll have the answer (I think pretty much everything I know is in this
> email), but I'll tell you what I can. Also, if I've missed or
> misinterpreted anything, please let me know.
> Best regards,
> Erin Kampf

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