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infinitenexus
infinitenexus HalfDork
11/5/20 10:17 a.m.

So as I posted in another recent thread, my wife and I really have our sights set on moving to Montreal.  We really like everything about it - even the cold winters don't bother us.  Mentally and emotionally, we feel ready to make the move.  Which leaves the more important aspect, the financial one.

 

Money is a bit tight right now, but I have roughly 7 grand saved and I just started school here in south florida on the GI Bill, so I have a little coming in.  Wife has a job interview tomorrow for an okay job.  We live in a small town right now so jobs suck, to be blunt.  I was laid off a few months ago due to covid and we had to pretty much drop everything and move from Baltimore to Florida to live with my parents.  Fortunately my parents just retired and we're taking care of their house as they travel, so our monthly bills are pretty low, just some old debts we're paying off (two cars, cell phones, insurance, and a small loan is all that's left).  Also I'm going to school for computer networking; I just started and I'm finishing up my first math course.  Doing well so far.  That's basically the background.

Moving anywhere is expensive although my wife and I are pretty good at doing things for pennies.  Moving to a different country is even more expensive and difficult.  Moving with 3 cats is even worse.  But we're determined; we really want to do this.  Most of y'all are better off financially than we are, so keep that in mind when recommending things - the reason I want to go to school for networking is because that's a solid paycheck and I have enough of a computer background that I believe I can do it.  Plus i have several friends in the industry.

So currently, here's our plan:

The Wife stays down here with the cats and does her best to save money, living with my parents and watching the house when they travel.  When the next semester starts, I move up to Montreal on my own (that'll be a long drive ha) and secure a small apartment and start school using the GI Bill.  According to GI Bill websites, the monthly stipend for attending schools in foreign countries is roughly $1800/month.  That, plus a small part-time job and my small retirement (I'm a disabled vet), and I should be safe.  Once I'm established, probably after a few months, The Wife will drive up with the cats and move in, get herself a job, and we'll start our lives up there.  It seems like an okay plan to my ears, but there are some caveats, the biggest one being that I've already used some of the GI Bill, so I only have roughly 9 months left on it.  Now when that runs out I could probably use the VA's Chapter 31 program (it's very similar to the GI Bill) to continue my education and finish a degree up there, but I like to plan for the worst.  Another downside is that if we go full steam with this, I would be moving there around January, which is going to be single digits cold.  

 

Anyways, I just really want this to happen and I'm asking for advice.  We specifically want to move to Montreal, and we'd like to move sooner rather than a year from now.  

 

02Pilot
02Pilot UltraDork
11/5/20 10:25 a.m.

What are the legal hurdles associated with this? US citizen working in Canada? What do you need to establish residency? Work permit as new resident alien required? How long to establish residency? Are you planning on altering citizenship status? Is the border even open at this point? I don't know any of the answers, but I suspect that it's not as simple as driving up and setting up house.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
11/5/20 10:26 a.m.

Canada is taking the COVID situation quite seriously and this may affect your ability to move back and forth. You and your wife may end up being separated until she moves because of border closures and quarantine requirements. You'll want to be ready for that.

You may want to look into how health insurance will work. Your VA benefits will likely not work and the free healthcare might not kick in until you're actually a taxpaying resident for a certain amount of time. I don't actually know, as I've never gone in that direction. I just know that I'm not covered anymore when I go to Canada despite my citizenship. Note that the health care is handled by the provinces, so you'll want Quebec-specific information.

Slippery (Forum Supporter)
Slippery (Forum Supporter) UltraDork
11/5/20 10:46 a.m.

How is your wife going to work? Work permit? Some sort of temp residence? Look into you legal status before you move. 

What is the plan when you get there? Stay in a hotel until you rent a place? It will get expensive quick, maybe look into apartments from here, I would try and contact a real estate agent now and share your plans with them. 

 

bearmtnmartin
bearmtnmartin SuperDork
11/5/20 10:48 a.m.

Right now you cannot drive up unless you have commercial business. I think you would need to fly which is Easier. When you get to Montreal you would need to isolate for two weeks and the fines are big if you cheat and get caught. So you would need a support network of some kind. Also, be sure your paperwork is in order because you will not be allowed in unless you can prove you are allowed to move up here.

Slippery (Forum Supporter)
Slippery (Forum Supporter) UltraDork
11/5/20 10:48 a.m.

When I moved to the US, the two most difficult things were acquiring a green card and the house situation, thats why I mention them. 

We stayed in a hotel for 30 days ... that meant we had to eat out most of the time too. We did not anyone so we did not what area to look into and set roots. It was very tough. 

We had family in California, had we gone there we would have been much better off. Try and contact people in Montreal to give you ideas on where to move to, maybe someone from the forum can help. 

lateapexer
lateapexer Reader
11/5/20 10:54 a.m.

I wish you luck in this. Montreal is an exciting and vibrant city. You will need a student visa and proof of acceptance at a school and you may have some difficulty at the border as it is closed to non-essential travel. 

Stampie (FS)
Stampie (FS) MegaDork
11/5/20 10:57 a.m.

I can't help with what to do but I just want to say that if that's what you guys have your heart set on go for it.  Every problem can be solved you just have to do the work to solve it.

mr2s2000elise
mr2s2000elise UltraDork
11/5/20 11:00 a.m.
Slippery (Forum Supporter) said:



We had family in California, had we gone there we would have been much better off. 

Never too late, come on over!

fanfoy
fanfoy SuperDork
11/5/20 11:08 a.m.

As others have already mentioned, you cannot enter right now without a valid reason. I'm guessing a letter of acceptance from a school could be enough but check.

You will still need to take your 14 days of quarantine. And since you will be a foreigner in a hotel, you will be checked pretty closely.

What school were you thinking of joining? With that info, I can help you find a place to stay. Realtors don't really get involved in apartment renting in Montreal. What's you budget?

How comfortable are you in public transport? It's hard to keep a car and travel by car within the island of Montreal. Think of it like NYC.

Can't help you with the GI bill stuff.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
11/5/20 11:18 a.m.

About the car thing - IIRC Montreal is a pretty bike-friendly city. Well, six months of the year, anyhow.

Stealthtercel
Stealthtercel Dork
11/5/20 11:33 a.m.

I assume you've already looked at this, but assumptions plus a dollar will get you a coffee, so here's some official info:

https://www.canada.ca/en/immigration-refugees-citizenship/services/coronavirus-covid19/students.html

There's a bunch of ducks you need to get into a row.

Curtis73 (Forum Supporter)
Curtis73 (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
11/5/20 11:33 a.m.

Last I heard, Canada was letting only essential things across; limited commerce, medical, emergency, etc.  But it doesn't matter if you have a dying brother up there, you're not going to see him unless you meet at a border park and talk across the fence.

I co-own property up there, and I'm not allowed.  Full stop on issuing TRPs.  Those non-citizens who are finding ways across are being instantly deported if they are discovered.

I'm not sure if it has changed the citizenship process, but some of it must be done in Canada, so I doubt it will be something you can complete until they open the borders.

The process of becoming a Canadian citizen can take up to 8 years, minimum of about 4-6.  The application process itself can only happen after you can prove that you have spent 1460 days (4 years) out of the last 6 years on Canadian soil legally with some sort of visa; student, work, etc.  Without a visa, the max time you can spend there is 180 consecutive days, so it's possible to do it without an actual visa (just hop back into NY for a few days and then go back) but they would rather see you with visas in your passport to prove time spent, and they will take your passport and pore over it in their own time.  Then the application process takes a mile of red tape and about 2 years to process.  There are certain things that would disqualify you, such as jail time, probation in the last three years, etc.  They can technically decline your application for not having enough money or if you have an illness or pre-existing condition.  Since your citizenship basically comes with free healthcare, they have the legal right to deny you citizenship based on something like diabetes or cancer, but as I understand it, that rarely happens.  Mathematically, allowing 10 people into citizenship each year who have a disease doesn't amount to enough drops in the bucket of the budget that they choose to be pricks about it.

Is it possible that the Canadian Military would want you and make the process easier?

Stealthtercel
Stealthtercel Dork
11/5/20 11:37 a.m.

Regarding the military, would the OP's current VA benefits/status change if he joined the Cdn military and swore allegiance to Her Majesty?

yupididit
yupididit PowerDork
11/5/20 11:59 a.m.

 

Given the current state of things, it'll probably be almost impossible to move to Canada right now especially on a small budget.

Stay in Florida and pay off all your debt, save as much money as you can, and finish school. Once you knock all that out, see if you still want to move there. Sounds like you got a good deal going on in Florida for you and your wife to reset and get everything in order. 

John Welsh (Moderate Supporter)
John Welsh (Moderate Supporter) Mod Squad
11/5/20 12:08 p.m.
Stealthtercel said:

Regarding the military, would the OP's current VA benefits/status change if he joined the Cdn military and swore allegiance to Her Majesty?

Since he's currently labeled as disabled US Vet there is probably not a logical path to becoming Active Duty Canadian Military.  

infinitenexus
infinitenexus HalfDork
11/5/20 12:24 p.m.

I guess I forgot to mention the most important part:  The move would of course be depending upon the border reopening.  Last I read the closure was extended to November 21st.  We'll see what happens.  But, assuming the borders become opened at some point in time, then I would be getting a student visa, which from what I read is an expedited visa.  My wife would also get accepted to a school and get a student visa when she came up.

infinitenexus
infinitenexus HalfDork
11/5/20 12:29 p.m.
fanfoy said:

As others have already mentioned, you cannot enter right now without a valid reason. I'm guessing a letter of acceptance from a school could be enough but check.

You will still need to take your 14 days of quarantine. And since you will be a foreigner in a hotel, you will be checked pretty closely.

What school were you thinking of joining? With that info, I can help you find a place to stay. Realtors don't really get involved in apartment renting in Montreal. What's you budget?

How comfortable are you in public transport? It's hard to keep a car and travel by car within the island of Montreal. Think of it like NYC.

Can't help you with the GI bill stuff.

Quarantining is fine, I'd bring some cash and stay somewhere cheap and hunker down for a bit.  I could use that time to get stuff done online.  I'm still searching schools - some are accepted by the GI Bill, but they don't quite have the program I want.  The Montreal College of Information Technology has a program I would love to do but they aren't on the GI Bill list so I'd have to call and have it accepted.  As long as they're an accredited institution it shouldn't be hard.  From the apartment hunting I've seen and our potential timeline, I may just get a small studio apartment for X amount of months initially, something cheap to get on my feet and save money and learn the city, then switch to a 1 bedroom once my wife is able to move up.  Budget would be small initially, once my wife moves up we were thinking around $1400 canadian dollars or so.  We found a lot of very nice places for that price.  Only caveat is we would need pet friendly (cats) and some option for parking.  We can't ditch our cars yet since we still owe too much on them.  I'm very comfortable with public transit though, as I lived in South Korea for a year.  Thanks for all the tips!  I'll definitely get in contact with you when the time gets closer.

Schmidlap
Schmidlap HalfDork
11/5/20 12:30 p.m.

When you say "when the next semester starts, I'll move to Montreal and start school", do you mean you want to start in January? A lot of universities and colleges here only accept international students starting in the fall. Even if they do accept international students in the winter semester, you're probably too late to apply.

As for working in Canada while going to school, the Canadian government actually has fairly useful websites explaining how to go about it, even explaining how to get a work permit for your wife.  Here's a link to some relevant info.

infinitenexus
infinitenexus HalfDork
11/5/20 12:31 p.m.

Thanks again for all the replies guys!  I really appreciate it.  I know this is going to be a difficult process, even when the borders reopen.  It'll almost certainly take longer than we want it to, but we want to do it safely and right.  

fanfoy
fanfoy SuperDork
11/5/20 12:35 p.m.
Stealthtercel said:

I assume you've already looked at this, but assumptions plus a dollar will get you a coffee, so here's some official info:

https://www.canada.ca/en/immigration-refugees-citizenship/services/coronavirus-covid19/students.html

There's a bunch of ducks you need to get into a row.

I checked on some local schools websites and they send back to this link.

There doesn't seem to be extra restrictions on the provincial level.

But your school does need to be on the approved list.

John Welsh (Moderate Supporter)
John Welsh (Moderate Supporter) Mod Squad
11/5/20 12:45 p.m.
infinitenexus said:
Only caveat is we would need pet friendly (cats) and some option for parking.  We can't ditch our cars yet since we still owe too much on them.  I'm very comfortable with public transit though, as I lived in South Korea for a year.  Thanks for all the tips!  I'll definitely get in contact with you when the time gets closer.

I don't know the answer to this but it makes me wonder:   How complex would it be to have your US Spec cars in Canada long term?  Can you eventually sell your US car to a Canadian?  

fanfoy
fanfoy SuperDork
11/5/20 12:46 p.m.
infinitenexus said:
fanfoy said:

As others have already mentioned, you cannot enter right now without a valid reason. I'm guessing a letter of acceptance from a school could be enough but check.

You will still need to take your 14 days of quarantine. And since you will be a foreigner in a hotel, you will be checked pretty closely.

What school were you thinking of joining? With that info, I can help you find a place to stay. Realtors don't really get involved in apartment renting in Montreal. What's you budget?

How comfortable are you in public transport? It's hard to keep a car and travel by car within the island of Montreal. Think of it like NYC.

Can't help you with the GI bill stuff.

Quarantining is fine, I'd bring some cash and stay somewhere cheap and hunker down for a bit.  I could use that time to get stuff done online.  I'm still searching schools - some are accepted by the GI Bill, but they don't quite have the program I want.  The Montreal College of Information Technology has a program I would love to do but they aren't on the GI Bill list so I'd have to call and have it accepted.  As long as they're an accredited institution it shouldn't be hard.  From the apartment hunting I've seen and our potential timeline, I may just get a small studio apartment for X amount of months initially, something cheap to get on my feet and save money and learn the city, then switch to a 1 bedroom once my wife is able to move up.  Budget would be small initially, once my wife moves up we were thinking around $1400 canadian dollars or so.  We found a lot of very nice places for that price.  Only caveat is we would need pet friendly (cats) and some option for parking.  We can't ditch our cars yet since we still owe too much on them.  I'm very comfortable with public transit though, as I lived in South Korea for a year.  Thanks for all the tips!  I'll definitely get in contact with you when the time gets closer.

That's a good school. But I am guessing that you'll have a hard time finding a private school (like that on) that would accept your GI bill. You'll probably have more luck with the public system. Maybe look into Cegep's (what college is called here). Check out this site.

You should be able to get a really nice apartment for 1400CAD. How many cars would you need space for?

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
11/5/20 12:53 p.m.
John Welsh (Moderate Supporter) said:
infinitenexus said:
Only caveat is we would need pet friendly (cats) and some option for parking.  We can't ditch our cars yet since we still owe too much on them.  I'm very comfortable with public transit though, as I lived in South Korea for a year.  Thanks for all the tips!  I'll definitely get in contact with you when the time gets closer.

I don't know the answer to this but it makes me wonder:   How complex would it be to have your US Spec cars in Canada long term?  Can you eventually sell your US car to a Canadian?  

Depends on the car. Note that snow tires are required in Quebec in the winter, so be ready for that one.

http://www.riv.ca/ImportingAVehicle.aspx 

ShawnG
ShawnG UltimaDork
11/5/20 12:54 p.m.

The West Coast is awful, don't move here. wink

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