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Do I Need a Lawyer to Immigrate to Canada?

By Christopher Coble, Esq. | Last updated on

It happens about this time every four years or so -- American voters, faced with the prospect of their disfavored candidate becoming president, threaten to flee to Canada if he or she is elected. This election cycle, the Canadian emigration candidate seems to be Donald Trump.

After Trump nabbed seven of eleven states on Super Tuesday, US-based Google searches for "move to Canada" soared to a ten-year high. So if you're considering a move to the Great White North to avoid a Trump (or Cruz, or Clinton, or Sanders) presidency, do you need to get a lawyer?

Heading North

Perhaps just in time for an influx of immigrants come November, Canada just announced it is easing its restrictions on immigration and citizenship. Canada already allows online immigration applications and express entry for skilled workers. But that doesn't mean you can immigrate or get citizenship overnight. Citizenship and Immigration Canada estimates the wait time for a permanent resident card is around 30-40 days and gaining Canadian citizenship could take up to a year.

On top of that, there are medical exams and police background checks that you must pass to qualify for immigration to Canada. So just because it's close and the people seem friendly, doesn't mean immigrating to Canada is easy.

Emigration Law

All of which is to say you'll probably want to talk to a lawyer if you're planning on immigrating to Canada. An immigration lawyer will be familiar with the process, paperwork, and potential issues your emigration will face. A lawyer can help you decide between a temporary visa, permanent residency, citizenship, or even refugee status. And, a lawyer can guide you through necessary documents you'll need, your expected wait time, and any other pitfalls your application may encounter.

The temptation to flee to a cold, foreign, and snow-filled place can seem tempting in the face of four years with your least favored candidate at the helm. But if you're seriously considering a move to Canada after November's election, make sure to contact an experienced immigration attorney first.

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