How to Move to California From Canada

Ensure your moving company is licensed and insured in both countries.
Ensure your moving company is licensed and insured in both countries. (Image: Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Getty Images)

Moving can be a trying enterprise that requires a lot of preparation, particularly when moving from Canada to California. The sites are in different countries, meaning that there are very specific and strict rules that one must abide by during the moving process. The easiest course of action might be to hire movers who can pack up your belongings and transport them safely to California. However, you could also do the move yourself. Even if you do hire movers, there are still precautions to take before moving from Canada to California.

Things You'll Need

  • Pen
  • Paper
  • Computer
  • Internet connection
  • Boxes
  • Markers
  • Tape
  • Packing wrapping paper
  • Documentation

Do your research. Because you are crossing an international border there are some things you will not be able to bring with you during your move. The Internet is a valuable search tool to locate a list of items that are banned from crossing international borders, such as explosives, plants and produce. Make note of these items and be sure to exclude them from the items you are moving.

Pack and carefully label your belongings in boxes. Use a permanent marker to detail on the outside of the box what the contents are. This helps in the event that the border patrol needs to examine the contents of any of your boxes as you cross the international border into the United States and again at the California state border.

Since California is a heavy agriculture state, there are extra rules in place for plants and produce so bugs and other pests will not be transported into the state.

Keep all documentation with you in the cab of your vehicle or moving truck. This helps speed up the verification process at the border. You need passports for any children or adults traveling to California from Canada, a Canadian birth certificate to prove residency for any infants traveling with you, proof of your relocation to California, such as the lease or deed to your new residence or a letter from your American employers, as well as veterinarian records for any pets traveling with you.

Consult your veterinarian before traveling to make sure your pets will be allowed through the border crossing. If you are not sure, seek guidance from border crossing officials before moving. You also need valid copies of any United States work permits or visas required by your occupation.

Tips & Warnings

  • Thoroughly research California immigration rules and regulations prior to moving from Canada to avoid any surprises at international or state border crossings.
  • Make sure to drive the moving truck through any required weigh stations on the way from Canada to California.
  • Allow all border officials to search any belongings they might find suspicious to avoid fines or criminal charges.

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