Tips for Moving to Seattle from Canada
Are you considering moving from Vancouver to Seattle? From beautiful rainy city to beautiful rainy city? Although the cities are only two and a half hours drive away from one another, there is a lot to consider with your move. Although the cities are similar in some ways (rain, sea, mountains) they are different in many others.
Most importantly they are in two different countries, and this can lead to some interesting misunderstandings or if you are not prepared, chances to learn maybe the hard way! There are so many things to consider. What about your pets? Firearms? The difference between a kilometre and a mile! Currency, and banking matters, border documents, work visas and a host of other considerations.
Rest assured if you hire Trans Canada Movers to move you from Vancouver to Seattle we will make sure you are fully informed about move related matters, but there are a lot of things that are not directly moving related but that you will want to consider.
There is so much to think about when you’re moving from Vancouver to Seattle so let’s get started with a few of the ones we frequently get asked.
Driving From Seattle To Vancouver
Are you driving to Seattle from Vancouver? Make sure you pay attention to the speed limit and start looking at the miles v.s. kilometres on your speedometer. The speed limit in much of Washington is twenty-five miles per hour on city and town streets, fifty miles per hour on county roads, and sixty miles per hour on highways. If you are going to keep your Canadian calibrated car for a while you might want to stick on some clear indicators on the speedometer to make sure you know the common speed limits.
Ensure you’re looking at the right part of your speedometer as you drive to your new home, and it will be fine. 60 MPH is about 100 KMPH, 25 MPH is pretty much 40 KMPH, those are the key ones to remember.
Importing your car into the USA
While we are talking about cars, remember to import yours at the border. Although you have up to one year to officially import your car from Canada to the US, it can be much easier to do this upon first border crossing.
You can use your Canadian driver’s licence but once you become a resident of the fair state of Washington you should start looking into getting a local licence unless it’s a temporary stay. You can start your search for information on the topic here
The Weather is pretty much the same
One of the things Seattle is known for is its rain, but since that is one of the things Vancouver is known for, you will still fit right in! To be completely frank, while Seattle can be wet and grey, it is not the wettest city in America (that honour goes to Mobile, Alabama). Seattle is actually drier than Vancouver, it experiences many grey days without rain. Vancouver get’s slightly more snow most winters, but basically, the cities are similar enough that your standard wardrobe will work from one to the other.
If you are seeking Employment in Seattle
Are you moving for a new job? For marriage? For economic reasons? Whatever the case, you may need to consider a new job. If you already have a job lined up, your employer has to sponsor you. There are three separate forms to fill out in order to obtain your US working VISA. Most importantly unless you have US Citizenship or a valid green card you will need a work Visa. It is advisable to arrange your visa before moving to Seattle
The process can take a lot of time and the paperwork is plentiful. It’s important to start the process early and not wait until the last minute. It is also important to stay with the same company from start to finish.
Getting Your SSN
Is your US Visa approved? Apply for your social security number. It can take multiple weeks for your SSN to be put through, but its important as it is the number that you need to apply for literally anything in the USA. Getting this solidified before your move is a great idea.
There are Major differences in Health Insurance
One of the major differences from Canada to the United States is health insurance. When moving to the United States from Canada, it is a good idea to ensure that you have enough travel insurance to get you through the first 45-60 days. After that, you will want to make sure that you are purchasing private health insurance – and getting on that right away will save you many headaches!
Additionally, consider any prescriptions you might need and bring extra for the first couple months you are living in the US. It is likely that what you are used to taking may not be widely available, or if it is, it may be under a different brand name or require a different set of medications. Research before you go and ask your doctor for the best US alternatives to what you’re currently taking to avoid nasty side effects.
Don’t forget about Property Insurance
If you have any valuable possessions, like wedding rings or other items that have been appraised for insurance purposes, make sure you bring the original forms with you to get them insured when you arrive in Washington. Valuable items insurance will be obtainable if you bring your original forms.
Banking is different in Seattle
While Canada has 28 domestic banks, the United States has over 250 times that many. This is partially due to the population size, and can lead to an overwhelming amount of choices! One of the best things you can do before you leave is make sure you have an established relationship with one of the big 5 banks in Canada (RBC, TD, BMO, Scotiabank, and CIBC). The larger the bank, the more likely it is that they will have an established relationship with a bank in the United States, called an ‘equivalent relationship.’
It will be easier for you to move your funds to a US bank or open a bank account if your Canadian bank has an equivalent relationship, and in some cases, you may be able to open an account before you leave Vancouver. Your Canadian credit history typically does not translate to the United States, however, these bank to bank relationships can help you open an account or apply for a credit card while using your Canadian credit history in your favour.
There are also borderless Canadian accounts at the majority of the five major banks, which allow you to transfer your funds from your Canadian bank to your US bank in US currency, eliminating the surprise of exchange rates.
Opening up a bank account in Washington can be difficult without a SSN, which is why we recommend applying for it early on. We recommend talking to your bank and seeing what options are available for you to start banking in Washington before you leave.
Don’t forget to get Utilities sorted out
According to this crowd-sourcing website, the cost of living in Seattle for rent alone is between $1200 and $2500 a month depending on the type of accommodation and the area you live in. This does not include utilities.
The main source of electricity in Seattle comes from hydroelectric power, and given the amount of precipitation, this can help you save on your electric bill. The average price given for this utility ranges from $60-$80 a month depending on which source you use.
Getting connected to the internet is likely going to be cheaper than you think. The list of providers in Washington is much longer than the list in Vancouver, and you are less limited by building specific requirements. The average internet bill in Seattle per month will run you approximately $40.
Natural gas rates differ depending on the time of year and are provided by Puget Sound Energy to the city of Seattle. In the summer, there are reports of rates as low as $20 a month, up to $60-$70 in the Winter.
If you need cable, you’re looking at a plan of around $55 a month with Comcast, Seattle’s main provider. Or, you could spend $12 on Netflix and with that cheaper internet bill, still come in under that number.
All in all, if you are going to be paying for electricity, the internet, and natural gas, you’re looking at anywhere from $120 to $190 a month.
A Few Things to Remember about Moving Long Distances
Moving over long distances (even though 2.5 hours doesn’t seem far, it is two different countries!) can be tricky. Remember to keep your most precious and necessary belongings with you and to have medication on your person for at least two weeks, in case your other items get lost.
Additionally, it can be helpful to determine your new buildings move-in regulations. Are there certain times of day where you can move in and out? Knowing these and other rules in advance will assist you in having a safe and smooth move out of the country.
Moving from Vancouver to Seattle may not be a huge distance but it can be a large undertaking, so remember that we are here to help! We have extensive knowledge of border crossings and moving between countries. We are more than happy to help you with your journey!