Moving back to the US?

I know everyone has their POV on this topic but just wanted to ask people what they think about moving back to the US on TN/unused H1B? Cost of living, especially housing is insane in GTA. Even though our family income is $400K+/yr, a ton of it goes to taxes with minimum benefits in return. We all know the issues - healthcare (limited family doctors, months of waiting for specialists and the list goes on), infrastructure (401 is a nightmare as an example), schooling (pods for kids and diminishing quality of education), insane housing cost with thousands of $ in mortgage payments, every other person is Indian (this is subjective but I moved out of India since I wanted a diversified circle), yrs long wait for daycare spots - myriads of other things but you get the idea. The only thing that bothers me is gun violence in the US especially with kids going to school but GTA isn’t any better now. Every day you hear about someone stabbing someone instead of shooting. With more and more immigrants/refugees and less jobs, this trend is bound to stay the same or increase. What is your opinion and what are the benefits of staying in Canada?

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Can you please explain what does unused H1B mean? The moment you are out of the US, H1B status is gone, correct?

I have been debating the same. In my field, there are more opportunities (would say in almost every other field) and better pay in the US than in Canada. The only thing that Canada offers for me is that it gives me the opportunity to have my aging parents over for a longer time than the US. Though getting selected in the lottery is a whole different thing Atleast I have the super visa that enables me to have my parents over for a longer time.

Super visa helps but not really. First of all the premium is high when you have parents over 65 yrs of age and then you cannot use it for general diagnosis which they need when they’re at this age. On top of that, the PR process has been dead from the past few years and hasn’t taken new applications into consideration which to me doesn’t make sense.

Agreed. Hoping they open it up this year. The only thing I can think of which might make me choose Canada over the states would be the opportunity to take care of parents. Eager to know what others think and get their viewpoints.

From what I understand any unused time on your H1b can be reused as long as you get an employer to sponsor/transfer your h1. I believe if you have i140 approved an employer can use that to initiate H1b without going down the lottery route(might be wrong)…


My personal two cents - if you and your spouse both have your I-140 form approved (green card) and making money is your only criteria, then you should definitely consider the US. Granted that you do have to live with the uncertainty of visa, gun violence etc, but if your career prospects are better in the US, then it is worth considering it.

I think you have touched on all the right points. That is the reality and there isn’t any denying it. Having lived in both US and Canada we are in a better position to assess the difference. The only thing I’ll add as a plus is the easier path to citizenship.
My suggestion is to take the Canadian citizenship. Once you have the citizenship you should feel confident in going back to US. And this is coming from someone who had an H-1B for 15+ years, a house and 2 kids. The constant fear and instability due to H-1B visa alleviates a bit if you have the option to going to Canada. You can invest in Canada, own properties. Get TN-visa as well once you have citizenship.

Me too.

From one perspective US actually makes it easier to sponsor your parents - if you are a citizen: but then there is no lottery, no need to wait for a visa number or priority date, it’s immediate.

That’s the catch, even green card holders can’t sponsor their parents: Can a Green Card Holder Sponsor Their Parents?

So even if you survive the years long wait for a green card, you need to wait a few more years before you can get US citizenship to sponsor your parents.

Odds are good that they reopen things for parents on the Canada side long before one becomes eligible as a US citizen to sponsor the parents to the States.

Thanks to those commented. Seems like most of you think on the same lines.

Another point that I didn’t mention in my original post is that we were in the US for 8 yrs before moving to Canada. Never had issues with H1B renewal since both me and my spouse were working for a American firm. The only reason we moved was prospects of Canadian citizenship, we have friends and family in Canada and path to PR for parents.

So as someone said, after living in both the countries, it’s easy to draw a comparison. I read this somewhere and truly believe in it after much research - Canada is great if you are low income/refugee/disabled as you get access to so many benefits and monthly payments (though they may not cover everything but far better than getting nothing). And if you are middle class, you continue giving to the system with minimal benefits in return. US is adversity for low income folks but a boon for most of the middle class especially folks in tech/healthcare.

We moved here in 2021 after 8 years in the US. We’ve only got another year to go until we’re cleared to apply for our citizenship. Then another year of processing till we get the passports. So, we’re going to stay here till we get our passports atleast. But after that, we don’t have any intention of staying in Canada for the long term mostly for the reasons you stated above. We don’t have any friends or family in Canada since everyone’s in the US. Haven’t been able to meet new friends either cause we both work from home and are raising a toddler.

As for next steps, the TN visa is an option cause we’re both working for US companies. But we’re also considering Dubai cause I’m an Oil & Gas guy. I don’t mind spending 10 years in Dubai making 2x to 3x more with low taxes compared to Canadian Oil & Gas salaries. But an option that we really like is moving back to India and staying close to family and friends. We can afford daily help such as nannies, cooks and drivers in India easily and this will free up our time. Raising kids in the West hasn’t been easy. We’d prefer to maintain our sanity and spend quality time with kids as opposed to cleaning dishes, doing household chores etc. We’d face the same problem if we move back to US but not if we move to Dubai or India.

I really wanted to make Canada work for me but I can’t find a good reason to stay here. I don’t see the leadership in this country doing anything remotely helpful that would grow their economy and reduce housing costs and improve public healthcare. Also, cost of living in Toronto is pretty high here and I don’t find it deserving of that. For example, I’d gladly accept high cost of living in cities like NY, Seattle, SF cause of the wealth of opportunities and high earning capability in those cities. But Toronto has been underwhelming to say the least. Perhaps it may be different for a Tech person with considerable opportunities in Toronto.

It’s not all bad though… There are many things about Canada that I’m super grateful for and I’ll always love it for that. We’ve made some good memories here as a family and we’ll cherish those.


We moved to Canada in 2022 as permanent residents after living in the US for 11 years. I have a pretty good job with a good pay, which was a transfer with the same company I was working for in the US. I live in a rent-controlled 2-bed, 2-bath rental apartment in Toronto at a reasonable rent, with my wife (who is a stay at home mom) and a toddler. I don’t really have a strong emotional attachment to home ownership (which is nearly impossible for us as a single income household, who prefer living in walkable neighborhoods). So my thoughts are heavily influenced by my current living situation.

I could have indefinitely kept extending my H1B as I had a approved I-140 (priority date 2021), but the instability/fear of living in the US on visa was too much for me. Even after I get Canadian Citizenship, going back on H1B or TN is basically going back to the same situation. The permanent residence (and hopefully Citizenship later) is worth it’s weight in gold. Unless I am in a situation where I lose my job and cannot find a reasonably well-paying job here in Canada, I am really inclined to just stay put. I am not someone who derives meaning from work, so “career advancement” (which I can certainly get a lot more of in the US, particularly for my job profile) is not that big of an incentive. As long as I have a comfortable life in Toronto with a path to “early” retirement in my mid-50s, I am happy staying here.

Why do I feel the PR is worth it’s weight in gold?

  • Last year, my dad had a medical emergency and I had to travel immediately to India. I just booked my flights and went, and came back after 3 weeks, no hassle. If I was in the US, I probably would have been stuck in India due to visa appointment issues.
  • I don’t want to put myself, my spouse and particularly my child through pausing her school, friend circle and move to a different country just because I could get laid off and not find a job in 60 days (can easily happen, as I already went through that once).
  • I really want to live as a Citizen in a first-world country with a reasonably strong democracy. It’s an emotional thing for me. I see many countries around the world sliding deep into authoritarianism because the people living there didn’t care to fully participate in their project of self-government (applies to me as well, in my past), and now it is too hard and too risky to change it. For that reason, I feel really fortunate to potentially have the chance to participate in Canada. Say what you will about Canada, it’s still one of the top 10-15 countries in the world on most metrics.

One other thing I have top of mind is that, in the US, you have really big problems with a deep political divide, so it seems impossible to see them fixed in my lifetime (gun control, immigration, inequality). In Canada too we have big problems (housing, healthcare, immigration), but these are problems on which most people agree on and want similar solutions, so it becomes more of a management issue, than a political one. And given the reasonably strong democratic system, there is a lot of pressure on the politicians to fix it or be thrown out of office. That makes me hopeful that these issues will be resolved soon, or made better with time.

Having said all of this, I might end up moving back to the US, because my spouse simply has more emotional connection to the US, and has a different set of priorities than I do. She has sacrificed a lot for me. If there is a chance we get PR in the US, we will strongly consider it. But unless there is a really big financial downside of staying in Canada, I wouldn’t go back on H1B or TN visa.

W.r.t to going back to India, with my parents still living there and getting old, there is a strong possibility we will return and live there for a few years. But that will be a very hard decision - we prefer to bring up our daughter in Canada or the US.

In conclusion, I would just say if you don’t care much about living in the US on a visa AND are totally OK with packing and leaving for India (or Canada, if you are a citizen) when you have visa issues in US, then it totally makes sense to go back to the US. The career opportunities and money you can make in the US is obviously significantly higher for most professions that I am aware of.


We moved here in 2021 (after living in the US for close to 15 years) and will be applying for citizenship this year. Like any place, it has its pros and cons but personally for us, one cannot put a price on not having to worry about visas! Our parents are older so it has been such a huge relief to travel back home frequently and not have to worry about visa renewals/extensions etc. Our parents were able to get super visas as well so it’s nice to know they can come and go as they please.

We do miss life in the US a lot and have traveled back frequently to meet friends. We often reminisce and even think about moving back but the reality is that in our case it might be unlikely (we don’t work in the tech/IT industry). We love our current jobs (both work in US companies with Canadian offices), have great work life balance, make decent money, and work remotely. We do think we could make significantly more $$ in the US so ideally it would be nice to live in Canada and work for an employer that pays us as much as they do in the US :smiley:

The political climate in both US and Canada right now is uncertain but things seem much ‘calmer’ here than how volatile things are in the US. The housing crisis has affected us directly and we’re not sure where we will end up buying a place since we simply cannot justify paying $$$$ for a home/condo, at least in the biggest cities in Canada.

Overall our lives are more boring here in Ottawa compared to our lives in the NYC area, but we’re making the most of it. No plans to move back as of now.


Moved to Canada in 2021 and will be applying for citizenship this year once we hit the 3-year mark. Works for US company and has decent pay as I would get in the States. Opportunities wise, US is certainly better but it comes with the cost of 2 big things: gun problem and noninclusive folks. Canada has its own issues but provides stable immigration.

Did anyone here explore other nations: Dubai, Singapore, Australia and etc ? Would love to hear their opinion or the research work they have done

Moved in 2022 after 10 years in the US and could immediately feel the difference whenever we have had to travel internationally - even feels like the US side asks fewer questions when you are a Canadian PR traveling for leisure. Coming back after a long flight and just passing by an automated kiosk as a mere formality is definitely something that can only be felt vs put on paper. Also would echo others statements on being able to bring parents on supervisa and be able to travel back and forth without thinking about visa logistics.

Probably been stated multiple times on this forum but the trade off comes down to peace of mind (especially with the tech industry volatility over the past couple years).

Cost of living difference is real (USD vs CAD, salary ranges, cost of products / housing) and would I recommend moving without building up savings? Probably not. But given the persona of this forum, I feel like most who have had some of their initial career in the US and are making a move later for stability will find it easier to navigate financially. Given the flak that Vancouver generally receives on social media in terms of cost of living (totally warranted), it compensates (at least for me personally) with its beaches, mountains, walkability and skytrain connectivity (most cities I have lived in the US had zero public transit).

Something that I come across almost every day though that I wish wasn’t the case is when I talk to somebody and they ask, why did you move when people here are trying to move to the US or some variation of that question. So it could get a bit old trying to justify this decision especially when the mental toll on immigration paperwork / fragility cannot be explained easily to somebody who has never lived there.


OMG your last paragraph! I recall visiting Halifax for a conference and I was exhausted after the flight. The Uber driver tried to make small talk with me and I politely responded to his questions. At some point he mentioned he doesn’t make enough money and would like to move to NYC where his cousin makes 4x the money driving an Uber. At that point I casually mentioned that we lived there for close to two decades. I saw him look into his rearview mirror in shock and look at me in disbelief. I could see the wheels turning in his head and him thinking I was stupid :smiley: This has happened many many times since then and usually telling people that our household income increased significantly (true in our case) shuts them up :smiley:


Great point! I get this question asked often when I meet folks in Vancouver too. Somehow a lot of folks are trying to move to the US and are very surprised when I tell them that I moved here from the US. It’s like they’re unable to fathom why someone would do that.