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Cost of moving: Best cities in Canada and immigration fees

Americans have a lot to consider when thinking about moving to Canada.

Americans have a lot to consider when thinking about moving to Canada.

The allure of Canada has driven many an American to make the move across the border - its wilderness is vast, its people are friendly and its healthcare is free. But where are the best places to live in Canada, and what do those of us from the United States need to consider when packing up and moving to our neighbor to the north?

For three years in a row, Canada's capital city, Ottawa, has topped MoneySense magazine's list of the best places to live. Though other Canadian metropolises offer bigger bang for the buck in some areas, such as nightlife or good weather, Ottawa is a more complete package. Not only is it one of the most walkable cities on the list, Ottawans enjoy better access to healthcare and a lower crime rate than many of their neighbors, according to MoneySense. The median household income is higher than the national average, as well.

Americans might also consider some of the other Canadian cities that made it into the top five. Burlington, Ontario, has the second best weather in the country, but isn't as walkable as top seed Ottawa. Kingston, Ontario, is the picturesque home of Queen's University, but housing prices might be out of reach for some. Up-and-coming Halifax, Nova Scotia, moved from No. 21 to No. 4 on the MoneySense list, featuring affordable homes and good access to healthcare, while Regina, Saskatchewan, jumped up 18 spots to land at No. 5, due largely to low unemployment and skyrocketing population growth.

Like most countries, Canada has a few requirements for its would-be immigrants. First and foremost, you or someone in your family will need a job. Five of the six categories under which people can apply to emigrate to Canada involve gainful employment, whether it's as a skilled worker or an entrepreneur looking to start a new business. Those who have studied in Canada, or worked there on a temporary basis, can also apply to stay in the country.

In addition to the cost of hiring a moving company, Americans moving to Canada will have to pay certain application fees. First, there is a processing fee for you and your dependents that must be paid while applying. It will not be refunded if your application is denied, according to Citizenship and Immigration Canada. Once approved, there is a Right of Permanent Resident fee. Immigrants must also secure a medical examination, police background check and language test, all of which carry their own costs.