If you and your partner have married in Canada and are seriously contemplating moving to central Florida or are taking a job in the Orlando area and are relocating to the States, you’ll have to get a few things in order. First and foremost, the City of Orlando does have a Domestic Partnership registry. However, there are restrictions, such as being at least 18 years of age. That said, it’s one of the things you and your partner should do when you move.
There is a vibrant LGBT community in the city of Orlando and some great places to hang-out. Besides the theme parks, there are more than a few same-sex friendly establishments, and of course, there’s a Pride organization in the area.
Relocating from Canada to Orlando
Prior to the move to Florida, you’ll also have to think about a few other things, such as deciding what to do with your RRSP, getting a Green Card or becoming a US citizen, calculating your departure tax, getting your legal affairs in order, and purchasing a home. Let’s take a look at each one so you and your partner know what to expect.
Some of these might not apply to your or your partner, but you’ll have to determine which ones. Of course, the first will apply to you and your partner simply because of the fact you’re both relocating.
Passports, Green Cards, and Naturalization
While your Canadian passport allow you to stay in the States for up to six months at a time, it won’t allow you to stay permanently. To do that, you’ll need to get a Green Card or become a United States citizen, through a process called naturalization. You’ll be eligible for a Green Card if you are employed with a US firm or have an immediate relative living in the U.S. After getting your Green Card, live in the States for five years and you become a naturalized citizen.
You don’t have to renounce your Canadian citizenship, and you can also apply for dual citizenship; speak with an immigration attorney for details.
Canadian RRSP Account and Departure Taxes
You can collapse your RRSP, but it’s wise to wait until you’ve relocated. Generally speaking, you’ll have more tax advantages if you wait to collapse your RRSP after you move. The departure tax really depends on your income, and it’s a very good idea to speak with an attorney or an accountant to make sure you do things right. In addition, having a cross border financial plan drafted for you will be a huge help.
Buying a Home in Orlando
At least a few weeks prior to your move to Orlando, speak with a licensed real estate agent who specializes in relocation and knows about the local LGBT community. You’ll also want to get in touch with a mortgage broker, and begin looking for a place to buy. The good news is, you’ll get more for your money in Florida than you would practically anywhere in the Great White North.
What’s more, there is no income tax in the state and property taxes are lower than in Canada. Last but certainly not least is utility costs and the cost of living at large is less expensive.
Welcome to Florida and good luck!