Editors' pick: Originally published Nov. 14.
Judging by the surge in traffic that crashed Canada's immigration website Tuesday night, plenty of Americans are thinking of heading north after Donald Trump's shocking presidential election win.
But take heed: Moving to Canada means a lot more than simply driving across the border. It is costly, time-consuming and could have serious implications for finances and portfolios, so those who are serious should consult a financial adviser.
The fastest way to get a foot in the door is to get a job offer from a Canadian employer or be accepted into a Canadian university. Then that allows a person to apply for a temporary work or study permit.
But those who want permanent-resident status similar to a U.S. green card are in for a wait. To get a sense of why, let's take a look at next year, when the Canadian government expects to grant permanent residency to some 300,000 new arrivals.
Of that total, 84,000 will be Canadians' spouses and other family members. Yes, marrying a Canadian is one option, but officials are on the lookout for fraudulent match-ups.
Another 172,500 will be skilled workers and their families. The rest will be refugees, and no, Trump-wary Americans don't qualify.
But those with a family connection can pretty much forget about next year.
Application-processing times for a spouse living in the U.S. stand at 14 months. Other relatives could wait as long as 33 months, a huge chunk of Trump's first term.
On the business front, professionals in fields such as financial services, healthcare or a skilled trade could try to gain permanent residency through Canada's Express Entry program.
But don't be fooled by the name.