Americans are Googling "how to move to Canada" as they face up to the potential prospect of another four years of Donald Trump.
Trump hasn't won the election (despite his claims to the contrary): it's still too early to tell. But even the fact that the race is so close is painful to some Democrats and moving to Canada is starting to look like a pretty enticing option.
Spikes in this particular Google search are nothing new. There was an uptick after the first presidential debate this year and another after the election results in 2016. In fact, the Canadian government's immigration website crashed when Trump won the presidency, although few actually followed through on the move.
People are wistfully sharing their fantasies of flocking up north once more...
Google searches are spiking for "move to Canada". https://t.co/4SxOkGLAl3— Jacy Reese Anthis (@Jacy Reese Anthis) 1604461737
Who wants to move to Canada with me? 😂— Pv Truest (@Pv Truest) 1604461662
Like if you’d rather move to Canada— Eli ᡕᠵ᠊ᡃ່࡚ࠢ࠘ ⸝່ࠡࠣ᠊߯᠆ࠣ࠘ᡁࠣ࠘᠊᠊ࠢ࠘𐡏~♡ (@Eli ᡕᠵ᠊ᡃ່࡚ࠢ࠘ ⸝່ࠡࠣ᠊߯᠆ࠣ࠘ᡁࠣ࠘᠊᠊ࠢ࠘𐡏~♡) 1604413909
But if you're really serious about swapping Trump for Trudeau, how do you go about it?
The bad news for those wishing to flee North America is that the US–Canada border is currently closed because of the coronavirus pandemic. So moving would have to be part of a long term plan, not a spur-of-the-moment kind of thing.
If your wanderlust doesn't diminish, though, you can quite easily pick up a visitor visa during precedented times. This would mean you could stay in the country without working or studying for up to six months. Beyond that, you can request a visitor record, which may entitle you to hang around for longer – but you'll be given a date on which you have to leave.
To really commit to moving to Canada you'll need to apply for permanent resident status. If granted, you can work or study in the country and you'll be able to access healthcare, but you won't be able to vote. Some helpful factors for this process include being a skilled worker, having Canadian relatives or planning to start a new business.
Becoming a Canadian citizen is actually quite a lengthy and difficult process. You must be at least 18 years old, speak English or French, provide income tax filing and pass a test on Canadian history and values. And you have to have lived there for at least five years, by which time the White House will be under a new administration.
It's probably for the best, then, that most Americans's dreams of fleeing to Canada because of election outcomes stay just that: a wistful, if understandable, pipe dream.