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Canada truly is one of the best countries in the world to live in. From political freedom to great job opportunities, there are tons of reasons that people immigrate to this amazing country every year.

Can you get a credit card in Canada if you don’t have a job? Click here to find out.

In fact, approximately 250,000 immigrants obtain their permanent residency in Canada each year, on average. If you’re moving to Canada, there is plenty for you to do to acquaint yourself with this new country and settle down. In order to take advantage of the many benefits that Canada has to offer and obtain a job on new soil, there are specific documents you’ll require and services to tap into to get your life started as a Canadian resident.

Before you even leave your country and touch down on Canadian soil, there are a few key pieces of paperwork that you’ll need.

If you’re planning to buy a home, make sure to learn about the 15% foreign home buyers tax.

Documents Required Before Arriving in Canada

It’s important to gather up certain items and bring them with you to Canada when you move here. It’s also essential to make sure that these documents are up-to-date. Some of these documents can take a while to obtain or get organized, so it’s important to start gathering them well in advance of moving. When making your way into Canada, it’s extremely helpful if you bring the following with you:

  • Birth certificate
  • Passport or immigration documents
  • Marriage certificate
  • Current record of vaccinations
  • Medical and dental records
  • Prescription medication (if applicable)
  • Driver’s license or “no claims” letter from previous insurers as proof of driving your history
  • Travel insurance
  • Resume
  • Visa or work permit
  • Bank statements for proof of funds
  • Accommodation references from previous landlords
  • References from previous employer(s)
  • Relevant tax forms
  • Address of where you’re staying, whether temporary or permanent

It will be much easier for you to have these documents with you rather than scrambling to get them sent from your originating country. These documents will be necessary when it comes time to register for specific services, including the following:

  • Bank accounts
  • Health insurance
  • Apartment lease
  • School registration
  • Driver’s license

While these documents might not be required right away, you will certainly need them at some point in the near future.

It’s important to stay abreast of the latest developments in Canadian immigration to make sure you have everything you need to make your transition to this country seamless and successful. Changes can happen at any time, so it’s crucial that you stay up-to-date, as failure to do so may negatively impact your move.

You might also want to bring some Canadian currency with you so you don’t have to run around searching for a bank machine. Just a few dollars will help you buy a drink or some food, pay for a cab, or make a phone call as soon as you land.

Important Documents and Services to Apply For Upon Arrival to Canada

Once you finally make it to Canada, there are some documents and services that you will be required to apply for right away, including the following:

Provincial Identity – If you are not yet considered a permanent resident of Canada, you may want to obtain a Provincial ID which will serve as your proof of identity. To obtain one, locate a provincial service centre in your area by visiting your province’s official website.

Permanent Residence (PR) Card – If you’re already a permanent resident of Canada, be sure to get a PR card (along with any family members who have moved with you), which will serve as proof of your status in Canada.

Social Insurance Number (SIN) – In order to work in Canada and receive the many benefits that Canadian residents are eligible for, you must obtain a SIN from your local Service Canada office. Your SIN is a confidential 9-digit number that is required to work in Canada.

You should be able to get your SIN the day that you apply for it if doing so in person. You will need to bring your study or work permit with you to the Service Canada office when applying.

Bank account – You’ll be able to open up a bank account once you’ve obtained a SIN. Opening up a bank account is important to help you manage your credit card payments and bills, as well as avoiding having to pay exorbitant fees associated with withdrawing and wiring money from your account overseas.

Read this to learn how you can get a bank account in Canada for cheap or free.  

Each bank or credit union in Canada offers its own set of services and fees associated with each of their accounts. The bank or credit union you choose to work with should depend on your specific needs and goals.

Health insurance – It’s crucial to apply for provincial health insurance as soon as possible in order to get medical coverage in case you require it. However, you may have to wait a little while after registering before you’re able to use your Canadian health benefits. As such, it’s important to have private health insurance to cover the time between registering and acquiring provincial health benefits.

Other Things to Do When Arriving in Canada

In addition to the services mentioned above, there are other things you may want to do shortly after arriving in Canada that can make your life much easier:

Get an apartment – For starters, you may want to start looking for an apartment to rent, even if you plan on staying with family or friends temporarily. Ideally, you should have references from previous landlords with you from your original country (as mentioned above). If you already have some local references, you’ll make things even easier for yourself.

If you’re about to rent an apartment, click here to know why your landlord may check your credit.  

Get a cell phone – To help secure an apartment, you may want to have a cell phone number to act as your point of contact for your landlord, as well as any potential employers that you may be applying with. The sooner you get a local cell phone, the more you’ll avoid incredibly expensive roaming charges from your cell phone service provider from back home.

Final Thoughts

Moving to a new country can be a daunting and overwhelming process, but you can make things more seamless by being well-prepared for the transition. Start planning far in advance of your move, get all necessary documents in place, and get in touch with services or people who can help make the move as smooth as possible for you.

Lisa Rennie avatar on Loans Canada
Lisa Rennie

Lisa has been working as a personal finance writer for more than a decade, creating unique content that helps to educate Canadian consumers in the realms of real estate, mortgages, investing and financial health. For years, she held her real estate license in Toronto, Ontario before giving it up to pursue writing within this realm and related niches. Lisa is very serious about smart money management and helping others do the same.

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