Moving to Canada? Here’s a checklist to help you out

Checklist for immigrating to Canada, beside Canadian flag

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Congratulations! With your travel papers now on hand, you can now start preparing to move to Canada. We know that there is so much to do, so we’ll help you go through your preparations step-by-step.

  1. Gather your documents

    Gather original copies of official documents that you and your family members will need:

    • Birth certificate
    • Passport
    • Marriage or divorce certificate; death certificate for a deceased spouse
    • Adoption records for adopted children
    • Educational diplomas and certificates; transcripts that list the courses you took to obtain a degree or certificate
    • Official vaccination records (your child’s baby book if you still have it)
    • Medical records (prescriptions, test results, x-rays, allergies, etc.) and dental records
    • Driver’s licence and/or International Driving Permit
    • Driving experience letter or certification from your local transport authority (this may help lower the cost of auto insurance)
    • Detailed resume/Curriculum Vitae
    • Contact details of references and reference letters

    Apply for documents that you lack as early as now. Applying for them after you’ve landed in Canada can cost more and take more time. Your documents should be written in English or French (Canada’s official languages). Use a certified translation agency to have them translated. Get an affidavit signifying that the translation is accurate if possible. Photocopy, scan or get certified true copies of your important documents in case you lose the originals. You may also need extra copies for various applications. Keep records of your income and other business or financial papers. You will need these to file your taxes or apply for GST/HST benefits.

    Check if your job is regulated. Contact your professional association or regulating body in Canada to get the requirements for certification or licensing. You may be able start the process while in your home country. Read 5 steps to credentials assessment and licensing to know more about credentials assessment and licensing.

  2. Get your finances in order

    The minimum amount of settlement funds you need to bring depends on your immigration pathway and the size of your family. Also, know your country’s currency rules and the amount of money you can bring abroad.

    Upon landing in Canada, declare if you brought more than CAD$10,000. Fill out the cross-border currency or monetary instruments report form. You are allowed to bring more than CAD$10,000, you just need to declare it. The Canadian Border Service Agency (CSBA) can seize money over CAD$10,000 that is not declared. You may also need to pay a fine or face other penalties if you do not report it.

    There are various ways to bring your settlement funds to Canada. You can:

    • Bring cash. Have your funds converted to Canadian dollars before arriving.
    • Bring other instruments. Bring travellers cheques, bank drafts or money orders. You can also bring stocks, bonds, debentures, treasury bills and others.
    • Deposit at a Canadian bank. It may be easier to transfer your funds if your bank in your home country is a Canadian bank affiliate or partner. Check this list of Canadian Banks or ask about transferring funds to Canada from your current bank.
    • Open a Canadian bank account. It is possible to open a Canadian bank account while still in your home country. Find out about Scotiabank’s International Account or ICICI Bank’s Hello Account for Newcomers*.

    Learn more about banking in Canada from: Banking for newcomers to Canada (Canadian Bankers Association). Some offer products for newcomers to Canada with no service fees for a year, no-fee remittances, access to a credit card, and others.

  3. Research job opportunities

    Search for jobs at the Canada Job Bank. Use your National Occupational Classification (NOC). Find out standard wages, outlook, education and job requirements. Know if your profession is regulated. As mentioned, you will need to go through the qualification recognition process to be licensed or certified to practice your profession in Canada.

    Find out the demand for your profession and the skills and qualifications companies are looking for. Check Manitoba In-Demand Occupations or the Canada Job bank, Indeed and other online job boards. Try sending an application using a Canadian-style resume. Read 7 easy steps to a Canadian-style resume to learn how to make one. Start preparing to become job-ready by reading our Employment articles.

  4. Attend pre-departure seminars

    Have you been invited to attend pre-departure seminars like the Canadian Orientation Abroad (COA), Canadian Immigrant Integration Program (CIIP) or Active Engagement and Integration Project (AEIP)? These seminars will give you information on employment, housing, health, settlement services, and life in Canada. This can help you with preparation and planning and connect you to settlement supports in Canada. Also check if you need to attend a state-sponsored pre-departure seminar. It is required in some countries.

    Sign-up for Settlement Online Pre-Arrival (SOPA). It is a free program that prepares you for employment. Get one-on-one information sessions, free courses and employment counselling.

  5. Improve your English

    Start improving your writing, speaking, listening and reading skills. Job-ready English is a big factor in getting hired in Manitoba. You may want to learn French, especially if you are applying for federal/government jobs. It will be an advantage.

    Pre-arrivals are currently not eligible for English Online’s services but our self-study materials are open to everyone. Use our English Exercises, Canadian idioms and iEnglish resources to get started. Contact us as soon as you land in Manitoba. We’ll help you get more free learning options to help you get settled.

  6. Plan your first days/weeks upon arrival

    Learn about the province and area where you will settle. Read our Living in Manitoba topics to know what to expect when you arrive. Know the weather on the day of your arrival to plan the clothes that you will wear and bring (Environment Canada). Arrange for your accommodations if you don’t have relatives or friends here. Get the help of New Journey Housing for housing options or read information on their site. Try rental ads online but avoid rental scams.

  7. Make a list of what to bring

    Read Bringing goods to Canada to know what you can and can’t bring. Know your airline’s luggage limits to avoid excess baggage penalties. New immigrants are allowed to ship other goods to follow if there are other things you need. Prepare a list of goods by filling out BSF186, Personal Effects Accounting Documents form for faster processing at the border. Read Crossing the border: Documents you need for more tips.

    Are you bringing appliances, clothing, native food and others? You may do so as long as they do not add on too much to your baggage and are not restricted goods. However, you should know that Canada is one of the most multi-cultural places in the world. You will find ethnic stores here where native ingredients, products or implements are sold. Do your research or ask a friend before you stock up on things that are easily available.

  8. Have the right frame of mind

    Be optimistic about your move but be realistic as well. Have positive expectations, have a good plan of action and be ready to work hard. Immigrating is not easy but you have the skills and resources to succeed. Have a safe and happy trip!

* These services were mentioned as examples. English Online does not endorse these services and institutions nor profit from the mention.

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