Essential documents for newcomers

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There are several important documents that you should acquire to receive basic services and to enable you to work in Manitoba:

Health Card

Health card application notice

Your Manitoba Health card allows you to see a doctor, get a prescription, visit a hospital emergency room or use most other health services. Permanent residents are eligible for coverage on their date of arrival when proof of Permanent Resident Status is provided or on the date Permanent Resident Status is granted.

For those coming from another province or territory, coverage will begin on the first day of the third month after your arrival in Manitoba. Based on the Canada Health Act, residents moving from one province/territory to another will be covered by their home province/territory during the waiting period.

  • Where to apply: Manitoba Health, 300 Carlton St., Winnipeg MB. (see notice above)
  • What you’ll need:
    • Completed Manitoba Health Registration Form (you can also get the form from the City of Winnipeg, 510 Main St., Winnipeg, MB, or for rural areas, contact your city or municipal office toll free 1-800-392-1207 or TTY/TTD: 711 or 1-800-855-0511).
    • Permanent Resident Confirmation card (copy of both sides) or your Record of Landing (IMM 1000).
    • Previous province’s/territory’s health card (if applicable).
    • Supporting documents (as of 2019):
    • Health Card application list of supporting docs
      (If you have just arrived and need a letter as proof of physical address/physical residency, Immigrant Centre Manitoba can help you. Go to their Language Bank Services for more information).

  • Fee/Cost: No fee.
  • For more info: Tel. no.: 204-786- 7101; Manitoba Health, Healthy Living and Seniors


You need a Social Insurance Number to work in Canada and to receive benefits and services from government programs. Your SIN is highly confidential. It is a key to your personal information so you should share it only when you know it is legally required. Read Your Social Insurance Number: A Shared Responsibility from Service Canada to know how to protect your SIN.

  • Where to apply: In-person application at Service Canada is currently suspended until further notice. You may apply online or by mail.
  • What you’ll need: One of the following original (not photocopies) primary proof-of-identity documents:
    Permanent Resident Card (issued by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada or IRCC); or
    Confirmation of Permanent Residence (issued by IRCC). You will need a supporting proof-of-identity document if the name on your primary proof of identity document is different from the name you currently use. This can be a certificate of marriage, marriage statement, court order document, an adoption order, notarial certificate, and others. If you are applying for your child or are a representative for someone else, go to this link for the requirements.
  • Fee/Cost: No fee.
  • For more info: Service Canada; or call 1-800-206-7218; TTY 1-800-926-9105
    Calling from outside Canada: 506-548-7961 (long distance charges apply).

Permanent Resident Card

Your PR card is official proof that you are a permanent resident of Canada. It is a wallet-sized plastic card that you are required to show if you leave and enter Canada from another country.

  • Where to go: If you supplied a Canadian mailing address in your visa application, this will be mailed to you. If you did not provide an address, you can provide it online within 180 days upon landing.
  • If you need to apply for a PR card, you can do it online. Apply if you have gone beyond the 180-day deadline, lost your PR card, if it has expired, or if you have legally changed your name or you are changing the gender designation on your card. You will need to follow instructions and submit documents (depending on your reason for applying). Follow the detailed instructions on this page: Applying for a Permanent Resident Card
  • Fee/Cost: $50.
  • For more info: IRCC

Bank account

You need to open a bank account to safeguard your finances and to have access to services such as loans, mortgages, or investments. Employers will also ask for your bank account details to forward your salary. Read the article Essential facts newcomers need to know about financial institutions in Manitoba to get some tips to help you choose a bank (or a credit union).

  • Where to go: Check bank websites or call for an appointment. Compare services and benefits and choose the one that best fits your needs. Take advantage of special promotions for newcomers. Ask about specially designed newcomer accounts and packages.
  • What to bring: You will need two pieces of identification such as a PR card, passport, SIN card, driver’s licence or an employee photo card. However, requirements can vary per bank. Call the bank and ask directly, or visit their website.
  • Fee/Cost: Opening an account is free. However, service fees apply. It depends on the bank and type of account you have.
  • For more info: Banking for newcomers; Financial Consumer Agency of Canada

Driver’s Licence

You may drive in Manitoba with a valid driver’s licence from another country for up to three months from your date of entry to Canada. After this, you will need a Manitoba Driver’s Licence. You have to be at least 16 years old, pass a knowledge test, and then a road test (unless you come from a reciprocal country).

Article updated as of June, 2020. As this is only a guide, please verify with the proper agency (depending on the document that you need) before applying. Requirements, processing times and fees may change.

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