Essential documents for newcomers

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There are several important documents that you should apply for immediately to receive basic services and to enable you to work in Manitoba. Here are the first ones you should get and how you can get them:

Health Card

You should register for health coverage as soon as you arrive. The 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 in Manitoba when proof of Permanent Resident Status is provided or on the date Permanent Resident Status is granted.

For those moving to Manitoba 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.
  • What to bring: 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).
  • 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. It is highly confidential because it is a key to your personal information; someone else can use it fraudulently. You should only share it when you know it is legally required. Download and read Your Social Insurance Number: A Shared Responsibility from Service Canada to know how to protect your SIN.

  • Where to apply: Service Canada office nearest you. You can search for it here: Find a Service Canada Office.
    If by mail (only if you live in an inaccessible area or 100 km or more from a Service Canada point of service or if you are unable to apply in person or have a representative apply for you), you should call 1-800-206-7218 (select option #3) to confirm eligibility and get instructions for your application.
    If you are applying from outside Canada, find out the requirements here.
  • What to bring: 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: This is usually mailed to you after a month if you supplied a Canadian mailing address in your visa application. If you did not, 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. 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 primarily to safeguard your finances and to give you access to services such as loans, mortgages, or investments. Most employers will also ask you for a bank account when you start. This is where they will forward your salary. Read the article Essential facts newcomers need to know about financial institutions in Manitoba for some tips in choosing your bank.

  • Where to go: You can visit several banks that are accessible to you (or go to their websites). You should try and compare services and benefits and choose one that fits you. There are many banks in Manitoba that offer savings and chequing accounts that are designed especially for newcomers.
  • What to bring: You usually need two pieces of identification such as a PR card, passport, SIN card, driver’s licence or an employee photo card. You can call the particular bank and ask directly, or visit their website.
  • Fee/Cost: Opening an account is free. However, service fees apply. These vary per 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 October, 2019. As this is only a guide, please verify with the proper agency depending on the document that you need before applying as requirements, processing times and fees may change.

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