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What You Need To Do Before Moving To Canada

Written by CNN Team

There are a number of things to get ready before moving to Canada. So, what do you need to prepare? 

A ton of work goes into moving to a new country. Between getting your documents organized, your finances in order and figuring out what to expect, leaving your home country behind can be a stressful endeavor. As you get ready to migrate to Canada, what do you need to consider?

Prepare Your Documents

Immigration Canada requires many essential documents. This includes your:

  • Passport
  • Canadian Immigrant Visa or Permanent Residence confirmation
  • List of goods you are bringing
  • List of goods that are arriving at a later date
  • Canadian mailing address, so you can apply for your Permanent Resident Card
  • Family documents

Examples of family documents include birth certificates, divorce papers, marriage certificates, and medical reports. In addition, bring all educational documents such as high school, college, and university diplomas and certificates with you. Additionally, when you arrive in Canada, you will need to apply for your SIN number. All of this is essential if you are planning to study or work in Canada. 

If you wish to drive, be aware that the driver’s license you hold may not be valid in Canada. Every province and territory awards their own licenses and has their own rules and testing procedures. Therefore, some countries have agreements with the provinces regarding driver’s licenses, but to know if yours applies in Canada, you will have to research it. Also, you will be required to bring all of the correct driving documents before arriving in Canada. 

Most importantly, all of these documents must be translated into English or French and a lawyer is required to verify them.

Get Your Finances in Order

Firstly, before moving to Canada, there are financial matters to settle. For example, you should set up a Canadian bank account so that it is available to you as soon as you arrive. This also makes wire transfers and international money orders possible. 

Secondly, when you arrive in Canada, you will be required to provide proof of funds. Basically, you have to prove that you have enough money to support yourself and your family for the first 6 to 12 months. Specifically, if you are immigrating to Canada as a self-employed person or skilled worker. 

Thirdly, determine the cost of living in Canada. This can be evaluated based on where you plan to settle in Canada because some areas are more expensive than others. Factor in household expenses, taxes, and rent. 

Lastly, research any limitations your home country might set on how much money you are able to take with you to a new country. Check with your financial advisor, banker, and/or lawyer for this information. 

Health Care

What kind of health-care coverage will you receive when you arrive? Will you be covered immediately or do you have to wait? Well, every province operates differently, so this answer will be dependent on where you end up. However, you may wish to purchase private medical insurance before you arrive so you and your family are protected right away. Just in case. 


Canada may be very different from your home country. Therefore, it is important to think about how this new place operates so you can figure out how you fit into it. 

Consider Canada’s weather. Majority of Canada offers its citizens hot summers and snowy winters with spring and fall seasons in between. So you can have both sun and snow. Additionally, when the snow falls, it can drop to freezing temperatures, which you should know about ahead of time. However, these various landscapes offer so much beauty and nature that make up for the cold.

Next, book a place to stay before you arrive. At least for the first few days while you look for a more permanent location. Finding accommodations can be difficult and pricey. Depending on where you choose to live in Canada can affect your rent prices and available properties. Larger cities such as Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver can offer people more options in terms of jobs and entertainment, but they can also cost a fortune. 

Moreover, there are two official languages of Canada: English and French. Depending on where you plan to immigrate to in Canada can impact which language you will be using more often.

The country is known for multiculturalism. In fact, there are approximately 200 nationalities across Canada and over 250 ethnic origins. 

Also, it is important to note that tipping in the service and hospitality sectors are part of the Canadian culture. In fact, many of these workers rely on tips because they do not always earn a guaranteed livable wage with benefits. Most of the time, these workers are required to share a portion of their tips with others such as the kitchen staff, and are not allowed to take home all of their earned tips as a result.


There is a lot to consider when you wish to migrate to Canada. Do your research well beforehand so you are prepared for the change. For more details, visit the Government of Canada website that contains services and information for newcomers.

*Opinions expressed are those of the author, and not necessarily those of Student Life Network or their partners.