Tying Up Loose Ends: 5 Things to Do Before You Immigrate to Canada

Are you immigrating to Canada? Starting a new life abroad is exciting especially if that country is Canada where you can look forward to living in a beautiful environment with equally friendly and genuinely nice people, eh.

However, the admin involved in moving your life abroad can feel overwhelming. There’s just so much to do! We suggest you start a checklist to help you keep track of everything, including making copies of documents like marriage and birth certificates, getting your pets vaccinated, opening a new bank account, and selling off the items you don't need. Oh, and remember to save save save!

Here are 5 important things to add to your checklist before you immigrate to Canada.

1. Taking Your Pet With You

Cat in pet carrier at airport ready to immigrate to Canada

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) handles all international pet travel to Canada. According to the CFIA, only dogs, cats, and ferrets qualify as pets. But don’t worry, you can still bring Thumper the Rabbit or Polly the Parrot with you to Canada if you get an import permit.

If you plan to bring your dog, cat, or ferret with you when you immigrate to Canada you may have to follow certain guidelines to ensure the comfort; and prove the health of your furbaby.

A few things to do before traveling to Canada with your cat or dog are:

  • Contact your airline to ask about their specific rules regarding pet travel.
  • Vaccinate your pet 21 days before your flight (vaccination document must be in English or French).
  • A microchip is not necessary unless the dog or cat is imported under a commercial category (breeding purposes, scientific research).
  • Rent or purchase a pet carrier that’s big enough for your pet to stand, lie down and turn around.
  • No pet food is allowed to be brought into Canada unless bought in the USA.

2. Unlock Your Phone

Using your phone in a new country can be expensive or even impossible unless you have WIFI. Swapping your SIM card won’t be an easy solution either since many mobile carriers lock the handsets they sell to their own network. That means that if you try to put a Canadian carrier’s SIM card in your phone, it will be rejected.

If you're not planning to buy a new cell phone or get a new contract as soon as you immigrate to Canada then the best choice may be to get your cell phone unlocked for a small fee to be able to use a Canadian sim card right away. Knowing which mobile provider to choose when you arrive in Canada will save you plenty of hassle. The three biggest providers in Canada are Rogers, Telus, and Bell. They offer unlimited data plans, family plans, and coverage to most of Canada, including rural areas.

3. Sell or Move your Household Items?

Family moving into a new home in Canada

It’s never easy to let go of the items you’ve collected over the years to create a home but depending on your financials, it may be a better choice to sell your household items and start fresh. In 2020, it can cost approximately $5,500 to rent a 20ft container to move your household items to Canada, which puts quite a dent in your pocket. It’s also important to take into consideration the size of your furniture versus the size of your new home. Many apartments in Canada may be a great deal smaller than what you’re used to and there might not be enough space for your oak dining room set.

For these reasons, many people choose to sell their household contents instead and use that money to start fresh by purchasing new or second-hand furniture and other essential items. Luckily there are many garage sales in Canada where you’ll be able to pick-up second-hand goods that are still in great condition to get you started. Another option is to rent or buy a furnished apartment at first and slowly start rebuilding a new home. However, you should start listing the items you want to sell online at least 2 months before you immigrate to Canada to ensure everything gets sold (from least essential to most essential) in time.

4. Getting Your Driver’s License

Planning to drive when you’re in Canada? You may need to get an International Driving Permit (IDP) before you move (and a new driver's license when you do), depending on which country you live in. If you’re immigrating to Canada from Austria, Australia, France, Germany, Guernsey, Isle of Man, Jersey, Ireland, Japan, Netherlands, New Zealand, South Korea, Switzerland, Taiwan, Belgium, UK, and the USA, you will be able to exchange your existing license for a Canadian driving license without a knowledge or road test. However, you’ll need to prove that you have more than two years of driving experience with important documents that you may have to get before immigrating to Canada.

The documents you’ll need are your current driver's license (if it’s your first license and the original issue date is shown) otherwise you must have an original driver's abstract issued by the licensing authority of your country or a letter of experience from the licensing authority that issued your first license.

5. Set Up a Bank Account

Beautiful woman paying on mobile with her credit card

You can apply to open a bank account in Canada before you move. This will allow you to swipe your card and draw money without exorbitant processing costs as soon as you arrive at a Canadian airport. Banks like Scotiabank can assist you in your own language from your home country to open an account and transfer money. What’s more, you can apply for credit as a newcomer too with some of the available services. However, acceptable identification is mandatory to open a Canadian bank account, and depending on your circumstances, one or more of the following documents are needed:

  • A Certificate of Canadian Citizenship
  • A Permanent Resident card or Confirmation of Permanent Residence (COPR) document
  • A Social Insurance Number card issued by the Government of Canada
  • A provincial health insurance card, as permitted to be used for identification purposes under provincial law
  • Work or study permit

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We take care of the fine print while you choose your dream destination in Canada for you and your loved ones. All you have to do is complete our application form to receive your eligibility assessment today. It's just that simple.