5 Important Things to Do When You Move to Canada

It finally happened. The moment you’ve been waiting for. A CanadianVisa agent called you to break the good news: your application to immigrate to Canada was approved! But wait, what happens next?

The long wait between your Canadian immigration application and receiving feedback can be put to good use. This is the perfect opportunity to plan how you’ll be spending your first week in Canada, which is ultimately your most important week because you’ll be setting up your new life in the Great North.

It’s safe to say that lots of admin will be involved when you arrive in Canada. Luckily, getting a headstart on all your preparations will make the move easier and faster when the time comes. In this blog, we discuss 5 important things to add to your ‘moving to Canada’ checklist.

1. Be Admitted as a Permanent Resident

Canadian Flag | Permanent Residency in Canada

When you arrive at a Canadian port of entry, such as Toronto Pearson International Airport, Montréal-Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport, Vancouver International Airport, or Halifax Stanfield International Airport, you can meet with an officer of Canada’s Borders Service Agency (CBSA) to be admitted to Canada as a permanent resident. Alternatively, you can schedule an appointment at an IRCC office near where you live in Canada. Either way, you’ll need to have the following documents present:

  • Valid Passport;
  • Confirmation of Permanent Residence (COPR) document and your Permanent Resident Visa (if you received one); and
  • Bank statement to serve as proof that you have the funds to support yourself and your family after you arrive in Canada.

The officer will confirm your mailing address to which your Permanent Resident Card will be sent. Even if you don’t receive your PR card within the first week, you can use your validated Confirmation of Permanent Residence (COPR) document as an alternative to access any services in Canada, like applying for a bank account. For this reason, getting your PR status sorted is one of the most important things to do during your first week in Canada.

2. Open a Bank Account

Another important thing to check-off on your list when you move to Canada is opening a bank account to avoid costly withdrawal charges and international conversion rates. It’s fairly simple to open a personal bank account because you don’t need to have a job, permanent address, or any money to put in the account. All you need is a valid passport and your validated Confirmation of Permanent Residence (COPR) document or Permanent Resident Card.

The hardest part is deciding which Canadian bank you want to bank with. There are five major banks in Canada with varying fees and special packages for newcomers which include, among other benefits, no monthly fees and unlimited transactions for the first year.

  • Royal Bank of Canada;
  • Toronto Dominion Bank;
  • Scotiabank;
  • Bank of Montreal and;
  • Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce.

Whether you want to open a business or plan to study when you move to Canada, you’ll be able to apply for business and student loans from banks if you’re a Canadian permanent resident. We recommend researching the above-mentioned banks to discover benefits packages that best suit your immediate goals as a newcomer to Canada.

3. Find Accommodation

Woman looking at a blue door house in Canada, finding accommodation in Canada

Some newcomers to Canada are lucky enough to have family already living in the country, so temporary accommodation shouldn’t be a problem for the first few weeks until you get settled. However, if you don’t have any family or friends with an extra room or welcoming couch, you should book temporary accommodation before you arrive and preferably in or near a city where you’ll be close to important services like banks and public transportation.

What you can roughly expect to pay for cheap temporary accommodation in the most expensive city in Canada for one night. 

Accommodation in Vancouver
Name and Type of AccommodationOne Night Stay for 2 Adults
St. Clair Hotel - Hostel$53
The English Bay Inn - Bed & Breakfast$324,71
Airbnb Vancouver$60 - $200

Remember to ask for accommodation references from your previous landlords before you move to Canada. When it comes to searching for a place to rent or to buy in Canada, it’ll serve as proof of good tenancy.

4. Get a SIN Number

The best thing about being a permanent resident of Canada is enjoying all of the wonderful benefits you’ve heard so much about, like the free public healthcare and schools. Of course, there are the not so fun parts like paying your taxes too. But before you can access any of these benefits, government programs or even legally work in Canada you need to get a Canadian Social Insurance Number (SIN).

You can apply for a Canadian SIN in-person, online, or by mail and it’s free of charge. Online applications were recently introduced as a response to the temporary closure of Service Canada offices due to COVID-19.

5.Set-Up Your Phone

Woman with a phone, mobile phone, BYOP in Canada

What’s the first thing you do after a long flight? Usually, you immediately check your messages, or you may need to call a cab or let a family member know you have safely arrived. For this reason, setting-up your mobile phone for Canadian compatibility purposes is very important. Not only will it save you money but you won’t have to rely solely on wifi hotspots.

It’s also important to know that you won’t be able to apply for a new cell phone contract right away because you’ll first have to get a Canadian credit check, and often you need a financial history in Canada to complete a credit check. That leaves you with two other options: 1) Purchase a new phone in Canada, or 2) Get a Bring Your Own Plan (BYOP).

A new phone in Canada can range anywhere from $100 for an inexpensive option without internet capabilities or you can expect to pay up to $1,000 for the latest model. You can either save up for a new phone before you move to Canada or you can keep your current mobile phone from your home country and get a BYOP plan which is cheaper and doesn't require a contract. However, before you can get a BYOP your current phone must be unlocked in order for it to be brought to a different carrier.

What We Do at CanadianVisa

If you haven’t already applied to move to Canada, but would like to, we can help. We handle the entire visa eligibility evaluation and application process on our clients’ behalf.

With over 80 different programs and visas available, you will receive expert advice on which program is best for your personal needs. Our team of Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultants (RCIC) are registered with the ICCRC and are legally permitted to assist you by evaluating your eligibility, reviewing all documentation and submitting it to the Canadian government on your behalf.

All you have to do is complete our application form to receive your eligibility assessment today. It's just that simple.