This page explains the steps for preparations after getting PR in Canada and also things to do after Landing in Canada for easy settlement.
Preparation for Moving to Canada After Getting PR
Checklist of things to do and bring to Canada with you:
- Health Insurance
- Driving Licence
- Vehicle Insurance
- Household Goods
- Living Arrangements
- Job Search
After getting your PR Visa you will have some time before you move to Canada. During this time you must make some preparations, which will be helpful to you after arrival in Canada.
Given below are some general preparations that will be helpful in moving to and settling in Canada. Some of the requirements differ from province to province so best is to check the relevant information from the province where you will be going.
Bringing Funds to Canada
You will need to bring to Canada, at least the amount of funds that are fixed by the Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada according to the number of your family members accompanying you. Check for the latest amount here. You may bring any amount higher than that amount.
You can bring these funds in any form that can be verified by the immigration officer when you enter Canada. The main mode is to carry a Demand Draft or traveller’s cheques.
Normally you won’t be having a bank account in Canada before arrival so you cannot wire transfer the money. However, in case you somehow have a bank account in Canada carry proof of transfer of funds.
The money in your debit or forex card can not be verified by the Immigration Authorities. Also you may not be able to transfer that amount into your Canadian Bank Account.
Bring with you the following documents. make sure to get these translated to English or French in case they are in any other language:
- Birth Certificates
- Marriage Certificate
- Divorce/death certificate of spouse – if applicable
- Adoption Records – if applicable
- All educational credentials including transcripts and degrees/diplomas
- Vaccination records
- Medical Records
Canada has a Healthcare system which is publicly funded through health insurance and you don’t need to pay for most of the services. But in many provinces there is a waiting period for new Immigrants or Residents to be eligible for the health insurance coverage.
Normally it is a three month waiting period after landing or making residence in a Province. You must find about the waiting period in the province you are going to settle in. You must get a health insurance for the interim period along with your travel tickets, as buying private health insurance in Canada can be quite expensive.
You can drive for 60-90 days on your driving licence from your home country when you reach Canada. This period varies from Province to Province. Within this period you will have to get the Driving Licence from the province you settled in. You should carry your Valid Driving Licence from your home country and a driving abstract from the licensing authority of your country.
You may also get an International Driving Licence/International Driver’s Permit issued by the licensing authority from where you got your licence in your home country. The International Driver’s licence is valid for 1 year but as a permanent resident in Canada, the local law may limit the use of your International Driving Licence/Permit.
Get the history of your vehicle insurance in your name for up to last 8 years from your insurance company. This will help you in getting a discount on your vehicle insurance. Vehicle Insurance in Canada is relatively expensive so a discount will help you a lot in initial days of settlement.
Clothing for Canada
Canada in general has a cold weather. Apart from greater Vancouver and parts of Vancouver Island, whole of Canada experiences harsh winters. In most of cities in Canada the temperatures may drop to below -30 degrees with wind chill.
You must carry warm clothes including thermals, jackets, wind-cheaters, waterproof shoes etc. However, if you already don’t own these things, you may buy these after arriving in Canada where you will get more appropriate solutions.
Depending on exactly where you will be going to in Canada, you may carry some utensils specific to your cooking, bedding, blankets and your local spices.
You can buy most of the things after arriving in Canada, so carry only what you already have at home and what would be useful in your initial days of settlement.
As a new a Immigrant you can bring in as much of your household items as you want without any custom duties. However, you will have to pay for the shipping, which might be more than the cost of goods and most things may not be fit for use in Canada. Remember you have to pay for getting rid of scrap in Canada.
For latest rules about what you can bring with you without paying custom duties when you move for the first time, check here.
Living Arrangements in Canada
Most immigrants have some family or friends in Canada to live with for initial days. If you don’t have one or simply want to be independent from day one, then you must make arrangements before you leave for Canada.
If you do not have a job then you might need to move away from your initial location. In which case it is better not to sign a long term lease.
Keep in mind that most owners are looking for a long-term lease of minimum 1 year. However, there are certain owners who cater to immigrants and offer month-to-month furnished apartments and basement suites. If you are single or moving alone, there are options of room or home sharing too.
You can easily find such places online.
You should have been looking for a job since your Invitation to Apply. If not, you must begin your job search before leaving for Canada. Create a profile on jobbank.gc.ca and other employment websites mentioning your arrival date and ability to join as a Permanent Resident.
In case you are from one of the regulated occupations and you have need to upgrade your studies or you simply want to change your career path, you must enrol in the course you want to pursue and make your travel plans according to the commencement of your course.
Collect as much information as you can on the above topics and other topics specific to your situation. You must carry all documents and certificates that you may need in Canada. It becomes very difficult to get many of thee once you have left the country.
Things to do After Arrival in Canada
Checklist for things to do after landing in Canada:
- Permanent Resident Card – PR Card
- Social Insurance Number – SIN
- Canadian Phone Number
- Canadian Bank Account
- Health Card
- Family Doctor
- Canadian Driving Licence
- Canadian School System
- Library Card
- Accountant/Tax Returns
After landing in Canada, you will need to settle into the Canadian system as soon as possible. This will involve getting your Social Insurance Number, Bank Account, Health Care, Children’s education, moving around etc. Some of these things you will need to do as soon as you reach and others in subsequent weeks.
Permanent Resident Card
On arriving in Canada, you will have to present yourself and your family to an Immigration Officer. Here you will need to handover and sign the Confirmation of Permanent Residence (IMM 5292) Form that you received with your visa. You will give your address in Canada where you will receive your Permanent Resident Card(s).
You will not be able to get back into Canada without your PR Card, if you travel outside Canada.
Social Insurance Number (SIN)
You will need to apply for your Social Insurance Number. This is required by your financial Institution/Bank to open an account, your employer, tax authorities etc.
You can apply at Services Canada Office near you. You may also find a Services Canada Booth at the Airport.
Canadian Phone Number
You must get a local Canadian phone number at the earliest. You will need to give this out at many places, on the forms, resumes etc. There are many pay as you go as well as billing plans available from different service providers. You can pick up the one most suitable to you.
You may have to get a pay as you go plan initially due to lack of credit history.
Canadian Bank Account
After getting your SIN you can open up a bank account and deposit the money you brought with you. You will need up to two IDs. You can use your passport and the Confirmation of Permanent Residence (IMM 5292) Form. This is the form that the Immigration Officer stamped, signed and gave you at the time of your arrival in Canada.
You should also get a secured credit card to start building your credit history. The bank staff will guide you about all this.
Next apply for your Health Insurance Card. Some provinces have a waiting period before granting you the Health Insurance. However, you should apply as soon as you can after arriving in Canada. They will also require your ID proof such as Passport and Confirmation of Permanent Residence (IMM 5292)
Once you get your Health Card you must find a Family Doctor and register with him/her.
Canadian Driving Licence
You must apply for a Driving Licence as soon as possible if you will be driving in Canada. Driving Licence also acts as your Identification, which you will need at various occasions.
The process of getting a driving licence depends on the class of your driving licence from your home country, Country where you got your existing licence from and province of your residence in Canada.
You may be able to just exchange your licence for a new one or you may have to go for a written as well as driving test.
Find this information from the Driving Licence issuing authority in your province of residence in Canada.
Depending on your requirements you may decide to buy, lease or rent a car. You can buy a car by paying the full amount, as you don’t have a credit history in Canada yet. You will either be rejected for a car loan or charged a very high interest rate. So buying an affordable car with hundred percent payment makes most sense.
Leasing is suitable for business people where they can offset the lease amount for tax purposes. Also leasing a car will bind you for a period of up to 3 years irrespective of changes in your situation
If you do not regularly need a car, then you can rent a car from time to time. There are many car rental companies in Canada.
Canadian School System
The immigrants with young kids will need to enrol them in a school as soon as you reach. You will need to contact the school in your area. They will assess your child and enrol in the suitable grade. Education in public schools is free. There are also private schools that charge a monthly fee.
You should register yourself with the local library branch and get a library card to be able to use their various services. They offer services like computer use, free Wi-Fi, printers, scanners etc. Some branches also have help desk for new immigrants to impart information on various topics.
Most of the services are free or the charges are very nominal.
In Canada tax year for individuals is from 1st January to 31st December. You must file your tax return even if you do not have any income. Most of the financial benefits are linked to your tax return, i.e. if you don’t file your return you don’t get those benefits.
Find a good accountant well in time to file your tax returns.
There are many agencies that help new comers to Canada in various ways. There are many provincial or federal government grants, scholarships, and loans available for new immigrants to settle down, upgrade education or start up a business. Find all about those and talk to the ones relevant to your needs.