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Planning Your Move to Canada

We understand that there are many things you need to plan ahead for prior to moving here. That’s why we’ve created a helpful checklist that you can use as a resource to get ready and make the transition a little easier.39

3+ Months Before Arriving

  • Visit the official website of your new city.

    Learn about the area, job and housing markets, schools, recreation and more.

  • Have your employment credentials evaluated.

    The way provinces in Canada recognize career and employment credentials can vary. You may need to arrange for accreditation courses/tests before you leave. Find more information .Consider exploring microloans to help pay for the Canadian credentials you may need—visit Windmill Microlending.

  • Collect official school documents.

    Include degrees, diplomas and certificates, transcripts, program descriptions and detailed course information, language skills test results, and accreditation. You may also need to get official translations of your documents.

  • Estimate your monthly living expenses.

    Consider where in Canada you will live, the type of housing you want and other necessities, such as transportation, schooling, food, clothing, utilities and entertainment.

    International student? See where your finances stand with our Student Budget Calculator

  • Decide what you will take with you.

    Review the list of items you are allowed to bring into Canada.

  • Open a Canadian Bank Account

    If your money is readily available when you get here, it will make your move that much easier. (For example, you may be asked to show proof of funds if you rent an apartment). Transferring funds to your Canadian bank account is one of the most cost-effective and secure ways to bring money into the country.

1-3 Months Before Arriving

As your move to Canada gets closer, be sure to check the following items off your list.39

  • Check your passport.

    Make sure that your passport (and those belonging to family members coming with you) is valid and up-to-date.

  • Book your travel.

    Typically the earlier you book your travel arrangements, the better the price.

  • Collect official health documents.

    These include vaccination and dental records. Children need vaccination records to enrol in school in Canada. You may need to get official translations of these documents.

  • Gather reference letters and evaluations from employers, and training and job descriptions.

  • Prepare a resumé for job applications.

    The Canadian style is two pages or less plus a cover letter. Start planning your job search

  • International student? Get ID’d.

    Take advantage of student discounts by getting an International Student Identity Card. You can order your card online, but it may take up to 4 weeks for delivery, depending on where you live.

  • Explore free newcomers service

    Spend some time getting familiar with the free services you can take advantage of when you arrive in Canada.

A Few Weeks Before Arriving

It’s almost time for the big move! Here are some final details that will help make your move to Canada smoother.39

  • Arrange for medical insurance.

    Your provincial government-sponsored medical plan will not be active for the first 90 days you’re in Canada. To cover yourself until then, consider purchasing Visitors to Canada Insurance.

  • Fill any prescriptions.

    You may want to bring a six-month supply of medications. Brands may be different in Canada and prices could be more expensive if you’re paying out-of-pocket. Be sure to review the list of items you are allowed to bring into Canada.

  • Order Canadian currency.

    Plan for enough money to cover out-of-pocket expenses when you arrive, before your bank account is activated.

  • Transfer funds to your Canadian bank account.

    To enter Canada, you may have to show you have the required funds to support your family. This is easier if the funds are already in a Canadian bank account in your name.

  • Check the amount of money you will be bringing.

    If you are bringing in $10,000 CDN or more, you must report it to Canada Border Services Agency—whether it’s in Canadian dollars (cash, cheques, etc.) or the equivalent in your country’s currency.

  • Create a list of what you will be bringing into Canada.

    You will need to present this documentation when you enter Canada.

  • Gather essential documents.

    To enter Canada, these are some of the documents you’ll need to present:

    • A Canadian immigrant visa (if applicable) and Confirmation of Permanent Residence for you and each family member travelling with you

    • A valid passport or other travel document for you and each family member travelling with you

    • Two (2) copies of a detailed list of all the personal or household items you are bringing with you

    • Two (2) copies of a list of items that are arriving later and their monetary value

    Consult the full list of documents you will need

  • Copy all important documents.

    Keep the copies in a safe place, separate from the originals.

The RBC Newcomer Advantage

Get what you need for a great financial start in Canada. Discover products and services that can help you settle in faster. Plus, get up to a $15,000 credit limit on a new RBC credit card9.

How Can We Help You?

We understand that moving to a new country comes with many challenges–let us help answer any questions you may have. Our phone services are available in up to 200 languages.

Connect with an RBC Newcomer Advisor

Call to book an appointment to open a bank account over the phone or by video conference.


Call Toll-Free: 1-866-756-1107


Call Toll-Free: 1-866-756-1107


Call Collect: 1-506-864-2275


Call Collect: 1-506-864-2275