How To Move To Canada: A Step-By-Step Guide

Hey there, future Canadian! If you’re dreaming of starting a new chapter in the Great White North, you’re not alone. Canada has become a global magnet for immigrants, and it’s not hard to see why. In fact, in 2019 alone, a staggering 415,766 people found their new home in Canada. Impressive, right?

So, if you’re ready to embark on this exciting journey, let’s explore the pathways that will make your move to Canada a breeze.

Step 1: Check If You Need A Visa Before You Start Packing Your Bags

It’s essential to determine whether you need a visa to enter Canada. While some lucky folks can enter without a visa or with just electronic authorization, others may need to go through the application process. For example, our friends from the United States can enjoy a visa-free stay of up to six months. Not too shabby, eh?

Step 2: Find A Suitable Immigration Pathway

Canada offers a variety of immigration programs, ensuring there’s something for everyone. One of the most popular routes is the Express Entry Program, which is like the express lane to permanent residency. This could be your golden ticket if you’re highly skilled and want to fast-track your journey. Just be prepared to showcase your experience, qualifications, education, and skills.

But wait, there’s more! The Federal Skilled Worker Program targets those with at least a decade of work experience in managerial, professional, or technical roles. The Federal Skilled Trades Program awaits you if you’re a skilled tradesperson. And don’t forget the Provincial Nominee Program, where each province has its unique targets for students, skilled workers, business people, and semi-skilled workers. Quelle belle diversité!

Oh là là, we can’t forget our friends in Quebec. The Quebec Selected Skilled Workers program is designed specifically for those who dream of calling Quebec home. You’ll need to apply for a Quebec Selection Certificate from the Government of Quebec and follow their guidelines.

If you’ve set your sights on the beautiful Atlantic provinces, the Atlantic Immigration Program is your path to explore the wonders of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland, and Labrador.

And for the entrepreneurial souls out there, we have two exciting options: the Self-Employment Visa, for cultural activities or athletics, and the Start-Up Visa, for those with innovative business ideas and a letter of support from a designated organization. Get ready to bring your A-game!

Step 3: Apply For The Permit

Once you’ve identified the perfect immigration Pathway, it’s time to dive into the Canadian visa application process. Create an online account on Canada’s immigration website, answer a few questions to determine your eligibility, and voilà! If you meet the requirements, you’ll receive instructions, a list of required documents, and a reference code. Keep that reference number close, as it’ll accompany you throughout the application journey.

Next, you’ll receive instructions on how to submit your application, either online or in person. If you go the online route, create a Government of Canada login account or use your banking details if applicable.

For in-person applications, prepare your documents and submit them to a local Canadian representative office in your country of residence. And don’t forget the application fee—be sure to check the specific fees for your visa type, including any additional costs for translation and courier services.

Step 4: Prepare For The Move Patience, My Friend!

After submitting your application, it may take several weeks to hear back. On average, the waiting time is around six months, but if you applied in person, it could stretch up to 18 months. So, during this time, make sure you’re fully prepared for your big move to Canada.

If you plan on shipping your belongings, create a detailed list of all your items. Include those coming with you and those arriving later, along with their value, make, model, and serial number. Need help to find a reliable moving company? Look no further than Sirelo – they can connect you with recognized moving companies to save you up to 40% on fees.

While everyday goods and services like clothing, furniture, and books are generally tax-free, checking the entry requirements is always a good idea to ensure a smooth transition.

Step 5: Move To Canada Congratulations!

If your application is approved, you’ll receive an email with a Confirmation of Permanent Residence (COPR) and, if required, a permanent residence visa. Once you arrive in Canada, make sure to download ArriveCan from the Apple Store or Google Play. This handy app will guide you through the necessary steps for settling and adapting to your new Canadian life.

Feeling a bit overwhelmed? Fear not! Canada’s immigration service and their “Welcome to Canada Guide” have got your back, providing invaluable assistance during your transition.

Still, Want More Ways To Move To Canada?

If the Express Entry Program isn’t your cup of maple syrup, fear not! Canada has additional pathways for family reunification and study purposes. If you have family members in Canada, you may be eligible for family reunification. And if you’re looking to study in the land of poutine and ice hockey, there are student visa options available, with the potential to apply for a graduate work permit once your studies are complete.

Is Moving To Canada Difficult?

In general, moving to Canada isn’t too daunting. The country embraces newcomers and offers various immigration programs to suit different needs. However, it’s crucial to meet the requirements of your chosen pathway. Remember, while moving abroad may not be overly challenging, adapting to a new country requires financial, mental, and social preparation. So, be ready to take on this adventure with open arms!

Important Things To Know When Moving To Canada

As a new resident in Canada, there are a few essential things to keep in mind:

Renting/Buying In Canada: When you first arrive, temporary housing is a great option while you find your bearings. Renting is often recommended initially, with the average cost for a one-bedroom apartment being around CAD 1,500. But be aware that big cities may have higher prices than the average.

Opening A Bank Account: To manage your finances in Canada, you’ll need a bank account. Bring your identity card, and you’re good to go. Some banks even offer “newcomer” programs, including the National Bank of Canada, the Bank of Montreal, the Royal Bank of Canada, and the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce.

Healthcare: While Canada offers free healthcare to its citizens and residents, you may experience a waiting period of around three months before accessing national healthcare. Consider purchasing private healthcare during this initial period. Keep in mind that national healthcare doesn’t cover all services, such as dental care, ambulance services, and prescription medications.

Taxes: Ah, taxes—inevitable no matter where you go. In Canada, you’ll pay taxes at the federal, provincial, and municipal levels. Income tax is deducted automatically from your salary, but if you’re self-employed, you’ll need to handle your tax payments accordingly. And don’t be surprised if you encounter a sales tax at the cash register. It’s part of the Canadian experience!

How Much Money Do You Need To Immigrate To Canada?

To settle in Canada, you should have a minimum of CAD 13,200. This average amount covers a single person but costs increase when moving with family members. Don’t forget to factor in unexpected expenses like entry taxes, shipping costs for your belongings, and document legalization.

Can Us Citizens Live In Canada?

Absolutely! US citizens can enjoy visa-free stays of up to six months in Canada. However, if you plan to stay longer, you’ll need to apply for an immigration program to ensure your legal status in Canada.

Pros And Cons Of Moving To Canada

Like any other country, Canada has its pros and cons. Let’s take a look:


  1. Great Social Benefits: Canada offers fantastic social benefits, making it an appealing place to live.
  2. Welcoming Immigrants: The country has a reputation for welcoming immigrants from all walks of life.
  3. Plenty of Job Opportunities: Canada boasts ample job opportunities across various industries.
  4. Low Crime Rates: Safety and security are significant advantages of living in Canada.


  1. High Cost of Living: While Canada provides many benefits, the cost of living can be relatively high, particularly in major cities.
  2. Extremely Cold Weather: Be prepared for some frigid winters! Canada’s weather can be challenging for those accustomed to milder climates.
  3. Poor Public Transport: Public transportation infrastructure may not be as developed as in other countries, especially outside major urban centres.

Can I Get Canadian Dual Citizenship?

Yes, you can! Canada allows dual citizenship, but keep in mind that your other country of citizenship may have its regulations. Make sure to familiarize yourself with their policies to determine if dual citizenship is possible.

Canada awaits you with open arms, maple syrup, and breathtaking landscapes. So take the leap, follow the immigration pathways, and embark on a new chapter of your life in the Great White North!