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You have been successful obtaining your visa to move to Canada.  Whether your move is for a work, study, family commitments or perhaps for the rest of your life, in order to make the transition as successful as possible, being proactive about integrating and adapting to a new life is key.

While living in a new country can be full of excitement and positive experiences, there will be growing pains and difficulties along the way. You can help with these challenges especially if you have planned your move well, sorted out all the details, arranged the paperwork and taken care of the financial side of things.

Our settle pages provide advice that should help you settle in more smoothly and quickly. We have given you some guidance on the important issues that you should take care of pre arrival, after arrival and within the first few months. This will include things like:

  • Obtaining your Permanent Resident card
  • Obtaining your Health card and Social Insurance card
  • Finding somewhere to live
  • Managing your finances
  • Registering with school
  • Finding work
  • Obligations as a resident
  • Citizenship

It is extremely challenging moving to a new country, particularly in the beginning. Stay calm and relaxed in the first few days, and you will realize that it will all come together before you know it.

If you are considering a move to Canada on a temporary or permanent basis and need assistance with an application, please complete an assessment form or contact us to discuss your options.

Settling in Canada

Once you have received your permanent residence status for Canada there are a number of things you will need to do for yourself or your family to settle yourself into Canadian life. The preparation for the move can start in advance, to allow for a smoother transition.

Preparing for your arrival in Canada


It is important that you bring to Canada all your official documents for yourself and all family members moving with you. This may include:

  • birth certificates
  • passports
  • marriage or divorce certificates
  • death certificate for a deceased spouse
  • educational diplomas, certificates and transcripts
  • medical records (prescriptions, test results, x-rays, allergies, etc.,) vaccinations and dental records
  • driver’s licence and/or International Driving Permit (IDP)

You will need a number of these as identification to register for services.

Where to stay

You will need to plan where you will stay during your first days or couple of weeks in Canada. This may entail making arrangements to stay with family or friends or booking  a hotel in a central location.


You should put together your own personal employment package in advance to find employment in Canada. This could include all your educational diplomas and certificates, letters of reference from your current or past employers. You may need to research and begin the process of getting your educational and professional qualifications officially recognized in Canada.  Find out whether your profession is “regulated” or “unregulated” in Canada. Start to search for jobs in Canada.


Research the education system in Canada and schools in the area you plan to live in. Make a note of deadlines for applying and registering at schools, colleges and universities.


Government health insurance will not kick in for a few months; therefore you will need to purchase private health insurance to pay for emergency medical costs.

Your Province

Start to research the city or town you plan to settle in. What amenities are available for you and the family. What services are available for new immigrants local to you.

Arrival in Canada – The first few weeks

You have finally arrived in Canada. There are a number of steps that you should take in your first few weeks:

PR Card

Provide Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) with your Canadian address, so that you can receive your permanent resident card in the mail. As long as CIC have a Canadian address for you, you should obtain your PR card within the first 180 days, you do not have to apply for it. After this time, you will need to apply.

Social Insurance Number (SIN)

Apply for a Social Insurance Number (SIN). You will not be able to work in Canada without a SIN. You should apply as soon as possible after arriving in Canada.

Health Card

Apply for a government health insurance card. A government health insurance card allows you to receive taxpayer-funded medical care in Canada. You should apply as soon as possible after arriving in Canada. Until you receive this you should be covered by your private medical insurance you obtained before your arrival.


You will need to transfer money across to Canada; therefore you will need to open a Canadian bank account. See our section on banking for further details.


Learn a convenient way of making telephone calls and accessing the Internet. You will need to do a lot of research in your first few weeks, sourcing out services, contacting organisations and making all kinds of arrangements. Memorize the national emergency telephone number: 911. If you experience a medical or other type of emergency, do not hesitate to call for help.

First two months

After you have taken your initial steps on arrival, you can start to research other areas that may be needed depending on your situation.

Finding a Long term home

You may be staying at family initially or in a hotel on a short term basis, at some point you may need   to start the search for a longer term home for you and your family. You will need to decide if you intend to rent or buy, therefore searching the rental market or searching the property market to purchase.  You may need to register with a letting or real estate agent.  Things  to consider is the area  you wish to move to, if applicable schools and amenities that you need close by, good transportation links if for example you need to close to a train station.


If you have school age children, you will need to register the children in a local school.  Having an idea of where you want to live will help with researching what schools are available in your area.  You will need to contact the local education board for your area to get guidance on the procedure for school registration.

Driving in Canada

If you decide to drive in Canada you will need to obtain a Canadian driver’s licence.  You will need to contact the driving services in your province to obtain instructions on the steps to obtain a licence.


Once you have received your government health card you can go ahead and find a doctor or health-care centre where you can go for your medical needs. Make an appointment for a medical check-up for yourself and the family when you receive your government health insurance card.


At this stage you will want to start your job search. Two very useful sites are www.workingincanada.gc.ca 

and www.jobbank.gc.ca . They offer job search tools, details on different occupations, the requirements and also trade regulatory information.  Your first job may not be your dream job, however it can be the stepping stone to you obtain valuable work experience to move on in the future.

Planning ahead is the key to success, it is imperative with such a life changing task such as immigrating to a new country.  Take the time to go through each area given above, so you are not overwhelmed or ill prepared and before  long you will be settled  comfortably living your dream  life in Canada.

Banking in Canada

Banking in Canada is widely considered one of the safest banking systems in the world, ranking as the world’s soundest banking system for the past six years according to reports by the World Economic Forum. 

The five largest banks in Canada are:

  • Royal Bank of Canada (RBC)
  • Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD)
  • Bank of Nova Scotia (Scotiabank)
  • Bank of Montreal (BMO)
  • Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC)

Each if these banks offer programs for newcomers. These come with special newcomer incentives, so be sure to look into them. The best bank in Canada for you will depend on your specific needs, where you live, what services you require and what best meets your financial needs.

The five largest banks will offer packages that give you everything you need to get started financially in Canada, including:

  • Your First bank account
  • A mortgage for your first home in Canada
  • Your first debit and credit card
  • Cost-effective ways to send money overseas
  • Your first car loan
  • Assistance with business accounts for your first business in Canada
  • Multilingual ABMs
  • Online, mobile, tablet banking
  • Telephone Banking

Opening a Bank Account

You can open a bank account in Canada if you meet the requirements that are set out in the Access to Basic Banking Services Regulations under the Bank Act. You can open a bank account even if:

  • you don’t have a job,
  • you don’t have money to put in the account right away, or
  • you have been bankrupt.

As a newcomer, to open a bank account, you must present two specific pieces of identification, such as:

  • A Permanent Resident card or Citizenship and Immigration Canada Form IMM 1000 or IMM 1442.
  • A foreign passport and an employee card with a photograph are also acceptable pieces of secondary identification.

You can find a full list of the kinds of identification that a bank can accept from the bank of your choice.

Permanent Resident Obligations

Once you have become a permanent resident of Canada, there will be things that you can and cannot do because of this status.

As a permanent resident, you have the right to:

  • get most social benefits that Canadian citizens receive, including health care coverage,
  • live, work or study anywhere in Canada,
  • apply for Canadian citizenship,
  • protection under Canadian law and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
  • You must pay taxes and respect all Canadian laws at the federal, provincial and municipal levels

As a permanent resident you are not allowed to:

  • vote or run for political office,
  • hold some jobs that need a high-level security clearance.

The permanent resident (PR) card

Once you have obtained permanent residence status, your first step should be to obtain your PR card. The PR card can be used to show that you have permanent resident status in Canada. If you travel outside Canada, you will need to show your card and your passport when you come back on a commercial vehicle, like an airplane, boat, train or bus.

PRs traveling outside Canada who do not have a valid PR card, or who are not carrying it, need to apply for a permanent resident travel document before returning to Canada by commercial vehicle.

Time spent living in Canada

As a permanent resident, you can live outside of Canada, but must live in Canada for at least two years in a five-year period. If you live outside of Canada for longer, you may lose your permanent resident status.

Exceptions to time spent outside of Canada and  meeting  the residency obligation happen in the following three situations:

  1. Accompanying a Canadian citizen outside Canada as long as this person is your spouse, common-law partner or parent (if you are a child under 19 years of age).
  1. Employment outside Canada:
  • you are an employee of, or under contract to, a Canadian business or the public service of Canada or of a province or territory and
  • as a term of your job or contract, you are assigned on a full-time basis to:
  • a position outside Canada
  • an affiliated enterprise outside Canada or
  • a client of the Canadian business or the public service outside Canada; and
  • you will continue working for the employer in Canada after the assignment.
  1. Accompanying a permanent resident outside Canada. You may count each day you accompanied a permanent resident outside Canada as long as:
  • the person you accompanied is your spouse, common-law partner or parent (if you are a child under 19 years of age); and
  • the person was employed on a full-time basis by a Canadian business or in the public service of Canada or of a province or territory during the time you accompanied him or her.

Losing your permanent resident status

You do not lose your permanent resident status when your PR card expires, only if you go through an official process.

Reasons for loss of status may fall within the following areas:

  • an adjudicator determines you are no longer a permanent resident after an inquiry or PRTD appeal;
  • you voluntarily renounce your permanent resident status;
  • a removal order is made against you and comes into force; or
  • you become a Canadian citizen.

Even if you don’t meet the residency obligation, you are still a PR until an official decision is made on your status.

There may come a time when you no longer want to be a permanent resident of Canada.  If so, you can apply to voluntarily give up (renounce) your permanent resident status.

Humanitarian and compassionate grounds

If you cannot meet the residency obligation, humanitarian and compassionate factors may be considered in your individual circumstances that may justify that you keep your permanent resident status.

If you have questions or concerns about your obligations as a permanent residence, or need assistance with possible loss of PR status, contact us for consultation to discuss further.

Permanent Resident Cards

The permanent resident card is an identification document for permanent residents of Canada. It was introduced on 28 June 2002 upon the implementation of Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA). Like Canadian passports, all PR cards are issued by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) and are the property of the Canadian Crown.

It is the primary method by which Canadian permanent residents can prove their status and is the only document that allows permanent residents to return to Canada by air.

Starting from 10 November 2016, all travellers to Canada (except for Canadian citizens, U.S. citizens and nationals, permanent residents and travellers with a valid Canadian visa) are required to have an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) before boarding a flight to Canada.

Permanent residents, including those from one of the visa-free countries (except the U.S.), need either a PR card or a permanent resident travel document (PRTD) to board a flight to Canada.

How will I receive my PR Card?

New permanent residents do not need to apply for a PR card, you will be sent one when you immigrate to Canada if you have a Canadian mailing address. You have 180 days after immigrating to send an address to CIC Canada.  After the 180 days you have to apply for your card.


To be eligible for a PR card, you need to:

  • be a permanent resident, and
  • submit your application in Canada.

If you are outside Canada, apply for a permanent resident travel document to return to Canada first then after you arrive, apply for a PR card.

You should only apply for a PR card if:

  • you didn’t receive your PR card within 180 days of immigrating to Canada;
  • your PR card is expired or will expire in less than nine months;
  • your PR card has been lost, stolen, or destroyed; or
  • you legally changed your name and need to update your PR card.

If you are a Canadian citizen, you can’t have (and don’t need) a PR card. If you become a Canadian citizen, give us your PR card at your citizenship ceremony.

A PR card is usually issued for five years, but can sometimes be issued for one year instead. It is valid until the expiry date listed on the card.

How long will I have to wait before I receive my PR Card?

Generally, it takes about 6 weeks to process PR cards for new permanent residents once IRCC receives a complete application package from individuals who have fulfilled their residency requirements.

However, many people have found that it can take several months to process PR card applications. Therefore, it is a good idea to allow a lot of time for your PR application to be processed.

I received my PR Card but my name was not complete/correct on the Card. How can I correct it?

PR cards have limited space for names. If your surname is longer than 20 characters, or if your given names (first and middle) are longer than 15 characters, your name will be shortened. This is not a mistake. This is OK.

If, however, your name has been misspelled, you should contact IRCC to reissue your PR card.

After landing in Canada, what if I need to return to my country to settle my affairs?

The PR card is also a travel document. You should generally wait until you have received your PR card before travelling.

If you have any questions about PR cards or permanent residence in Canada, contact us to discuss further.

Citizenship Application

Canadian citizenship is obtained automatically by being born in Canada or by descent where a parent is a first-generation Canadian citizen.

Permanent residents become eligible to apply for Canadian citizenship after meeting a number of requirements relating to their residency in Canada:

  • Living in Canada for a specified residency period
  • Income tax filing
  • Knowledge of an official language
  • General knowledge  of Canada

Permanent residents will gain a number of privileges once they obtain Canadian citizenship such as the right to vote in elections, and the ability to obtain a Canadian passport. This manner of obtaining citizenship is referred to as “naturalization”. The children of naturalized Canadian citizens will also automatically obtain citizenship even if they are born abroad.

Canada allows dual citizenship, so those permanent residents who obtain Canadian citizenship can also keep their original citizenship, provided that the laws of the other country also allow dual citizenship.

The Application

Once a citizenship application is filed you will be required to attend and pass knowledge of Canada test. Under the new rules put into force in June 2014, a permanent resident applying for citizenship who is under the age of 65 or over the age of 13 must show an adequate knowledge of Canada

The knowledge test is based on the information in a government booklet called Discover Canada: The Rights and Responsibilities of Citizenship.

The Ceremony

Once you have satisfied the citizenship authorities that the residency requirement is met and you have passed the language and knowledge tests, you will be sent a ceremony notice where you will be granted Canadian citizenship.

During your ceremony, you will take the Oath of Citizenship, get your citizenship certificate and sign the Oath or Affirmation of Citizenship form

The citizenship ceremony is your final step to becoming a Canadian citizen.

We can assist clients with all types of citizenship matters. If you need help with your citizenship case, or to find out if you qualify to apply for citizenship, please contact us to schedule a consultation.


At GOCANADAVISAS, there is nothing more rewarding than a client that is satisfied about our representation which has led to a successful visa application and/or petition approval. Below we have included a selection of testimonials from satisfied clients.

Testimonial section 2

General Enquiries

Contact Information

If you have a question, need some assistance or want to provide us with feedback, then contact us today


Monday – Friday 10.00 – 5.30
Saturday – Sunday Closed
Ben Winter
Ben Winter
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Hi Samantha! Thank you so much for all your help through the whole process! You were all very helpful and professional! I’ve already referred a friend of a friend and will continue to refer people to you.. Thanks a million!
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Just to let you know my visa got accepted yesterday so thanks for all your help. Dean
Janet L
Janet L
Brampton, Ontario
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Thank you for the great news! I cannot thank you enough for the prompt processing of this application. You have been fantastic from the word ‘Go’ and we will certainly use your services in the future.
H. Katy
H. KatySudbury, Ontario
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A Big Thank you to Samantha for all the assistance with this assessment. We really appreciate the speed and careful attention you have given us throughout the entire process. Kind regards, Katy H.