There is a lot of tips for moving to Canada, but we picked the most important things everyone should know.
The process of moving to Canada can be overwhelming as there is a lot to consider.
Booking flights, accommodation, searching for a job is stressful enough, but there is much more for you to be aware of.
Here are all the most essential tips for moving to Canada that will help you make a move much more relaxed.
1. Open A Bank Account in Canada
No matter under what visa you are coming to Canada, you will be looking to open a bank account.
There is a lot of banks to choose from, and it will take you 30min to 24hrs to open an account (depending on how busy they are and if you need to schedule an appointment).
Newcomers mostly choose Scotia Bank, Tangerine, CIBC and TD. We went with TD first and then switched to CIBC as they had no fee for the first year account.
The decision with what bank to go with is everyone’s personal preference, but we recommend to first check few banks before signing up to get the best deal.
Tips for moving to Canada: Once you open your account we highly recommend that you apply for a credit card. Although you might think that you won’t need one, we found that most hotels, car rental companies, even chiropractors or dentists won’t accept you without a valid credit card.
Imagine arriving at a hotel after long haul flight and have issues at check in as they can’t pre-authorise your debit card.
If you plan to stay in Canada long-term, no bank will give you a loan or mortgage without a credit history. We highly recommend that you seriously consider applying for a credit card.
2. Transfer Your Money The Best Way
After you have opened a bank account, you are most likely looking into moving your funds from your account back at home to Canada.
We were in the same situation and used CurrencyFair to send money from Ireland to Canada.
Banks take 5-6%+ in fees where in comparison CurrencyFair will take less than 0.25%! We are CurrencyFair customers for over four years and highly recommend them to everyone including family and friends.
Our money transfer guide covers everything we learnt from sending money to Canada from abroad.
If you need to send more substantial amounts to Canada over 5k, then OFX is the best. OFX gives you a dedicated broker and doesn’t take more than CurrencyFair on the exchange rate.
They can advise you on the best time to transfer your funds so you won’t lose out.
We also have free transfers for life for transfers over 1k if you sign up with this link.
3. Get Travel Insurance
Travel insurance is essential no matter where you are travelling to; therefore we have to include it in tips for moving to Canada.
If you are coming to Canada on IEC visa, for instance, you are required to hold insurance that covers you for the entire duration of your work permit.
If you want to find out what else you need on IEC read our ‘things to know when moving to Canada on IEC‘.
Blue Insurance is great if you are coming from Ireland. World Nomads are our go-to insurance company if you are looking for the best insurance available.
There indeed is a lot of insurance providers, so make sure they are reliable and cover you precisely for what you need.
4. Get A SIN Number
Social Insurance Number is necessary if you are going to work in Canada. You can quickly obtain it at any Service Canada office.
To get this paper, you will be required to provide few documents such as your passport, work permit and address.
The SIN number is valid for the duration of your work permit but can easily be extended if your circumstances change.
It is very straightforward to request the number, and you will get it straight away at the Service Canada office.
Here is a link to find an office location near you.
5. Tips For Moving To Canada – Get SIM Card
There are many SIM options available in Canada and the most common are a month to month rolling contracts.
You will usually be asked for visa/ work permit and Canadian address to get a SIM with most of the mobile providers out there.
There are several prepaid options, but their coverage is usually not worth looking into.
The data plans aren’t great here, and you will be lucky to get one gig+ data per month.
We found Rogers to have the best coverage, but they are also one of the most expensive network providers.
If you are planning to travel around, then we recommend going with them. Otherwise, Fido or Freedom would be sufficient.
If you are bringing your phone make sure it is unlocked.
6. Do You Need Canadian ID
If you are planning to stay for an extended period in Canada, you might want to consider obtaining Canadian ID.
You will require an ID to open a bank account, rent a car, book a hotel room or at most of the bars. Of course, passports are accepted everywhere, but it’s not wise to continually have such a significant document with you.
7. Tips For Moving To Canada – Transferring Your Drivers Licence
If you have a drivers licence from Ireland you are allowed to drive in Canada for a specified period after that you will need to convert it to Canadian permit.
Depending on the province you are planning to settle in, different rules may apply.
In British Columbia for example, you are allowed to keep your licence for up to three months. After the 90 days, however, if you want to keep driving in Canada, you need to obtain B.C. drivers licence.
To do so, you need to have at least two years of proven record. If your driver’s licence is in a different language, you might need to translate it as international drivers licence might not be sufficient enough.
To get more detailed and up to date information on driving licence requirements, please go to Government of Canada website here.
It is straightforward to convert your Irish driver’s licence, and within approximately two weeks you are going to receive Canadian licence in the post.
If you are looking for more information on moving to Canada, we have recently created an E-Book that covers all tips for moving to Canada on IEC.