After 15 months of waiting due to the COVID-19 pandemic border closures, all valid Confirmation of Permanent Residence (COPR) holders can now arrive in Canada. This is an important milestone in the immigration journey. This article will share some tips on how to settle in Canada as a new immigrant.
What You Need To Do As You Plan Your Arrival
Start by reading our article on what you need to do before arriving in Canada. This will give you an idea of what you need to do as you plan your arrival in Canada. As you are aware, the Canadian borders are open again. If you are fully vaccinated, you may not need to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival. It is also essential to check with Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) and Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) if you have any questions or concerns.
Also, you need to ensure that your Confirmation of Permanent Residence (COPR) is still valid and not expired. If you COPR has expired, you will not be able to travel to Canada at this time. We wrote an article on what you need to do if you have an expired COPR. In addition, IRCC has a lot of helpful resources on how to get your COPR reinstated.
Sort Out Your Accommodation
If you need to quarantine, it is important that you sort out your accommodation before you arrive. One way to do this is to rent an Airbnb. If you have a family member that can accommodate you throughout the quarantine period, that is even better. Once you arrive you can sort out your accommodation proper. Some landlords may check your credit score before signing rental agreements. But as a new immigrant in Canada, you may not have a credit score. So, you may need to get a friend or family member to co-sign the rental agreement. In addition, you may be required to pay rental for some months ahead. This depends on each landlord.
Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation suggests looking for rental listings through local newspapers and real estate offices in your desired province. Remember, your first place doesn’t have to be permanent or perfect. Even individuals who know the country well or have a family member with local knowledge might still want to consider setting up a short-term apartment. This will allow you to ascertain if you really like that neighborhood.
Set Up Your Bank Account(s) And Take Charge Of Your Finances
One of the first things to do when you arrive in Canada is to open a bank account. As early as possible, you should book an appointment to meet with an advisor at a bank you trust. Not only can an advisor help you set up your bank account as a newcomer, but they can also be an invaluable resource to help you learn some financial basics. This can include how to build your credit history quickly or qualify for a new vehicle loan.
As soon as you have a bank account established, you should set up a realistic budget. The top needs you will have to budget for on arrival are your rent, transportation costs, utilities and grocery costs. Some wants that might not fit into your new budget right away might be a gym membership, cable TV and new home decor. In addition, set aside additional funds each month to get adjusted to your new cost of living.
If possible, get a credit card as soon as possible, This will help you to start building up your new credit history. In Canada, landlords, utilities, lenders and potential employers look at your credit history and credit score to establish if you are financially stable. For example, if you are applying to a job position that requires you to handle money or sensitive information, a potential employer might want to check to see that your own finances are in order.
Get Important Documents
The nest step is to ensure that you get all the important documents. This can include the following:
Permanent Resident (PR) Card
This card should be obtained through your immigration process and sent to you at your mailing address. If you need to travel outside Canada, you will need to hold your PR Card.
Provincial Health Card
This health card is a necessity for seeing a doctor, visiting a hospital or accessing any medical service in Canada. Without your health card, you will be expected to pay your costly medical bills out of pocket. So, you should plan to register for the healthcare service as soon as you arrive in Canada.
While many provinces offer access to medical coverage right away, some provinces and territories require a three-month waiting period. So, if your destination is one of the following places, you will need to get temporary private insurance to cover the gap:
- British Columbia
- Northwest Territories
Social Insurance Number (SIN)
As a newcomer, you can apply for your SIN online or via mail. So, you should do this as soon as you arrive in Canada. You will need your SIN to pay taxes, apply for interest-earning bank accounts and investments. In addition, you will need your SIN to find employment.
Take Advantage of Settlement Organizations
As you know, moving to a new country requires that one has the right support system. This can come from families and friends. And for those without family and friends, settlement organizations become useful. These organizations provide pre-arrival services or settlement services. Some organizations provide both types of services. Irrespective of your destination, there are settlement organizations that can make your transition smooth.
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