Moving to Canada Soon? A Pre-Arrival Checklist to Help You Prepare

Planning a move to Canada? Congratulations! Whether you’re relocating for work, studies, or a fresh start, preparing in advance is key to a smooth transition. Here’s a detailed pre-arrival checklist to guide you through the process.

Legal and Administrative Preparations

Visa and Immigration Documents

  • Confirm Your Visa/Permit: Ensure your visa or work permit is approved and valid. Keep a printed copy and digital version accessible.
  • Confirmation of Permanent Residence (COPR): Essential for new immigrants. Ensure it’s in your carry-on bag.
  • Passport: Verify that your passport is valid for your stay’s duration.
  • Arrival Documents: Have all required documents ready for presentation at Canadian customs.

Health Insurance

  • Travel Insurance: Obtain temporary health insurance covering the first few months in Canada.
  • Provincial Health Insurance: Apply for health coverage from your province or territory as soon as possible.


  • Open a Canadian Bank Account: Research banks and set up an account to manage your finances locally.
  • Transfer Funds: Plan for transferring money to your Canadian bank account.


  • Temporary Housing: Arrange short-term accommodation (e.g., hotel, Airbnb) for your initial weeks.
  • Permanent Housing: Begin your search for permanent housing online or through real estate agents.

Personal and Household Preparations

Packing and Shipping

  • Essential Documents: Include academic records, medical records, and other important documents.
  • Personal Items: Decide what to pack and ship. Clearly label all boxes.
  • Reliable Shipping Services: Choose a trustworthy service for your belongings.

Utilities and Services

  • Cancel or Transfer Services: Manage the cancellation or transfer of utilities, phone services, and subscriptions.
  • Set Up New Services: Research providers and arrange for new services in Canada.

School Enrollment

  • Children’s Education: Research and contact schools for enrollment.
  • Academic Records: Bring your children’s academic and immunization records.

Practical Considerations

Weather-Appropriate Clothing

  • Research Climate: Understand the climate of your destination and pack accordingly.
  • Seasonal Gear: Prepare for Canadian winters or rainy seasons as needed.

Driver’s License and Vehicle

  • International Driving Permit: Obtain one if you plan to drive temporarily in Canada.
  • Exchange Driver’s License: Learn how to convert your current license to a Canadian one.
  • Vehicle Importation: If bringing a car, understand the import regulations.

Mobile Phone and Internet

  • Canadian SIM Card/Phone Plan: Research and select a local mobile plan.
  • Internet Setup: Plan for internet installation in your new home.

Cultural and Social Preparation

Language Skills

  • Language Training: Consider English or French language classes if necessary.
  • Language Apps: Utilize apps to enhance your language skills.

Learn About Canada

  • Cultural Norms: Familiarize yourself with Canadian customs, laws, and culture.
  • Community Resources: Identify local community centers or immigrant support groups.


  • Job Search: Begin job hunting via online portals before arrival.
  • Resume/CV: Tailor your resume to Canadian standards.

Emergency Contacts

  • Local Contacts: Identify emergency contacts and support networks in Canada.
  • Important Numbers: Save contact information for local emergency services.

Health and Safety

Medical Check-Up

  • Health Evaluation: Get a comprehensive check-up before your move.
  • Vaccinations: Ensure all necessary vaccinations are up-to-date.


  • Prescriptions: Bring enough of your prescription medications and copies of the prescriptions.
  • Over-the-Counter Medications: Pack essential over-the-counter meds.

Safety Precautions

  • Travel Safety: Be mindful of safety precautions during your trip and in your new neighborhood.
  • Emergency Plan: Have a plan for emergencies once you arrive.

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