What to Do After Your Move to Canada

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After Moving to Canada Checklist

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Canada is one of the world's leading destinations for international moves. Its accepting and diverse culture is well regarded throughout the world. If you have moved to Canada from another country, the following list will make the process even easier.

Open a Canadian bank account: Canada's banking system is not as restricted as some other countries. You could have opened a Canadian bank account before you even moved into Canada. Research what Canadian banks are near your new home, and find one that seems trustworthy and convenient for you. Try to transfer quite a bit of your funds to the Canadian bank so you have money on hand at your new home. 

Pick up your international shipment at customs: This is a standard part of international moving. Canada's custom's regulations aren't especially unique, so you shouldn't be surprised by what's expected. Bringing a detailed inventory, the Bill of Lading, vehicle titles, and personal identification documents should be sufficient to retrieve your shipment. Make sure to inspect your items in case there is any damage. If there is, you should be prepared to file a claim against your international moving company.

Convert your currency into Canadian dollars: Once you establish a bank account with Canada, the conversion process of your currency should be relatively simple. If you have immigrated from the U.S., many cities in Canada will accept U.S. dollars, but remember that the conversion rate means that you are losing a little money since the Canadian dollar is worth marginally less than a U.S. dollar. Most venues will not adjust for this discrepancy and simply charge you the amount that would be charged in Canadian dollars.

Keep a list of all your moving expenses and see if you can get tax credit in your province: In Canada, you can get considerable tax credit for moving if your move brought you substantially closer to your work place or school. Be sure to keep track of this information and submit it to your province to see if you qualify for any tax breaks.

Apply for provincial health insurance: Canada's famous universal healthcare isn't automatic. It does not take effect for newly immigrated permanent residents until 90 days have passed. Be sure to provide the province with all the necessary financial and medical information to get the best possible coverage for yourself and your family in Canada.

Contact Canada Post and register your address: Your address needs to be official and known by the government if you are going to receive mail and be properly billed. Canada Post has an online option for registering your address, so the process should be simple. Once that is done, your mail should be forwarded to your new home without any problems.

Explore your Canadian neighbourhood: People in Canada are generally friendly to immigrants, so don't be afraid to socialize with your new neighbours. Ask them about what there is to do or see in the area. Local insight is valuable when you move into a new country.

Consider courses in English or French if you don't know at least one of those languages: English and French are the official languages of Canada, and while you can find many different languages spoken throughout Canada, it will be hard to live day to day without knowing what is written on almost all Canadian signs. Luckily, you probably know English well enough if you are reading this.

Apply for a Permanent Resident Card: These cards are sometimes mailed to you as part of your immigration process as stipulated by the particular visa that allowed you to move to Canada. If you don't have one, you are entitled to get one (after a brief application process and a small fee) as a permanent resident of Canada. These cards allow you to re-enter Canada as a resident if you travel outside of the country's borders. If you plan on never leaving the confines of Canada while you are residing there, then you may not need a Permanent Resident Card.

Apply for a Canadian driver's licence: Canada makes the driver's licence process relatively simple for experienced drivers from foreign countries. In Ontario, you need to prove that you have had 24 months experience as a licenced driver in your old country. You can get a restricted licence if you have just over 12 months experience. You may need to apply for a translation of your old driver's licence, but generally speaking, using your old country's licence to get a Canadian one is not unlike the process of renewing your licence in your own country. A U.S. driver's licence is even valid in Ontario for two to three months! In addition to the US, most Commonwealth countries' licences transfer without requiring any further testing.

Find fellow expatriates in CanadaOne way to make sure that you don't feel isolated after having moved to a new country is to find some other immigrants from your old country. Canada is a very international country, so it shouldn't be hard to find expats from your old country. Websites and locations throughout Canada cater to this specific need. It is good to retain some of your old culture and identity in Canada, so spending time with fellow expats will allow you to do that while embracing Canadian culture at the same time.

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on August 20, 2014

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