Canadian new immigrants – preparing for life in Canada
June 14, 2021
Preparing for life in Canada – updated June 2021. Congratulations on your successful application for Canadian permanent or temporary residency! Now it is time to prepare for life in Canada, settling down, connecting with communities, finding a job, and integrating yourself and family into Canada financially, socially and culturally.
You and your family can get free in-person and online services to help prepare for and adjust to life in Canada. These are called these pre-arrival services and are valuable for preparing for life in Canada.
Pre-arrival services can help you to
prepare for your move to Canada
get your education, work experience and credentials recognized in Canada
connect with employers to find a job
connect with free services after you arrive in Canada
Pre-arrival services: Who can get services
You may pre-qualify for a Canada immigration program.
You can get free in-person and online services, if:
IRCC has approved your permanent residence application
you’re currently outside Canada
you have one of these documents:
a letter from us saying you can get pre-arrival services
a confirmation of permanent residence letter
a passport request letter that indicates Permanent Resident visa issuance
a letter from us asking for your medical exam results
a single-entry permanent resident visa
a letter from us letting your know you can pick up your permanent resident visa
You can’t get pre-arrival services if you’re coming to Canada for a short time. That is, you’re a temporary resident visiting, studying or working in Canada on a visa or permit.
Preparing for life in Canada – Before you travel to Canada
The COVID-19 pandemic restricts most travel to Canada. If you’re eligible to travel to Canada, the government of Canada encourages you, as part of preparing for life in Canada, to make sure you know the rules and what you need to do before and after you arrive. Use the government’s checklist that applies to you:
You are also required to use ArriveCAN app to provide mandatory travel information required for entry into Canada.
Make sure you’re using the newest version of ArriveCAN. If you previously submitted your information using an older version of ArriveCan, you must download the latest version and resubmit your information.
Documents that you need to bring
There are documents you must carry in order to cross the border into Canada. Without these documents, Canada immigration officers will NOT allow you into the country.
Have your important documents translated into English or French before you arrive to make it easier for people in Canada to understand them.
To enter Canada, you’ll need:
a Canadian immigrant visa (if this applies)
Confirmation of Permanent Residence for each family member traveling with you
a valid passport or other travel document for each family member traveling with you
two copies each of:
a detailed list of all the personal or household items you’re bringing with you
a list of items that are arriving later and their money value
Don’t pack these documents in your luggage. Keep them with you at all times.
Other documents you may need include:
driver’s licence, including:
an International Driver’s Permit
a reference from your auto insurance company
adoption, separation or divorce papers
birth certificates or baptismal certificates
letters of reference from former employers
trade or professional certificates and licences
car registration documents (if you’re importing a motor vehicle into Canada)
school records, diplomas or degrees for each family member traveling with you
a list of your educational and professional qualifications and job experience for your résumé
Make photocopies of all these types of documents, in case the originals get lost. Be sure to keep the photocopies in a separate place from the originals.
For more information on other documents such as health and travel documents, customs declaration and disclosing funds to cross the border into Canada, please review the official, detailed bulletin by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) here.
Prepare to work in Canada
Finding a suitable job is a critical part of newcomers preparing for life in Canada.
Get your credentials assessed in Canada
You’ll need to have your credentials assessed if you:
immigrate to Canada as a Federal Skilled Worker
come to Canada to work in a certain profession or trade
come to Canada to study
Credentials you got outside Canada will need to be assessed, such as:
Having your credentials assessed will help you:
show employers what you are qualified for
understand the types of jobs for you might be qualified for
see if your credentials are equal to the standards set for Canadian workers
find out if you need more training, education or Canadian work experience
You can start the process to get your credentials assessed and recognized before you arrive in Canada. This takes time and costs money. For details visit Get your credentials assessed.
Apply for the Federal Internship for Newcomers Program
The Federal Internship for Newcomers (FIN) Program offers eligible newcomers a chance to gain valuable temporary work experience and training opportunities with Canadian federal, provincial and municipal organizations.
There are different opportunities every year. Employers offer internships in fields like
project support and management
policy and research
Through the FIN, candidates are hired as temporary employees and gain experience in
understanding job application and hiring processes
Canada has two official languages: English and French. English is the most commonly spoken language in most provinces and territories.
French is the main language spoken in Quebec and in some areas of Ontario, New Brunswick and Manitoba. There are also francophone communities in all provinces and territories across Canada. Quebec has a large minority of residents who speak English.
The importance of language skills
English or French language skills are very important to help you settle in Canada. You may choose to focus on learning or improving one or the other. This will likely depend on which of the two languages most people speak in the area where you live.
Strong English or French skills will help with:
getting a job
going to school
helping your children with school work
meeting and talking to people
getting your Canadian citizenship
As part of preparing for life in Canada, take steps to improve your French or English while you are still in your home country and as soon as you arrive in Canada.
If you already speak an official language, think about learning the other. In many parts of Canada, being able to speak both is an advantage for finding a job and taking part in your community.
You can take language classes to learn English or French once in Canada. Federal, provincial and territorial governments across Canada fund language classes. You’ll need to pay for private language classes.
To find information about other language training programs funded by the provinces or territories: