The biggest mistake immigrants make is going to Canada unprepared, hoping that they will be able to solve all the problems by improvising on the go. It is recommended to do a minimum of 5 things before you leave your home country.
1. Compose notes on your medical history so you can tell a Canadian doctor about your health condition later. Make a list of the medications you are taking, as well as previous operations and illnesses. It’s worth bringing a medical card to Canada from your home country. But if you have a medical condition, you still have to be screened in Canada and your medical history will begin anew.
2. Gather documents. The documents may vary depending on your immigration program. In general, you will need the following for moving to Canada:
- Passport: you need to translate into English the pages with the passport number, date of issue and expiration, name, date and place of birth, pages indicating any changes in name, date of birth, etc.
- Other identification documents and proof of civil status: birth certificates, legal documents on the change of name or date of birth (if applicable), marriage certificates, divorce certificates, death certificates of former spouses or partners (if applicable), national identification cards, certificates birth of children, adoption documents
- Proof of language proficiency (IELTS certificate is most often issued in English)
- Proof of work experience: reference letters from former employers
- Credentials: diplomas and certificates from a university, college or other educational institution, with an Educational Credential Assessment (ECA)
- Documents of relatives who are citizens or permanent residents of Canada (if applicable). In this case, you will be required to provide documents confirming the relative’s immigration status (Canadian passport or permanent resident card), family relationship (birth, marriage or adoption certificate) and residence in Canada (for example, copies of lease agreements)
- Police certificate
- Documents from insurance companies, if you have any. For example, if you insured real estate, a car, or you had medical insurance, this will probably help reduce your insurance payments in Canada, since you have a positive insurance history
- Reference letters from former landlords. If you have rented a home, ask your landlord to write a reference letter with his contact details. You may have problems renting your first apartment or house in Canada without a credit history in the country — letters of recommendation may help in this case
- Proof of funds: a statement of cash flows for several months, an extract from accounts or deposits, or a statement of the balance of funds in the account
- Bank statements on the funds on your bank accounts and supporting documents relating to the cash that you bring to Canada with you. If you bring cash or securities worth more than C$10,000 (or the equivalent in another currency), you will need to declare this amount upon arrival in Canada
3. Translate documents. It is recommended to translate documents in your home country — at a translation agency or an independent translator. This may be significantly cheaper than translating in Canada. However, translations made in other countries may not be recognized, as some Canadian agencies require a translation made by a Canadian translator. In this case, you will have to translate documents in Canada.
4. Visit your dentist before leaving and have your teeth attended. Many immigrants, even those who have lived in Canada for many years, prefer to treat their teeth when they visit their relatives in their home countries. Free government insurance in Canada does not cover dental services, and if you have to go to a Canadian dentist, it will cost a lot. Here are several examples:
- C$150–300 per cavity filling
- C$1,000 to C$2,000 for wisdom tooth removal
- C$1,500 for a crown
- C$1,000 to C$4,000 for an implant
5. Find temporary housing. You must have a credit history in Canada to be able to buy a home with a mortgage or rent for the long term. Also, you may not yet know in which area it is better to settle. Therefore, for starters, it is better to stay at your Canadian friends’ if you have them or rent a house for a short term. For instance, you can rent a house or apartment using the Airbnb.com website — it will cost less than a hotel, especially if you have a large family.
Booking a home on Airbnb.com has one drawback: if you have just registered on this site, there is a risk that you will not be able to rent any home you like. The owners may refuse you, seeing that you are a beginner without feedback. You are also advised to evade apartments and houses with no rating.