Arriving in Canada: A Comprehensive Guide for Glocal Immigration

Before Your Arrival:

Ensure all family members, including children, enter Canada before the visa expiry date. While simultaneous entry is not mandatory, either the main applicant should enter first, or all family members should enter together.

Upon Arrival at the Airport:

  1. Present passports, Confirmation of Permanent Residency documents, and completed customs cards received on the plane.
  2. Proceed to immigration for document processing and customs paperwork (refer to “Declaring Your Goods”).
  3. Safeguard the copy of Confirmation of Permanent Residency provided by the officer.

Airport Arrival Checklist:


  1. Confirmation of Permanent Residency (COPR) and/or permanent resident visa
  2. Passport
  3. Proof of funds to support yourself and your family

Declaring Your Goods:

Complete a BSF186 – Personal Effects Accounting Document to declare all goods, whether accompanying or shipped later, and present it to the officer on arrival.

Moving to Canada with Pets:

Ensure pets meet species and home country requirements. Refer to specific regulations for each animal type on the Canada Border Services Agency website.

Moving to Canada with Firearms:

Adhere to specific requirements for importing weapons or firearms. Consider selling and repurchasing in Canada after meeting necessary tests and licensing requirements.

Obtaining Your Permanent Residency Card:

Provide a Canadian mailing address at the airport. If unavailable, complete a form for mailing once available. Permanent Residency cards are not mailed outside Canada.

Permanent Resident Travel Document:

Submit applications in person if not in possession of a permanent resident card. Visa-exempt passport holders require a Permanent Residency Travel Document.

Government Medical Insurance:

Contact the province’s health department for requirements. In Ontario, apply with two original documents showing the address.

Social Insurance Number (SIN):

Obtain your Canadian tax number at the nearest Service Canada Centre, bringing your passport and Confirmation of Permanent Residency.

Canadian Driver’s License:

Check provincial requirements for obtaining a license. Some provinces allow swapping existing licenses based on driving experience.

Opening a Canadian Bank Account:

Initiate the process with your visa copy. Deposit funds and activate the account in person, scheduling an appointment with the bank.

Canadian Credit Card:

Request a credit card during the account activation meeting to build your credit score.

Canadian Cell Phone Number:

Choose from various carriers not requiring a Canadian credit card. Options include Freedom Mobile, Chatr Mobile, Koodo, and others.

Childcare and Schooling:

Enroll children in school or daycare after arrival. Explore provincial services for assistance in finding accredited preschools or daycares.

Maintaining Permanent Residency:

Stay physically present in Canada for at least 730 days within each five-year period. Keep a travel journal to track your time in the country.

Obtaining Citizenship:

To be eligible, you must be a permanent resident, have lived in Canada for 3 out of the last 5 years, filed taxes (if required), passed a test on rights and responsibilities, and proven language skills in French or English.