Preparing to move to Canada is an exciting phase in your newcomer journey, but it can also be an uncertain and stressful time. From figuring out moving details to saying goodbye to friends and family, there’s a lot to manage both logistically and emotionally.
Moving away from your home country isn’t easy. No matter how early you start the planning process, you may still face last minute issues and the general uncertainty that comes with relocating to a new, unknown country. As a newcomer, you’ll also have to deal with other factors that add to the stress, such as anxiety about finding a job in Canada, financial worries, and the idea of being away from loved ones.
During the last few months before your move, you’ll likely be juggling a long list of tasks, including packing your belongings, disposing of items you won’t be taking with you, gathering essential documents, and keeping track of any COVID-19 restrictions that might disrupt or delay your travel plans.
While there will always be times you feel overwhelmed, there are tried and true ways to help overcome stress while planning your move to Canada.
You can also make your moving experience easier by downloading the free Arrive app to map out your newcomer journey to Canada, step by step, and to understand what to expect as you prepare for your life in Canada. Subscribe to our newsletter for more resources to help you navigate through your journey as a newcomer in Canada.
Many newcomers are facing delays in getting their PR applications approved by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). If you’re anxious about when your application will be processed, rest assured, efforts to clear the backlog are already underway and processing times will reduce soon. Canada has immigration targets to achieve and delays don’t mean that your application won’t be processed at all.
- If you’ve already responded to the Invitation to Apply (ITA), wait for a response from IRCC before taking any irreversible actions, such as resigning from your job, vacating your home, or booking your ticket to Canada.
- When it comes to moving to a new country, there’s no such thing as being overprepared. If your application is facing delays, use the extra time to prepare for your move.
- Once you’ve received your Confirmation of Permanent Residence (CoPR) from IRCC, don’t feel pressured to move immediately. Check the expiry date of the visa that’s issued to you and book your travel at a time that makes most sense for you. Moving is a big undertaking and you shouldn’t rush it unnecessarily.
Create a pre-arrival checklist
Proper planning can help you overcome moving stress and anxiety that you’ve missed something along the way. Use the journey feature in the Arrive app to stay on top of your task list and for valuable, timely newcomer resources delivered to you in one place, right when you need them.
- Make a list of all the things you need to do before moving, such as selling your furniture and vehicle, gathering medical records and other documents, packing and moving your belongings, booking flight tickets, and securing temporary accommodation in Canada.
- Research the weather in your city before you start packing. If you’re arriving in winter, be sure to pack enough warm clothes for your first few weeks. If you’ve moving to Canada from a warm country, don’t let the cold weather worry you, but be prepared to purchase winter clothing in Canada.
- Research tasks you’ll need to complete in your first 100 days after arriving in Canada so you’re not caught off guard at the last minute.
Start your job search before you arrive in Canada
Finding your first job in Canada can take time. You can get a head-start by using the pre-arrival period to prepare for your job search. By starting early, you’ll be able to choose a province and city where your skills are in demand. You’ll also be able to better understand the scope of your job in Canada and set your expectations for the types of jobs and salaries that’ll be available to you.
- Research and shortlist companies you want to work with in Canada.
- Create a Canadian-style resume and cover letter. Arrive’s resume tips and templates should serve as a good starting point..
- Start networking before you land. Be sure to optimize your LinkedIn profile before you start reaching out to Canadian professionals in your field. You may even want to ask your contacts to connect and share their expertise with you over virtual coffee chats.
Start applying! With remote interviews as the new norm, you may even be able to land a job before arrival.
Ready to start your job search in Canada? Download our guides on Finding Your Career in Canada and Networking for Newcomers to lay the groundwork for your professional success.
Make a budget for your first six months in Canada
Financial worries are often top of mind for many newcomers as they plan their move to Canada. In most Canadian cities, the cost of living is fairly high and you may need to rely on your savings for your first few months. However, with a little bit of planning, you should be all set to thrive in Canada.
- Use the Arrive monthly expenses calculator to create a budget and be prepared to stick with it.
- Be sure to have enough savings to cover your expenses for the first three to six months in case you don’t find a job right away.
- If you’re worried you’ll fall short, explore the option of taking a survival job while you look for a permanent one. A survival job is a temporary role that’s usually different from your professional field. You may also be able to find freelance work to earn some extra income.
Sign up with pre-arrival settlement agencies
A lot of the moving stress can be attributed to uncertainty and unanswered questions you may have about settling in Canada. Luckily, there are some pre-arrival settlement agencies that can help address these questions and ease your worries.
- Sign up with an authorized government-funded settlement agency, such as Planning for Canada or ACCES Employment. In most cases, you can only register with free settlement agencies after you’ve received your COPR.
- These agencies can help with settlement advice, career guidance, and provide valuable insights on navigating your initial months in Canada.
- Some agencies even offer one-on-one career guidance, including support in creating a Canadian resume and preparing for interviews.
Talk to friends and family members who are in Canada
No matter how hard the journey is, someone has likely traveled this road before you. Use your preparation time to connect with family and friends who are already living in Canada.
- Ask them to share their experiences of moving to Canada and use their insights to plan better and avoid common newcomer mistakes.
- Build a network of people you can rely on in case of an emergency. Keep a list of important contact numbers and addresses of people you know in Canada along with your essential documents.
Keep track of COVID-19 related travel restrictions and requirements
With the ongoing pandemic, there’s always a risk that countries may impose border restrictions or introduce new measures to limit international travel. These uncertainties can be very stressful and it’s important to stay updated on the Canadian government’s travel restrictions so you can make changes to your plan, if required.
- Allocate time to get your COVID-19 vaccinations and pre-arrival COVID-19 test to avoid last minute delays. To be considered fully-vaccinated, you’ll need to have received both doses (one dose if you’ve received the Johnson and Johnson vaccine) of a vaccine approved by Health Canada at least 14 days prior to your travel.
- Gather your proof of vaccination documents. You will need these both for entry into Canada as well as to get your provincial vaccine passport after you arrive.
- Create a quarantine plan. While fully-vaccinated travelers are typically exempt from quarantine, you may still be asked to quarantine if border officials suspect that you have COVID-19 symptoms or have been exposed to the virus during your journey.
- Download the ArriveCAN app and upload your information.
- Have a backup plan in case additional travel restrictions are imposed and your travel gets postponed. For instance, opt for refundable or open flight tickets, so you can change your travel dates, if needed.
- As much as possible, adhere to social distancing and masking best practices in the weeks preceding your travel to Canada.
Create a list of things you’re excited about
Focusing on the positive aspects of your move is a great way to avoid stress. Remember that any stress and uncertainty will be short-lived and you’re on your way to fulfill your dream of living in Canada!
- Make a list of things you’re looking forward to seeing or doing in Canada. Your first snowfall? Visiting the CN Tower? Canada has so much to offer and once you’ve arrived, most of your worries will be forgotten.
- Read up on Canadian culture to stay excited. Arrive has articles on adapting to life in Canada, Indigenous culture, celebrating the holiday season, appreciating Canadian festivals including Thanksgiving and Halloween, and much more.
Take a break from planning
Planning a move to a new country can be overwhelming. Be sure to take a break from your to-do list to relax and unwind.
- Find time to spend with your family and friends before your move. As great as virtual communication is, nothing beats meeting in-person.
- Be sure to exercise and eat healthy meals. It’s easy to forget the essentials when you have so much to do in a short time.
As you prepare for your move to Canada, there will be times when you feel overwhelmed and stressed by all the tasks you need to complete. These tips should help you put a proper plan in action to overcome the uncertainty that comes with moving to a new country.
The Arrive mobile app is your essential companion to prepare for your life in Canada. Whether you’re planning your move or have recently landed in Canada, you’ll get the information and resources you need, when you need them, all in one place.
Arrive is powered by RBC Ventures Inc, a subsidiary of Royal Bank of Canada. In collaboration with RBC, Arrive is dedicated to helping newcomers achieve their life, career, and financial goals in Canada. An important part of establishing your financial life in Canada is finding the right partner to invest in your financial success. RBC is the largest bank in Canada* and here to be your partner in all of your financial needs. RBC supports Arrive, and with a 150-year commitment to newcomer success in Canada, RBC goes the extra mile in support and funding to ensure that the Arrive newcomer platform is FREE to all. Working with RBC, Arrive can help you get your financial life in Canada started – right now. Learn about your banking options in Canada and be prepared. Click here to book an appointment with an advisor.
* Based on market capitalization
This article offers general information only and is not intended as legal, financial or other professional advice. A professional advisor should be consulted regarding your specific situation. While information presented is believed to be factual and current, its accuracy is not guaranteed and it should not be regarded as a complete analysis of the subjects discussed. All expressions of opinion reflect the judgment of the author(s) as of the date of publication and are subject to change. No endorsement of any third parties or their advice, opinions, information, products or services is expressly given or implied by Royal Bank of Canada or its affiliates.