2021-11-15T18:04:13-05:00March 16th, 2021|

Immigration 101: How much does it cost to immigrate to Canada

Globally, Canada is rated very high for having an excellent quality of life, a well-developed public education system, and access to healthcare. In 2020, Canada was ranked second as the best country (overall) in the world by the U.S. News., dominating the rankings with high scores in the quality of life, citizenship and business categories. Some other important factors that make Canada an attractive country on the global stage are its multicultural population and welcoming immigration policies. 

Moving to a new country is not only a huge life decision but also requires a substantial financial commitment. In this article, we will share the total cost breakdown for a few key types of applications – Express Entry, Provincial Nominee Programs (PNP), a study permit, and a working holiday visa.

Cost of applying for immigration to Canada through Express Entry and the PNP

Generally speaking, as an individual applicant you would need approximately $15,500 CAD to immigrate to Canada. Couples would need around $21,000 CAD while families with children will require between $25,000 to $30,000 CAD. The table below provides a detailed breakdown of expected immigration costs. 

Last updated on August 13, 2021; all figures in CAD.

Fee TypeNotesIndividualCoupleCouple + 1 ChildCouple + 2 Children
Language tests (IELTS, CELPIP, TEF, or TCF)Average cost.300600600600
Educational Credential Evaluation (ECA)Cost excluding international courier delivery charges.200400400400
BiometricsCharges for 2 or more people remain the same provided all members are applying at the same time and place.85170170170
Medical examsAverage cost; fee varies by country.100200300400
Application processing fee 8251,6501,8752,100
Right of permanent residence fee5001,0001,0001,000
Miscellaneous fees (police certificate, transcripts, courier delivery, photos, notaries, translations, etc.)Average (assumed) cost.250500600700
Settlement fundsNot applicable for Canadian Experience Class (CEC).13,21316,44920,22224,553

Those applying through the PNP, are required to pay additional application fees based on the province they are applying to. Here is an overview of the provincial fees:

Last updated on February 23, 2021


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The figures outlined here only include the cost of filing an immigration application. In addition to these costs, you will need to budget for your flight, accommodation, and other living expenses. Use Arrive’s monthly expenses calculator to plan your finances as you prepare for your life in Canada.

Cost of applying for a Canadian study permit for international students

Unlike the Express Entry or PNP, calculating the total cost of applying for a student permit is slightly complex as universities and colleges have different application fees. You must be accepted into a Canadian Designated Learning Institution in order to be able to apply for a study permit. Here’s a broad overview of the costs you can expect: 

Last updated on February 23, 2021

Fee TypeCost per individual
($ CAD)
University/college application fees: These are processing fees charged by the university. This fee is non-refundable irrespective of whether or not you get accepted. Note that some colleges don’t charge an application fee.Ranges between 100 to 500
Study permit application fee150
Biometrics feeIndividual: 85
2 or more people applying at the same time and place: 170
Language testing (if required)Average cost: 300 
Medical exams (if required)Fee varies by country.
Average cost: 100
Miscellaneous expenses (police certificate, transcripts, courier delivery, photos, notaries, translations, etc.) Average (assumed) cost: 250
Tuition feesVaries by programs/courses and the college or university you enrol at. 

Average annual tuition 2020/2021:
Undergraduate program: 32,019
Post-graduate program: 19,252
MBA program: 29,313

Health insurance600 to 1,000
Funds to support your stay and/or a Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC) All provinces except Quebec: 10,000 per year.
In Quebec: 11,000 per year
More details available on the government of Canada website.

Get your GIC with RBC
Students from select countries can get their study permit for Canada in as few as 20 days when you apply through the Government of Canada’s Student Direct Stream (SDS) program. Having a GIC account with a minimum of $10,000 CAD at a participating Canadian financial institution is a mandatory requirement for the SDS. If you have confirmation of enrollment from a Canadian university or college, you can get started today. Connect with an RBC Advisor to open your GIC and begin your student journey.

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Cost of applying for a International Experience Canada (IEC) – Working Holiday Visa for Canada

IEC allows eligible individuals to apply for a Working Holiday Visa. To apply through this program, youth from over 30 countries can apply to live and work in Canada. These are countries that have an agreement with Canada for allowing its citizens to apply for an IEC work permit. The permits are valid for either 12 or 24 months, depending on your country of citizenship. More details about this program are available on the Government website

Here is an overview of some of the fees for the working holiday visa:

Last updated on February 23, 2021

Fee TypeCost ($ CAD)
IEC participation fee156
Open work permit holder fee100
Biometrics fee85
Medical exam (if required)Fee varies by country. Average cost: 100
Minimum funds to support your stay2,500
Health insuranceStarts from approximately 400 per year, varies by coverage amount and deductible.

Having sufficient finances to support your application process as well as life in Canada is an essential factor while you apply to immigrate. It is recommended to familiarize yourself with the limits set by the Canadian government so you can plan your move with confidence.

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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.