If you’re planning to apply for permanent residence (PR) through Express Entry, you must meet several eligibility requirements to qualify. In addition to demonstrating foreign work experience and proficiency in English or French, you may also need to prove that you have enough money to settle in Canada.
Newcomers often have questions about the settlement funds requirement, and in this article, we explain how to show proof of funds for Express Entry while immigrating to Canada. We’ll also address commonly asked questions such as who needs to show proof of funds, how much money you need to move to Canada, and how you can bring your settlement funds to Canada with you.
In this article:
What is proof of settlement funds? Why is it required?
When you’re moving to Canada as a new permanent resident, one of the essential immigration requirements is proof of settlement funds. These documents show that you have enough money to provide for yourself and your family for your initial months as you settle in Canada and start your new life.
Settlement funds are different from your application processing fees. You do not need to give your settlement funds to the government. However, you do need to prove that these funds are available to you to cover your living expenses during your initial months in Canada.
|| Note: Some proof of funds or financial support may also be required for other immigration programs, including temporary residence programs like study permits and work permits. However, this article only covers proof of settlement funds for Express Entry.
Who needs to show proof of funds for Express Entry?
Not all Express Entry applicants need to show proof of funds. However, you must show adequate proof of settlement funds if you’re applying for PR under one of the following Express Entry programs:
- Federal Skilled Worker (FSW) program: This program is for highly skilled professionals with foreign experience and education who wish to settle in Canada permanently.
- Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP): This program is for skilled tradespeople with foreign work experience who want to immigrate to Canada permanently.
Who does not need to show proof of funds for immigration to Canada?
If you’re applying for PR under the Canadian Experience Class (CEC) program of Express Entry, you don’t need to provide proof of settlement funds. You can only apply under CEC if you have at least one year of Canadian work experience. If you are applying under this program, it is assumed that you are already settled here.
The proof of funds requirement is also waived for Federal Skilled Worker (FSW) and Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP) applicants who have a valid Canadian job offer and are authorized to work in Canada.
What is the settlement funds requirement for Canadian immigration?
The amount of settlement funds you need to immigrate to Canada depends on the size of your family, including yourself, your spouse or common-law partner, and dependent children. You must include your family members in your settlement funds calculation even if they are not accompanying you to Canada or are already in Canada as permanent residents or citizens.
As of April 2023, the minimum settlement funds you need to bring when immigrating to Canada are as follows:
The Government calculates this funds requirement based on 50 per cent of the current Low Income Cut-Off (LICO) in Canada. Assuming it will take six months to find employment and become financially settled, the settlement funds you bring should allow you to meet your essential living expenses until then.
The LICO and settlement funds requirements are revised each year to account for inflation and changes to the cost of living in Canada, so be sure to check the government’s website for the latest proof of funds requirement before applying for Express Entry.
How much money do you need to immigrate to Canada?
When budgeting for your move to Canada, the settlement funds you’ve set aside may not be enough to cover the entire cost of immigration.
At the application stage, you’ll have to budget for several small but essential expenses, including the language test and educational credential assessment costs. You’ll also need to account for your application processing fee, right of permanent residence fee, biometrics, medical examination, and more. These expenses can cost between $1,500 and $2,500, depending on the size of your family. You’ll also need to pay for your travel to Canada, including flight tickets, extra baggage charges, and a hotel or short-term rental for your first few days in Canada.
In addition to application costs, you’ll need to bring settlement funds: ideally, you should bring enough money to cover your living expenses in Canada for at least six months. Although the settlement funds requirement is set keeping this in mind, the cost of living in Canada can vary significantly based on which city or province you live in. Your expenses may vary based on your lifestyle, but typically, you’ll need to budget for accommodation, groceries, food, transportation, phone and internet bills, clothes, and entertainment. You can use the Arrive cost of living in Canada calculator to estimate your monthly expenses in your chosen city and bring money over and above the minimum settlement funds requirement if your projected expenses are high.
How to show proof of funds for Canadian immigration
You’ll need to show proof of funds in the form of official letters from banks or financial institutions where you have money, either in your home country or Canada. Each letter must include:
- The financial institution’s letterhead
- The bank or financial institution’s contact information, including its address, phone number, and email address
- Your name
- Details of all the banking and investment accounts you hold with the bank, including bank account numbers, the date on which each account was opened, current balance, and average balance for the past six months
- Your outstanding debt with the financial institution, including loans, mortgages, or credit card debt.
If your spouse or common-law partner is accompanying you to Canada, you can also show money you hold together in a joint account or funds in your partner’s account, as long as you can prove you have access to those funds.
Your settlement funds should be easily accessible when you’re in Canada. Assets that are not liquid or cannot be liquidated immediately, such as real estate investments or equity in a property are not considered proof of settlement funds. Moreover, you cannot borrow money from someone else to show proof of funds.
Can I use gift money to show proof of funds for Express Entry?
You may be able to use the money you’ve received from an immediate family member, such as your parents, spouse, or siblings, to show proof of settlement funds for immigration to Canada. However, you should be able to prove that the money is a gift, not a loan. To do that, you must include the following supporting documents with your PR application:
- A notarized gift deed, stating the name and address of the person gifting you the funds, the amount being gifted, when and how the gift is being made (through cheque, cash, bank transfer, etc.), and the donor’s tax information. It should also clarify that the funds are a gift and they will not reclaim the amount from you in the future.
- A notarized affidavit attesting to the information stated in the gift deed and clarifying that the donor has paid tax on the gifted funds.
- Letter of explanation from you to provide supplementary information regarding the source of your settlement funds. In this letter, you must include how much money you received as a gift and from whom. You should also include your contact information in the letter so IRCC can reach you if they have any questions or concerns.
If you’ve received funds as a gift from a friend or distant relative, convincing the IRCC officer can be more difficult, so make sure your letter of explanation also states why the gift was made to you.
Since you’re only required to submit bank statements for the past six months, you may not need a detailed explanation, gift deed, or affidavit for monetary gifts received by you before that.
How to get a proof of funds letter for Express Entry
You’ll need to contact your banks or financial institutions to get proof of funds letters for immigration to Canada. For financial institutions in your home country, you can either visit a branch in-person or speak to your bank representative over the phone or by email and request that they issue a proof of funds letter with the required information. If needed, you can share a template they can use or explain what information is required in the letter.
It can be helpful to let your financial institution know the purpose of this letter and when you need it. Some banks may have a standard template for a proof of funds letter for Canadian immigration, which can make the process faster for you. If your application deadline is approaching, follow up with your bank at regular intervals to avoid delay in receiving the document. When you receive the letter, double-check it to ensure the information captured is accurate and all your accounts are included.
If you’ve transferred some funds to a Canadian bank, contact your bank over the phone or via email to get your bank account details and a proof of deposit receipt.
When do you need proof of funds for Express Entry?
You are required to submit your proof of settlement funds only after you get an Invitation to Apply (ITA) for PR. However, when you create your Express Entry profile, you’ll have to provide an estimate of how much money you’ll bring to Canada.
Once you get an ITA, you have 60 days to submit all essential paperwork, including your proof of settlement funds. It can take a while to get these documents from your banks so be sure to contact them for proof of funds letters as soon as you get your ITA. Ideally, your bank statements and letters should be as recent as possible, so avoid starting the process before you get your ITA.
The settlement funds should also be available to you when your PR visa is issued and when you enter Canada. If you’re unable to prove you have access to the minimum required settlement funds based on your family size when you arrive in Canada, the visa officer can deny you entry into the country.
When entering Canada, you can bring these funds with you in the form of cash, bank drafts, money orders, travellers’ cheques, stocks, bonds, treasury bills, or debentures. You can also start the process of opening a Canadian bank account before you arrive and transfer your settlement funds to ensure you have easy access to your money once you arrive.
How much money can you bring while immigrating to Canada?
There’s no limit to the funds you can bring while moving to Canada permanently. However, if you bring over $10,000 per family in the form of cash, stocks, bonds, debentures, treasury bills, banker’s drafts, cheques, travellers’ cheques, or money orders, you must declare it at the border. This is due to Canada’s commitment to fight money laundering.
You do not need to pay tax on these funds, provided you can clearly show where the money came from if questioned by a customs officer. If you’re bringing money in the form of Canadian currency, be sure to carry purchase receipts to prove that you acquired the money legally using your tax-paid savings.
You can declare the funds you bring using a Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) declaration card at the border, at a CBSA kiosk at your arrival airport, or by using the Advanced CBSA declaration feature in the ArriveCAN portal or app. If you don’t declare your funds or convincingly answer questions about the source of those funds, your money can be seized and you can be fined.
Moving to Canada can be expensive, especially if you’re immigrating from a country that has a relatively low cost of living. The government’s proof of settlement funds requirement helps ensure that newcomers have enough funds available to cover essential living expenses during their first few months. However, the cost of living in Canada can vary significantly depending on which province or city you plan to settle in. It’s recommended that you estimate your monthly expenses and bring enough funds to cover your first six months at minimum, even if it is more than the required settlement funds for immigration.