How Much It Costs to Move to Canada

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If you want to know how much it costs to move to Canada, this post will show you.

I arrived in Canada in August 2013. Since then, I have seen friends and expats also considering moving here. As a travel blogger, talking about finance is not my forte; however, I have learned that moving to Canada involves a substantial sum that not everyone can afford. So if you are considering Canada as a new home, you need to consider the cost of moving.

The actual cost of moving to Canada

My own moving started one night in May 2013, when I received an email from the University of Windsor offering me admission to their social science program. I put together my offer, my teaching assistantship grant, and the other documents needed for a visa application.

On August 20th, 2013, I landed at Toronto Pearson Airport, having embarked on the most expensive trip of my life.

The transcontinental flight to Canada

My visa application was approved at the end of July, and school starts in August. With only four weeks to decide which flight was the best value to take me on a one-way trip halfway around the world to Canada, I began an intense online search to compare the cost of each airline, routes, and estimated departure and arrival times.

As I set limits for the airfare and was determined to arrive during the daytime, not many options were open to me.

My one-way flight ticket alone cost over $1,500, before adding the cost of two hours’ transit to Shanghai, several nights in a hotel, farewell meals, and a four-hour trip from Toronto to Windsor.

the cost of moving to Canada

Toronto skyline from the airplane

Proof of financial eligibility

To enter Canada, I had to have evidence of funds to cover one-year’s tuition plus living expenses deposited in my bank account. Although these funds are mine to keep, this was a costly requirement.

Canada sets extremely high tuition fees for international students. Our tuition costs several times more than the same programs for domestic students. We also need savings to cover the cost of living.

how much it costs to move to Canada

Comparison of tuition fees between domestic and international students at the University of British Columbia. *Sources: The University of British Columbia 

Rebuying stuff in Canada

Moving to Canada when you already have a life elsewhere is expensive. Even though you are permitted to ship two suitcases to Canada, you cannot take all your furniture, bedding, books, and outfits with you.

So, once I arrived in Canada, I had to purchase lots of items I had already purchased in a more expensive country. Fortunately, the place where I stayed was furnished, with a fully equipped kitchen, which saved me a lot of money.

Buying new outfits in Canada is not only an option but a requirement. The winter coat I brought with me could not keep out the extreme cold weather here, so I had to purchase new ones in the stores. Altogether, I have spent hundreds of dollars on winter clothes and boots.

how much it costs to move to Canada

In Montreal, winter often gets below -20 Celsius for months

Rent in Canada

Once you arrive in Canada, you have to look for a place to rent, and renting in Canada is not cheap.

If you live in a metropolis, expect to pay between $600 and $2,000 per month per person. Some rental properties are unfurnished and the rent does not include electricity or the internet, so you will have to factor that cost into your monthly budget.

When I lived on the university campus, I paid $2,800 per semester for a room in a house. After graduating, I moved to Toronto and paid $650 per month for a room in a townhouse in Scarborough.

how much it costs to move to Canada

Vancouver, a place of dreams for many, is expensive to live in.

Visiting friends and family back home

The idea of moving to Canada on my own after spending four years in the USA was mental, in the eyes of my family and friends. In fact, moving 9,380 km away from home without a guaranteed future was a bit insane, but I was determined.

Meanwhile, I am at the age where friends and relatives are getting married and having children, so I have missed out on my best friends’ weddings and baby showers. I feel bad for not being able to celebrate these beautiful moments with them. Over time, I have become used to miss out on these sorts of celebrations, but hearing my family go through hard times and death is something else. An urgent trip back home is not cheap. Even hopping on the most affordable airline, it is a 12 to 16 hours trip and from $1,200 airfare.

Add in the gifts, accommodation costs, trips with family and friends, dining out, and so forth, I estimate it costs $2,000 to make a short visit home.

The dreaded immigration application

Then comes the most important issue of all: permanent resident in Canada, if you plan to settle in the country.

I paid $2,825 in 2015 just for the permanent resident application.

Additionally, I had to pay for three non-criminal record checks, medical exams, printing, mailing, an English language test, a visit to the USA and Canada border, a hotel stay, and everything in between.

I estimate the whole process, from submitting my application to getting my permanent resident, cost about $3,500 to $4,000.

how much it costs to move to Canada

Walking around the border between the USA and Canada in Niagara Falls

Depending on the program you apply to, Immigration Canada may require you to have settlement funds, a job offer, or both. If you have a partner and children, the cost will be a lot higher, regardless of whether they are moving with you.

When I applied back in 2015, I was required to have around CAD 11,000 saved to qualify for permanent residence. For the most up-to-date information on settlement funds, you can check here.

If you plan to apply for citizenship afterward, there are a lot more expenses to come.

Are you planning to move to Canada? Share your thoughts below.

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How much does it cost to move to Canada

Julie Cao
 

Julie is the creator of Always On The Way. She lived in Hawaii and now resides in London (Ontario, Canada). In 2017, she went on an overland trip from Bogota Colombia to Puerto Williams, the southernmost city in the world. She believes travel is not only about visiting tourist attractions but more about getting to know the culture, people, and the place.

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