For all-important Government formalities, you need:
✔ COPR (stamped by the Immigration officer at the port of entry)
✔ ADDRESS ( This can be tricky if you’re accommodation is booked with Airbnb or hotel for a few weeks)
If you have friends/family in the same city, give their address.
Once landing in Canada and completing the PR formalities in immigration, you become a permanent resident (PR) of Canada. Congratulations.
You will receive your first PR card by post on the address that you have mentioned at the immigration. It can take some time ranging from 2-5 months.
In case, it was a temporary address you will need to contact them separately either at their office or online.
Specify the address you want them to mail at.
My experience was less than smooth, we received our PR card within 3 months of landing in Canada at the provided mail address.
Most PR cards are valid for 5 years. Once you get a PR card, carry it if traveling outside of Canada as you will need it to re-enter the country.
If your PR card will expire within six months, you should apply to renew your card.
After obtaining a PR card, you have the right to receive most of the social benefits that a citizen of Canada receives.
What are the benefits?
How to apply?
Social Identification Number (SIN)
Without Social insurance number, short-form SIN no one can get a job and access to any government Programs & Benefits in Canada. A nine-digit number that identifies a person is crucial not only to get a job but also to open a bank account. Therefore, apply for this as soon as you land in Canada.
In order to do that, reach Service Canada in your city to have that issued to you.
Ensure that you get the SIN number for all your family members including kids as some Children’s benefits and services require the child SIN number as well.
IMPORTANT THING👉 it’s a confidential number and can open the door to your personal information, whereas, can put you at risk of fraud and identity theft. Therefore, store any document containing your SIN number in a safe place. Also, do not disclose your number with anyone other than employers or government officials.
Now that the SIN number is issued, you will be able to open a bank account. Almost all the banks have startup programs for new immigrants and they will open a bank account with your passport, COPR ( Confirmation of Permanent Resident) and SIN number.
Moreover, some banks offer a free locker for one year and may issue with no annual fee credit cards with a lower limit to help you start building a credit history in Canada.
Although, it differs from India, what we have is savings is called a chequing account in Canada.
Start building your credit history as soon as you get a credit card from your local bank. Things are tough if you don’t have one. And when you come for the first time, you really do to have one regardless of how good your credit history was wherever you come from.
As a rule, go to the local bank & open a bank account. Research credit cards and get one with no fee and cashback if you can. Also, always pay in full and on time.
Consequently, you will be able to buy tangible items and most importantly expensive items such as a car, home, vacation and so on.
Health care in Canada is great as no fee required for basic medical services. To get this service, you need to apply for a health card in the province you live as all provinces have their own terms, conditions & waiting time periods.
Based on my personal understanding, most of the provinces can issue an HC almost immediately once you have applied for the one, no wait time.
Provide supporting documentation to the designated office ie passport, stamped CORP, and address.
Once issued it will give you access to medical services like Walk-in Clinics.
Absolutely a wonderful program, no worries about getting injured while playing your favorite sport or getting a cold and thinking of how to pay those huge medical bills 👍
Child & GST/HST benefit
Child Benefit is a government-run program for parents who have kids under the age of 18. Every Canadian Citizen and PR (Permanent Resident) has the right to access this benefit. Make sure that you apply for it and provide all the details in the requested forms. You may need to physically mail the forms to the assigned government address. The benefit is tax-free and is paid monthly to eligible families.
There is another government program for getting back some of the GST/HST based on your income. Make sure that you apply for that as well after coming to Canada. Printed forms are to be mailed to the specified address.
The application for both Child and GST/HST benefit is a one time work and will automatically be taken care of next year when you file for your Canadian income tax return.
Both benefits will be calculated based on the family income that you had in the previous year and the amount you get depends on your tax return.
They both without a doubt are very good programs to support families who are new to the country and neither have jobs or low household income.
Again a great initiative by the Canadian Government and one must take the benefit of it.
Government ID card
Last but not the least, a government Identification card that you will need to travel within Canada. As the name suggests, it is a government proved identification card and you need that in case you don’t drive and don’t have a driver’s license.
If you have a Driving Licence from your home country, bring it with you. If it is not in English, apply for the international license in your country.
By and large, you are eligible to drive for 90 days post your arrival (make sure to check the terms and conditions of the province you live in).
Also, another important thing that you plan to have the Driving License issued in your respective province.
To do this you may need to take a written test and then pass a driving test to issue a DL.
For cars, its the Class 5 license that you need.
Provincial DL is accepted as the valid proof for almost everything and by everyone.
If you do not drive, you can still apply for a Provincial Identity Card which is considered a valid card, except that you cannot drive.
All in all
The above Government programs will support the emotional, social & personal well being of a new immigrant, without a doubt. So do your research, follow the steps accurately.
A meticulously planned post & pre-landing as a Permanent Resident in Canada will make the whole process of settling in a smooth & easy for you and your family.
Don’t be scared, as a new immigrant, we know how grueling it is & how hard it can be. We are all in this together 😊
If you found this article useful, share, like & comment 💖