One of the questions I get asked most by people looking to move to Canada is, “How much does it cost to move to Canada?” This is a complex question as the cost to move to Canada is based on the Canadian immigration program that you apply under.
In this article, I am going to go over the different costs to move to Canada based on two of Canada’s most popular Canadian immigration programs: the Canadian Experience Class (CEC) and Federal Skilled Worker (FSW), which are submitted through the Express Entry system.
When looking at the true cost of moving to Canada, there are two stages of costs to examine:
- The first stage is the costs of the immigration application process. This includes all costs involved with obtaining your applicable visa.
- The second stage is the costs pertaining to the actual move.
When looking at the costs of the first stage, if you were immigrating to Canada through the Canadian Experience Class or as a Federal Skilled Worker, your average costs for a family of four would be as follows:
|Applicable Government / Third-Party Fee||Applicable Fees Due for a Family of Four|
|Government Application fees||~ $3,360|
|Language testing||~ $700|
|Having foreign degrees assessed||~ $545|
|Criminal background check||~ $50|
|Medical examinations||~ $860|
|Passport transmission fees||~ $80|
|Total Costs||~ $5,595|
If you are applying as a Federal Skilled Worker, or Federal Skilled Tradesperson (unless you’re already authorized to work in Canada and have a valid job offer), you are also going to have to have the required amount of settlement funds available in addition to the above amount.
Settlement funds are based on family size, and need to be liquid, readily available and unencumbered by debts. Even if your dependents (spouse and dependent children) will not be accompanying you, you need to have enough settlement funds for your family size including them. The amounts required are as follows:
|Number of family members||Required funds (in CAD)|
|1 (single applicant)||$13,310|
|For each additional family member, add||$3,586|
Remember, your settlement funds are not a fee you have to pay for immigration. Rather, these are funds you keep and can use to settle into your new life in Canada.
Let’s move onto costs for stage two: the move. If you are immigrating to Canada from overseas, your average moving costs for a family of four would be as follows:
|Applicable Moving Expense||Cost|
|Moving household goods of a four bedroom home (20 – 40 foot container)||~ $10,000|
|Medical insurance for a family of four for 90 days before going onto government medical||~ $1,000|
|Airline tickets (varies depending on month of travel||~ $6,000|
|Total Costs||~ $17,000|
For some people, it may be cheaper to sell their household goods and to buy new goods in Canada.
Please note, the table above outlines costs for the relocation and does not include your day-to-day expenses after arrival in Canada. Depending on which part of Canada you are moving to, your actual day-to-day costs may be more, less, or the same as your day-to-day expenses in your home country. This will, of course, depend on the comparative costs of things such as rent/mortgage payments, cell phones, internet, car payments, petrol, groceries and so forth.
10 steps to follow to move to Canada
If you’re thinking you have the budget to manage your move to Canada, you can follow this 10 step process to make your Canadian dream a reality.
Check if you qualify for any of the current available immigration programs based on your specific background. You can start with a free assessment here:
If you don’t qualify, the next step would be to look for a job in Canada. If you can secure employment with a Canadian company, or a transfer to a Canadian branch of your existing company, there may be several options available to you.
Make sure you are not inadmissible to Canada. This could be for several different reasons, including a previous arrest or conviction, or an existing medical condition.
If you qualify for a current permanent immigration program, the next step is typically to do an English or French language test. Family class applicants do not need to take a language test.
If you’re applying through Express Entry (including CEC and FSW), or another program that requires proof of education, you will need to have your foreign educational credentials assessed by one of the approved credential assessing bodies in Canada. They will verify if your credentials are equivalent to a Canadian credential.
Make sure you have a valid passport.
If you are applying as a Federal Skilled Worker, Federal Skilled Tradesperson, or a member of the Canadian Experience Class, then you will enter yourself into the Express Entry pool of candidates. If you are applying through a different program, you must check the application process for that program.
For Express Entry applicants, you will be assigned a Comprehensive Ranking System Score (CRS score), which the government will use to select individuals from the Express Entry pool of candidates for permanent residence.
For Express Entry applicants, if your CRS score is high enough, you may receive an Invitation to Apply (ITA) in an Express Entry draw. In this case, you have 60 days to submit your complete application for permanent residence.
Wait for your PR application to be processed. IRCC strives to process 80 percent of Express Entry applications within 6 months of receipt. However, pandemic-era backlogs have resulted in delayed processing times for many Canadian immigration applications.
Once your PR application is approved — it’s time — make the move to Canada!
Deanne Acres-Lans is a regulated Canadian immigration consultant (R#508363) and founder of Canada Abroad, an Ottawa-based immigration consultancy. She was born and raised in British Columbia, Canada and previously lived in South Africa for 8 years. Deanne has over twelve years of immigration experience, both working for the Canadian Government and in her own private practice.