The First Things You Need In Canada
Once you land in Canada, here are the first things you NEED to do.
- Get your SIN
- Get a local number
- Setup a bank account
Of course, this assumes you already have a “permanent” place to stay. We stayed with a friend temporarily, so that’s one extra thing we had to do. We’ll write about this experience soon.
Get Your SIN
Your Social Insurance Number (SIN) is a nine-digit number you’ll need to work in Canada. I assume you’ll want to work and earn while you study in Canada, so this should be on top of your list, and we highly recommend that you get this within your first week.
Do NOT share your SIN with anyone — except your employer.
⚠️ There are lots of scammers who will offer bogus jobs, so be extra careful.
You can apply for a SIN at any Service Canada office. All you need is your study or work permit with you. We will write more about our experience getting our SIN shortly, so stay tuned.
Story Time: It was a week before classes when we arrived in Canada, and the lines at Service Canada were crazy long. We got there at 630am and were already 15th in line. Good thing, too, because 15 minutes later, the folks after us had to line up outside… in the winter cold. That might have been because of the pandemic social distancing, but you might want to get there early too.
Get a Local Number
Getting a local number should be your second priority.
Prospective employers will (most probably) ignore your application if you do not have a local number. Even friends who want to refer us asked that we have our Canadian number on our resume.
As you navigate your new city, Google Maps will be your best friend. However, its offline mode is still pretty wonky. With a data plan, getting around will be much easier.
Setup a Bank Account
Since you probably brought some cash, setting up a bank account should be next on your list. I hope you did because transferring from your home country will incur expensive processing fees.
*Note: A friend told me you don’t have to worry about the $10,000 limit. You can simply declare this with Customs, and they will allow it since they know you need that cash for your new life here. Disclaimer: We did not go over the limit. We only found out after we landed 😞
When choosing a bank, I suggest you check out their website for newcomer promos. They will usually offer accounts with zero fees for the first year and even have some cashback promotions. I would also suggest banks that will issue you and your spouse a credit card so that you can start working on your credit score. 😉
Story Time: We went with the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC) since they provided both of these, zero fees for the first year, and credit cards for both of us.
Welcome to Canada
Now, get out there and make a mark for yourself!
See you again soon as we share other things you may WANT to do to help you start your new adventure.