Everything you need to know, it’s here!
“Life is short, break the rules, forgive quickly, kiss slowly, love truly, laugh uncontrollably, and never regret anything that made you smile. Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” ― Mark Twain
Thinking about moving out to Canada? I’ve done all the process 2 years ago, so I can tell you that you are in the right place! When I’ve decided to make the move I blindly went through the process, not exactly sure if what we were doing was correct. So, I think to share with you all I know could perhpas help some of you. Find more about Montreal here.
Step 1. Apply for a working holiday visa
The working holiday visa for Canada (officially called the International Experience Canada visa) is available to people from a number of countries (see the list here) and for most countries you need to be between 18 to 30 years olds. The working visa is now available for two years for French citizens.
Applying is super simple. First, you need to ensure your country is eligible for this visa by checking here. Once you know you are eligible to apply you need to make an account on Kompass. After your account has been created you just go through the process online, and submit scanned documents such as a copy of your passport, criminal record, and resume. There is no interview (unlike the US visas) so it’s nice and easy!
The fee for the visa is $150 Canadian dollars.
Once you have your Letter of Introduction, that’s all you need to do visa-wise until you enter Canada!
Step 2. Choose the area you want to live in and book your flights! Most of French choose Montreal but there is some awesome cities like Vancouver!
Canada is a very large country with a lot of options. I recommend doing research into each area to see what fits you best. You may choose a certain provence depending on its climate, work opportunities, close to people you know … it’s up to you!
From France it’s always to book your flight with Air Transat as they operates from cities like Toulouse, Lyon, Marseille or Paris. The price are decent but don’t forget that they are low cost so if you want to cancel your flight make to sure to buy the option.
Step 3. Organise your travel insurance
One of the requirements of the working visa is that you have valid insurance for the entire duration of your stay in Canada. It can get a little pricey, yet is so important! I choose Globe Partner but there is many different ones.
They say you need to have proof of insurance at immigration when you enter Canada, so ensure you have the Certificate of Insurance printed out. In our case they didn’t ask for it, but better be safe then sorry!
Step 4. Finding a place to live
This can be a tricky step. You may have never been to this new city you are moving to before. How will you know what area you want to live in, do you want to have your own flat or move in with people you have never met, what is your budget, will I find work in the area? Many, many questions to think about.
You could choose the Airbnb option or to go in a cheap hotel for a week. It depends with what your more confortable with. I stayed 2 weeks in an hotel which was situated downtown Montreal, that was perfect to find my first apartment.
Step 5. It’s immigration time
When you enter Canada, whether it’s via an air, land, or sea port, you’ll need these things:
- Letter of Introduction (the proof you’re eligible for the working holiday visa, sent to you via email after you’ve gone through the process in Step 1).
- Certificate of Insurance for the duration you want to be in Canada for.
- Proof of funds of over $2500 CAD (a bank statement or similar).
- An exit ticket from Canada
- Your passport.
Once you arrive in Canada you will be asked to go into a separate area for immigration to organise your working holiday visa. The lines can get long so ensure you have left plenty of time if you do have any connecting flights. Luckily for me it didn’t take more than 30 minutes due to a new system the officers were still trying to work out.
Step 6. Getting a Social Insurance Number (SIN)
Before you can get a job in Canada you need to have a SIN. A SIN is the equivalent of an IRD number, tax number, or Social Security number. This number will be used to set up your bank account, get a job, and do anything official within Canada.
To get a SIN you need to head over to your local Service Canada office, tell them you are wanting to set up a SIN and then have a quick interview before receiving your SIN on the spot. You will need to show them your passport, your working holiday visa and simply answer some basic questions like your birth date, mother and father’s name etc. Oh, and its free!
Step 7. Open a bank account
This process is just like how you would do it at home. Choose a bank (Canada has many – CIBC, TD Canada Trust, RBC, BMO and Scotiabank – are the big 5). I suggest simply do your research in which bank best suits you. In Quebec, they try to push you to go with Desjardins. I didn’t like it too much as they are really international.
To open an account you just need to bring along your passport with working visa attached, SIN, a mailing address (which is on your SIN card) and a cash deposit.
Step 8. Find a job
This can definitely be the hardest part of it all. It is all dependant on what you want. I sourced out a job via Indeed, but there are a tonne of different job websites if you type in “Canada Job” into google. I’ve got very lucky as I knew few people before to move out. It only took me two months before to get my first job in Canada.
My advice to you is make sure you have plenty in savings to give yourself time to land the job you want to have.
Step 9. Enjoy Canada!
Canada truly is a breathtaking country, your choice to call Canada your new home is a good one. Make sure you take time to explore, meet new people from everywhere, be open-minded, go hiking, enjoy the snow, go cycling, swimming: Enjoy your new adventure!
Fall season – Orford Mount, Québec
Cécile lives in Chicago though is originally from southern France. She’s an avid traveler and is always excited by new adventures. After living in Ireland, Australia and Canada, Cécile is an advocot of having a routine but not staying comfortable for too long.