Requirements to Live in Canada

Canada is a country with diverse cultures, a proud heritage and beautiful lands. For some individuals who desire to live in Canada, this country is a dream come true. The process required for a temporary stay or to become a permanent resident begins in the same way: preparing the documents an individual will need for entry.

Documentation Needed

To enter Canada an individual will need to provide in either English or French the following documents: a valid passport; Canadian immigrant visa and confirmation of permanent residence; and two copies of a complete listing of all items brought into Canada now and at a later date, with monetary value, make, model and serial number included. These lists are to document the settler's effect requirements for entry. These documents cannot be placed in luggage; it is required by Canadian law to have all these documents with each individual at all times.

Each traveler into Canada carrying more than $10,000 CDN must declare upon arrival to an official. The funds can be in cash, stocks, bank checks, traveler's checks, bonds, treasury bills, debentures or money orders. Failure to declare the money with an official can lead to fines or prison time.

Additional Documentation

There are other types of documentation that may be needed upon entry or to establish residency in Canada. Vaccinations records for everyone traveling in your party are required. Birth, baptismal, marriage, divorce, adoption or separation certificates and records may be needed as well as education records, degrees or diplomas, resume, driver's licenses, auto insurance proof of coverage and auto registration if coming across border with own vehicle. A copy of all these records should be made and secured in a separate location.

Customs Declaration Card

Every individual arriving in Canada, whether or not you are a Canadian citizen, must fill out a customs declaration card before landing or crossing the border. Every item you are bringing into the country must be listed such as: money exceeding $10,000 CDN, plants, animals, foods, weapons, business goods or any duty-free item. Not declaring required items can result in fines or prison time. This is in addition to the copies of the lists listed in the previous section.

Four-step Process

It is estimated to take nearly 15 to 18 months for applications to be approved to be registered and retain Canadian citizenship. The process can be completed in four steps.

Applications are sent to Case Processing Center located in Sydney, Nova Scotia. The application will be reviewed, the fees paid and all documents attached with the application are verified. The information will be placed in the agency computer where the applicant can access the information online.

Step two involves the Case Processing Center making a decision on the application. Depending on where you are currently residing, the Citizenship and Immigration Canada, the high commission, consulate or Canadian Embassy will contact the applicant with the determination.

Depending on what type of application was completed, a Canadian citizenship test may be required. This is considered to be step three of the application process. An interview with a citizen judge may be asked of the applicant to obtain approval for residency.

Step four is when the notification is sent to the applicant. A certificate of citizenship and a certificate of retention are sent if the application has been approved. If the application was denied, a notice will be sent by mail to inform the applicant of the decision.

Routine Applications

Individuals desiring to live in Canada will have a better opportunity for a successful application if the application is considered "routine." A routine application involves the following visas and reasons for being in Canada.

One of the visas is for visiting as one of the nearly 5 million visitors to Canada each year. A temporary resident visa for short and specific periods of time is another. Also routinely allowed entry are students studying in Canada or the 90,000 foreign nationals working temporarily in Canada.


A special category of individuals who receive consideration for citizenship consists of refugees looking for asylum. Canada provides thousands of refugees the opportunity to become Canadian citizens each year.

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