How Much Does Immigrating Really Cost? (5/10)

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The Canadian Parliament In Ottawa

The Canadian Parliament In Ottawa

Welcome to my new series, “How to immigrate to Canada“!

I recently received quite a lot of emails, asking me questions about the immigration process. So I decided to explain the whole process in 10 posts, which will be published every Saturday.

I also encourage you to ask any question you may have. I’m not an immigration consultant, but from experience, I may be able to point you to the right direction!

In the series, we will see the different options you have to come to Canada, as well as your rights and duties as a Permanent Resident, what happens after you arrive etc.

Are you eligible to immigrate to Canada? Are you filling up the paperwork? Awesome! But wait… do you have enough money?

Sure, you thought of the processing fees. But did you realize there were also a lot of fees associated with immigrating to Canada? In this post, I’m going to try to sum up how much do you really need to pay to immigrate to Canada.

The processing fees

Depending on the category you applied in, you will be charged different fees:

Applicants who plan to settle in Quebec must apply for a Certificat de Selection du Quebec (CSQ). It costs $390 for the principal applicant, $150 for a spouse, and $150 for each child.

All landed immigrants in Canada must pay the right of permanent residence fee, which is $490 per person.

Citizenship and Immigration has a handy table to help you calculate your application fees.

Fees associated with the application

  • If your documents (such a degrees, work documents etc.) are not in French or English, you must provide a translation of these documents. This has to be done by an authorized translator.
  • You must include several photographs and the rules are quite specific (yes, Canadians are weird with passport pictures!). Depending where you live, it adds up. In Canada, it cost about $12 for two pics — not cheap if you immigrate as a family!
  • You may need to have your foreign degrees recognized in Canada. This is called a credential evaluation, and it’s done by specific organization, such as World Education Services. A basic official evaluation cost about $115 and up.
  • If you are from a country where nor English nor French is the official language, you will have to prove your language abilities. This is one of the 6 selection factors for skilled workers. The language proficiency test must given by an organization that is approved by Citizenship and Immigration, for example IELTS ($265) and CELPIP ($250) for English, or the TEF for French ($250). No cheap!
  • A medical exam is compulsory for each applicant and their dependents (spouse, children) and must be made by a physician on Canada’s list of designated medical practitioners. Usually, you paid twice: once for the exam itself, and once for the X-rays that have to be taken. Fees vary by country, and even by geographic location within a country. Doctors’ fees vary, so shop around! I remember paying $100 for the medical exam and another $100 for the X-ray, in 2005, in Ottawa.

Don’t forget to consider miscellaneous fees!

  • Traveling expenses: you may have to travel from your city to your local Canadian visa office (typically, in your home country’s capital, with some exceptions). Why would you need to travel? Well, if you need to be interviewed for your application. Sometimes, your city won’t have a designated medical practitioner, so may have to travel to another city for your medical exam.
  • Passport application: a lot of people don’t realize they need a passport from their home country to immigrate to Canada. You have to apply for one before you start the immigration process, and chances are, it will cost something, although it varies by country.

Costs that can be avoided

An immigration consultant! As I explained in Two Immigration Myths, you normally do not need an immigration lawyer or an immigration consultant to help you immigrate to Canada.

Immigration representative typically charge from $1000 to $5000 (but the sky is the limit!) for an application. Save money, Google instead. I will give you a list of useful links at the end of this series, and these will all be free!

Don’t forget…

And don’t forget the settlement funds. If you apply in the skilled worker category, you will have to prove that you have enough funds to support yourself and your family for the first few months following your arrival in Canada. For one person, it’s roughly $10,000, and up to almost $23,000 for a family of five.

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About Author

French woman in English Canada. World citizen, new mom, traveler, translator, writer and photographer. Looking for comrades to start a new revolution.

216 Comments

  1. Thank you so much. good info and great post.
    please can you share the link .
    I will give you a list of useful links at the end of this series, and these will all be free!

  2. I am a Kenyan citizen aged 19, I am planning to immigrate to Canada mid/end-next year for a permanent residence. I am a graduate in Development Studies and I have other useful skills as Tailoring and Curtain making. I am excellent at interior design though I did not take it as a major in University. I am violinist also. Apart from the normal fees for applications and travel how much more should I have and can I find I job to support myself?
    Thanks.

    • The quick answer is… as much money as you can save. Many immigrants report that the minimum amount required by CIC is quite low, and unfortunately, cost of living is rising. I understand how hard it is to save, of course. Did you check if you were eligible?

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