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

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.


About Author

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


  1. There are so many consultant who are very very expensive how can I get imigration myself paying legal fee of canada thanks

    • I’m not sure I understand your question. If you want to apply by yourself, I’d suggest you check you the website of Citizenship and Immigration Canada.

  2. Hi Zhu,

    I am 34 year old dual citizen of Australia and the UK looking to move to Canada for work. I have run into issues trying to get sponsored work and have just started looking into trying the Express Entry via the skilled worker route.

    I do not have a degree but did attend law school but never graduated. I worked as a retail analyst for a big multi national company and was told that I could still apply based on this even though I didn’t have enough points.

    Is it worth getting an immigration lawyer to help me work this out and apply? I see it as my only real route to get into Canada. I also have the possibility of a job offer but only if I can get a visa on my own.

    • Honestly, I have no idea. Lawyers can give good advice, so an initial consultation could help you. But really, it comes down to being eligible or not and if you’re not eligible, I think going through the process with or without a lawyer would be a waste of time and money.

  3. Am from Nigeria with 3kids..had my first degree in Economics and diploma in business studies..worked with an insurance firm as an agent..what job can i fit in when i migrate to Canada that will be ok for me and my kids.

  4. I am a 26 yr old man with a 25 yr old wife, 2 children under the age of 7 and my mother who is 45. I have Type 1 diabetes and am insulin dependent, and my mother has a rare heart and lung condition. My wife and I are both very skilled card dealers and have been in the casino industry for over 5 yrs, we are looking to move to the Quebec or Ontario area for better work and healthcare. What can you do/say to help us.

      • This is something you need to investigate but unfortunately, severe medical conditions (and the definition of “severe” is something you have to check) can prevent you from immigrating to Canada for this exact reason, skilled immigrants are chosen primarily to contribute to the country, the government fear any additional burden on the healthcare system. Before even applying, do check whether you are eligible.

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