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

(Updated April 2020)

The Canadian Parliament In Ottawa

Welcome to the “How to immigrate to Canada” series, ten articles covering the basics—immigration categories, rights and duties as a permanent resident, first steps as a newcomer and more.

Did you find the right immigration category and check your eligibility? Are you getting read to fill out your permanent residence application? Good job!

But wait—can you afford it?

You probably already know or suspect you will have to pay an application processing fee and the right of permanent residence fee. But did you budget for other associated expenses?

In this article, I will give you an overview of how much you should budget for when applying for permanent residence in Canada. All amounts are in Canadian dollars.

The application processing fee

The fee depends on your immigration category.

  • For business immigration (Quebec business immigration, Self-employed people and Start-up visa), the processing fee is $1050.
  • For economic immigration, including Express Entry (Atlantic immigration pilot, Canadian experience class, Live-in Caregiver Program, Home Child Care Provider Pilot [without the work permit fee], Home Support Worker Pilot [without the work permit fee], Federal skilled workers, Federal skilled trades, Provincial nominee, Rural and northern immigration pilot and Quebec-selected skilled workers), the processing fee is $550.
  • For humanitarian and compassionate, the fee is $550.
  • For spouse, partner or children sponsorship, the fee is $550.

For more details, check out the Fee list.

The Certificat de sélection du Québec (CSQ) fee

Applicants who plan to settle in Quebec must apply for a Certificat de sélection du Québec (CSQ). The fee is $812 for the principal applicant, $174 for a spouse, and $174 for each child.

The right of permanent residence fee

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

Note that the RPRF can be refunded if your application is denied or if you withdraw it. This is the only refundable fee.

Other application-related fees

  • If your supporting documents (i.e. diplomas, certifications, etc.) are not in French or English, you must hire an authorized translator and provide a translation.
  • 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 $14 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 only designated organizations such as World Education Services can perform the assessment. The recommended ECA evaluation is $220.
  • If English or French isn’t the official language in your country of citizenship, you will have to have your language abilities tested. This is one of the six selection factors for skilled workers. The language proficiency test must be administered by an approved organization, for example IELTS (around $320) and CELPIP ($265) for English, or the TEF for French ($440).
  • A medical exam is mandatory for each applicant and their dependents (spouse, children) and it must be performed by a panel physician. Two fees must be paid—the exam fee and the X-ray fee. Fees vary greatly so ask around. In 2005, I paid $100 for the medical exam and $100 for the X-ray in an Ottawa clinic.

Miscellaneous fees to budget for

  • Travelling expenses from your city to your local Canadian visa office, typically located in world capitals. You may have to show up in person if an interview is required. Similarly, you may have to travel to the nearest panel physician for your medical exam.
  • Passport fees, since you will need a valid passport issued by your country of citizenship to travel to Canada.  

Unnecessary expenses

Don’t splurge for an immigration consultant! As I explained in Two Immigration Myths, most applicants don’t need to hire an immigration lawyer or an immigration consultant—it’s money wasted.

Immigration representative typically charge from $1000 to $5000 (but the sky is the limit!). Save money, learn to Google.

Don’t forget you need savings on top of all these fees and expenses

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 $12,960, and up to $27,315 for a family of five.

Good luck!

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