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.


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. Just wondering and I can’t seem to find an answer, my girlfriend (she’s american) always comes to Canada with her car, so she have the ”passport card”, do she needs to apply for the book version or it does the same?

  2. Hi Zhu,

    I’m going through the paper work to apply for Canadian immigration. i and my wife. I will apply in the skilled category, but i do not yet have a job offer.

    How much money I’m required to show and at what stage i need to provide proof of funds? Also, if i do not have sufficient money now, can i borrow from family to meet the requirements, but return it as soon as i’ve got the immigration approval? Many thanks. Amber

  3. Hi zhu are you.and thank you for all your support on here .i would like to ask you about the immigration to morden there any chance to immigrate from lebanon ..and how mush it gonna cost me ..i qork in restaurant feeld as a manager international food and my wife had a phd in arabic language ..

  4. I want to transfer to Canada in future. Now I m studying in high school. Should I first get my bachelor’s degree here and pursue my further studies in Canada or should migrate to Canada just after High School.

    • I doubt you can apply for immigration straight out of high school as you probably won’t qualify 🙂 However, depending on your field of study, you could qualify after gaining work experience.

  5. am really interested in migrating to canada. am married with a 3yrs old daughter. i don’t want to go through the consultants because their fees are outrageous. am a graduate like wise my husband. Where do i start from?

  6. Hi ZHU

    I have been reading a lot about Campbell & Cohen Law firm. Do you know them? Any recommendation? I am a bit confused on where to start with the immigration process.

    I am currently living in Dubai along with my wife.

    Appreciate your feedback.


    • Hi,

      I don’t know them at all. Generally, if your case is straightforward, I don’t recommend using a law firm. Most immigrant handle the paperwork themselves.

  7. Hello, I live in Bangladesh , My husband lives in Canada with valid post graduation work permit, he is working in Calgery as a A grade skilled worker. For the second time I have applied for visit visa Canada and both of the time I got rejected. I am almost broken. Please suggest me something so that I can get the visa without getting rejected.

    • This is completely out of my realm, I am not qualified to give immigration advice and I don’t know your case at all. I would suggest asking a professional or trying to figure out the reasons for the denial, which should be stated.

  8. I live in India. I am planning to immigrate to canada following my wife. But I want to get selected by a company before I apply for PR Visa. Same goes with my wife. What are the possible options and do I need to have settlement funds even after having a job there before I immigrate? Kindly suggest

    • Getting a job offer without having a valid work visa is very difficult. You should check your options online, at Citizenship and Immigration Canada. Good luck!

  9. Hi,
    Im having 7+ years of experience in Software industry, I have done post graduation degree in Computer Science,
    i want to work in CANADA, can u please guide me.


  10. i am a Nigerian and i am currently doing my msc in Malaysia and i want to migrate to Canada but do not the processes involved and beside i have a work experience but it is not in my field of specialization and i need to know what it requires of me

  11. Michael maravilla on

    Im michael maravilla, im 43 years old. Im graduate of associate marine transportation @ Philippine Maritime Institute colleges in sta crus manila Philippines. And my second course is bachelor of Science computer science @ collegeo de portavaga college @ imus cavite Philippines.
    Im currently living here in Philippine (my country)
    Im working as customer service representative in call center @ BPO company, and may second job is realty sales manager in 8years and 10months.
    Im married with 2 children.
    I want to know if im qualified to live or work in canada with my family. As of now,I dont have enough money. I woul like to know if you have a program like fly now pay later? Thank you so much.

  12. Hi ZHU.

    I’m a irish citizen, and am a permanent resident of Australia. My wife a citizen of both New Zealand and Australia, and her brother is living as a permanent resident of Canada. We would like to move to Canada as well. I was wondering in your opinion would it be better to go for the family visa or skilled worker, I am a qualified carpenter with 12 years experience and my wife is studying accounting.

  13. Hello Zhu. How are you?
    I’m Antarix from India and looking to migrate to Canada. I didn’t complete my graduation and did start to work due unwanted circumstances. I have a total work experience of more than 8 years. Will i be eligible to migrate to Canada and get a permanent residence card? I am married and have a son of 2 years.
    My wife is a graduate and has work experience of more than 3 years.
    May you guide me on which will be the most eligible way to apply for PR in Canada?

    • My best advice would be to check out the website of Citizenship and Immigration. All the various immigration programs are explained and you can see if you qualify in any of the categories. Good luck!

  14. Minafuro Senibo on

    Hello Zhu,
    Thanks for all the info. Please give me the authentic website which will not require any payments to immigration lawyers for migration to Canada. I am from Nigeria

  15. Hello, I was born in Canada and I’m married to a Ukrainian. We applied in-Canada for her PR status in early August 2016 through a reputable Vancouver law firm. Our case was fairly straight forward and my question is: in your experience, how long does “initial approval” so we get to the “in process” stage take? That is the stage where we can apply for a work visa, travel outside Canada, etc.

  16. Hello zhu; this is sarah from pakistan i am an undergraduate medical student and i will be graduated in 2 years of a complete 5 years degree program of Doctor of physical therapy.. Can you please guide me how can I apply for immigration and persuade my career there.. Thank you:)

  17. Hi Zhu, we are a married couple with a 6 year old son. We are trying to move to the Usa but doesn’t look like it’s happening. We are still trying our luck with the EB5 approach. We thinking of that doesn’t happen we might try our luck with Canada. We have 500k USD cash for this purpose. What would be our best bet? Would that be enough to move us to Canada? Please keep in mind that we do not qualify for any skilled worker visas. Please let us know what our options are? And how long would it take for us to move? We are Kuwaiti citizens.


    • You can look at your options on the website of Citizenship and Immigration Canada. Processing times depends on your application, visa category and visa office. At the very minimum, it takes a year, most often several years.

  18. Tamuno Ebimiowei John on

    Your Comment
    Hello ZHU, I am a Nigerian married with children 13,10 and 7 am a truck driver with over 18years of working experience.I want to migrate to Canada with my family .I also can provide enough funds to support myself and my farmily.where exactly can I get the PR immigrant form because I don’t want to go through an attorney.I have been to http://WWW.CIC.GC. but I can’t find the form because after filling the assessment form and opun submittion I will only be reffered to an attorney.please help me.
    kind regards
    John Tamuno E.

  19. Hi Zhu,

    Thanks for the great advise you’ve provided so far. I’m about to apply for the PR card for Canada and was contemplating using an agent as I messed up the application a year ago.

    My wife and I have both recently completed the IELTS test and passed and I’ve had my degree in Computer engineering accredited by Toronto University.

    What I would like to know are the following:-
    1) Where I can have the photographs taken as the measurements are quite specific.
    2) Did you use the new Express Entry system
    3) If you did, what was the experience like?
    4) Did you have your police checks and medicals done before applying?

    I’m currently an IT service delivery manager on a two year MSC degree with two kids over 10.

    • Hi,

      I can’t help you with the express entry process. It didn’t exist when I immigrated over ten years ago, so I’m not up-to-date with technicalities.

      I had my medicals done before applying, that’s how it works in the sponsorship process (my immigration category back then). I had them done in Ottawa by an accredited doctor. I got my police certificate from France before applying to if I remember correctly.

      For the photographs, your best bet is probably to take the requirements (i.e. measurements) with you and go see a photograph. Canada take these requirements VERY seriously (we have the same issue with passports!)

  20. we’re a family of mom..met as expats in a middle eastern country..and now that baby is born we came back to my country we both are english speakers and I am a bit of a french speaker we thought it’d be better to move to canada where we can both work and provide and most of all have a decent lifestyle..
    issue is as we’re starting from 0 we can’t seem to afford a lawyer or travel consultant..we have like a year or 2 to collect money for the fees and living cost for the couple first months..but meanwhile I’d like to educate myself on how to find a job and cheapest/easiest ways to get a family visa..
    if You can assist with classifued websites where we can search for jobs..and if you can advise whether employers hold interviews through skype..

  21. hi ZHU – are the fees for a skilled worker visa and a spousal sponsorship visa the same? i can’t work it out from the immigration site. my husband (australian) is trying to work out the cheapest visa :). we afre living in australia, have 2 kids, and are moving to canada later this year (i’m canadian). i think the spouse visa will be the easiest, do you agree?

  22. Hi,
    I am 24 years old from India and I plan to settle in Canada. I have done B.Tech in Electronics and currently have 2.5 Years of experience in IT industry. Please can you guide as to first should i apply for PR Visa or Work Permit Visa?

  23. Hello, myself Rizwan currently working in Saudi Arabia one year left for my contract to end. How i can come Canada without appearing IELTs and work in Canada or get Permanent residency.How to plan for setting up goals to work in canada and how much total expenses i have to bear.


  24. Hello I’m currently working as a training doctor in Qatar, I want to do my training in Canada, I think the only way is to immigrate first then apply for training, I read online that jobs for doctors or training spots are less, is that true? and would that affect my application.

  25. Oriloye Olayemi on

    thanks ZHU for raising my hope on been able to immigrate to Canada without Lawyer or Consultant cost, but can you talk more on it, i cannot find where you wrote on that. thanks

  26. confused on filling the application detais on the “country ot territory of issue” and what will be the right thing to put on the application.. my passport is issued at our embassy in UAE Dubai but my passport is a Philippine passport… my passport on that time was renewed in the country of U.A.E. but if im gonna look on the other hand technically im a Philippine Passport holder…

  27. We vount go to Canada I and my partnerin don’t have any relevant experience we work in most places . We have three boys 18, 13,and 7 years.

  28. Hi there, I’m currently staying in New Zealand on my work permit. I did study here level 5 and 6 in business and management advance. Now I’m planing to transfer to Canada. I want to apply for a student visa but in quite different stream, probably in photography degree. What do you reckon? Can I apply for it or the course should be relevant to my previous study.

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