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. My name is ali raza i am bassically from pakistan now i live in saudi Arabia i wanna go to canada so plz give me the great information how I come to Canada plz anyone tell me

  2. robin wickstrom on

    HI Ms.ZHU,
    I am a Filipino and my husband is a Canadian.working on our application to come in Canada with my children,both me and my husband do not have any knowledge in immigration stuff, i would like to ask if what is the difference between sponsorship and the spouse visa.

    thank you.and wish you well

  3. Hi Zhu,

    I am getting more confident that I can still live in Canada. I am a Filipino who’s job experience has been a customer service representative in call centers.

    I don’t think my job experience qualifies to any of these programs (I hope I was wrong):

    Federal Skilled Worker Program, Federal Skilled Trades Program, Canadian Experience Class.

    I hope you can give me an advise, as I can’t afford to get an immigration consultant.

    Thank you.

  4. Dear Sir,

    According to your above statement, it should roughly cost a family of four around $30,000 only to immigrate to Canada.

    I heard through a colleague that if you invest in:

    1- $150,000 government donation. (none refundable)
    2- $ 500,000 paid to the government (refunded after five years)

    Then you can apply for immigration.

    The process takes about 18 months from the date of submission to get approved & then your issued your PR which allows you to finally enter Canada. Consequently, you have to spend 6 months a year, for five years straight before your can apply for citizenship.

    Which one is it please? I am very confused and have a good friend wanting to move to Canada.

    Kindly advise.

    Thanks & regards,


  5. Hello Sir/Ma’am,
    I am a teacher with 4.5 yrs of experience in teaching CS, Maths(PRT) and Robotics.My qualification is MSc. (CS), MCA and M.Tech.My husband is a govt. employee(India) who is working in banking sector since last 5yrs as an assistant manager. My husband’s qualification is M.Com,BEd. We wanna get settle in Canada permanently.Can you please assist us?
    * What is the procedure?
    *Are job opportunities available in Canada?
    *Leaving govt. job here(India) and getting settle in Canada,Will it be a wise decision?
    *Approximately how much will it cost?

    • I can’t assist you as I’m absolutely not qualified to do so. However, you’ll find relevant information on this blog (check out the “immigration” section”) as well as on government websites. Good luck!

  6. Hi, i am John from Nigeria. I, my wife and two kids planning to relocate to Canada. My wife has a degree in microbiology and has been working as a social worker in Nigeria. I have a HND in Agricultural extension and have been working as an extension service provider in Nigeria. Please where do we need to start from? What category do we fall under?

  7. Sabiha aitzaz on

    Hi mam I m house
    Wife I wana settle with my family in Canada I have three sons under 12, age and husband father mother and husband brother also husband sister I have so please guide me , are ahmadi Muslims and we are not happy in Pakistan be
    In Pakistan they called us kafir so please do some thing….

  8. Joseph okosugbenu on

    Am a Nigeria but I currently base in Italy,
    Please I would Love to know how much do I need in my account for a successful migrating???

  9. ZHU, My husband and I are 66,and 67. Don’t think I qualify for citizenship. How long can you stay on a visa ? Not working, not in school. Have a nice retirement and excellent insurance. Terrified of Trump.

  10. Ibrahim Ujjainwala on

    Barring the proof of suppirt funds, will it be safe to say that cost of total process may be around 2000 to 2500 CAD?

    • It’s truly depends on your personal situation. Under what category are u applying, your personal situation. Example- you may be eligible but might have issues with admissibility. As well as other costs such as medical exam, language exam , etc. Each client or case is different. If yours is an easy and basic application then yes but if it’s a bit complicated then maybe it can be a bit higher.

  11. Hi,

    I am from india and currently working for an MNC and now myself and my wife planning to settle in Canada from my company transfer . Let me know what would be the cost for applying PR visa and is that i need to maintain a fund evn if my company gives transfer.


  12. Respected Admin,
    I am BSc mechanical engineer of 2016.I lived in Pakistan. I have no work experience. I want to go Canada on immigration for earning, or on study visa for further education. Kindly guide me, who can I apply, what will be t he expenses, and what will be the requirements ?

    Furqan Haider

      • ZHU – all you say I can’t help you here, I can’t assist you with that – what kind of revolution you want to start with this kind of attitude my friend? Why you write such amazing article in the first place? I am very disappointed I must tell you.

        • Huh… who do you think you are?

          As I stated many times, I offer a perspective but 1) I immigrated to Canada 12 years ago and things changed since 2) I always say I don’t give immigration advice when all the info is available online. Why would you ask a random person online for such info? Do you want me to give you unreliable info? I don’t get it.

          This is a blog, not a job. Some info is here if you care enough to work for it. I received between 10 and 20 emails per day asking me for advice. I used to reply to a few, but guess what, it was never good enough. I’m friendly, I love to answer specific questions when I know this answer but that’s it.

          And I return you the comment: what kind of immigration project are you hoping to achieve with this attitude?

  13. Hi dear
    Pls help me with some information. First ĺet me give u some information about me.

    My wife is the main applicant. We got pr of canada. Now she landed in toronto last week. M going to toronto on 28th feb. I have all supportive documents like copr etc.

    My question is how much canadian dollar i must carry with me during landing? My wife already showed 10k in airport.

  14. Hi there;
    I have 6 bands in IELTS, have received my WES which is equivalent to Canadian Bachelor Degree….
    What else I need to do to get work permit or PR ?

  15. saddat Hosen on

    Hi,I am from Bangladesh.I completed my post graduation degree. now i want to go canada but I don’t know how can I go there as a job holder?which province is suitable for me.please reply me if you can.

  16. Hi my name is Chantelle im from South Africa . My husband(age 44) is a electrician, im a stay at home mum and we have 4 children(2,6,10,13) We did a assesment and know that we can immigrate to Canada but……can we apply for our visa’s and permanent residence ourself or do we need to get someone to do it for us? What is the total cost +- to immigrate please?

    Thank you

  17. Hello! Am from Nigeria and am applying via federal skill worker visa! I.E the rank on point system… Does this method also deals with invitation of spouse
    Secondly, Can I travel in and out to my country within a year of my arrival without going through another long process?

    • You’ll find all the answer you need on the Government of Canada website. If you have a spouse and children, they can be included in the application. Once you land as a permanent residence, you can travel in and out of Canada easily, as long as you keep in mind residency requirements.

  18. Fauzia khalid on

    My husband is bussiness man. Can our family go to canda to settle. How much money to settle permanent.

  19. Nadia Aziz Mughal on

    I have 7 years of work experience as “School Teacher” in Kuwait. I want to apply for family immigration (5 pax including 3 kids).could you please advise me the best catagory to apply in ?

  20. Just a vote of thanks, great article ZHU. I hope to move to Canada next year and I have worked out the figure I need, $15,000. Hope to meet you in person too and extend my sincere appreciation.

    • What you will need depends on so many things (size of your family, destination city, expectations, etc.) that I can’t comment on that. However, it sounds like a good nest egg! I wish you the best for the your project 🙂

  21. Hi my son who is 23yrs old light car mechanic , he is thinking of immigrating from Australia ( he is Irish nationality) how easy or hard will it be for him to get a job and place to live?

    Also how much money would he need to bring over with him? would he better applying for jobs from here before going over?


  22. Rebekah Badgley on

    I am trying to relocate to Canada to be with my boyfriend and work. I currently live and work in the United States as a Certified Nursing Assistant and a Medication Assistant. I looked at a bunch of website to figure out how to get permanant residency but I am not quite understanding it. Is there a number or someone I can call that could help me understand it more?

    • Unfortunately, not really. You can hire an immigration lawyer to walk through the process but most immigrants plan according to the official information available online. You bets source is (the Government of Canada).

  23. Hi Zhu

    One of the best guides to Canadian Immigration on the internet right now.

    Im truly humbled by your patience to people I see here trying to take advantage of your kindness.

    I really jist wanted to thank you for the info and wosh you best of luck.


  24. I have been sent application for work permit and permanent residence for me and my family, and they have been approved . But it was sent to me by :
    And by :
    But they want from me to transfer 5500$ . They told me that these fees are for the entire application processing of all documents and processing of all my files and other immigration documents.
    How can be sure that this is not fake website and is a can i be sure that they are trusted people.
    Thank you
    Best regards

  25. Hi I was recently searching on the internet about immigration to Canada, one of the companies called me by the name of Canadian Visa professional. They asked me to transfer 1000 dollars immediately. I was told if I dont transfer immediately my chances of immigrating will be very less . I’m a student and going to finish my masters in coming January. Anyway I searched more and saw you mentioned $500 . I’m confused now that is 500 the average fee charged or is it 1000 dollars

    • Because the company is a scam and you should absolutely NOT transfer money to them. The only fees to paid are to be paid to the government of Canada.

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