Essential Steps for Your Arrival in Canada

If you are planning to travel to Canada with a Canada visit visa, there are some key things you should know before traveling to Canada to ensure a smooth arrival process. This article outlines the essential documentation, financial requirements, picking up your work permit, understanding the conditions, getting health insurance, and knowing your rights and resources.

Additionally, some travelers may require a Canada transit visa if they pass through Canada for a short duration while en route to another destination. This visa is necessary for individuals from certain countries who need to transit through a Canadian airport and do not intend to stay in Canada. The transit visa is typically valid for up to 48 hours.

Following these critical steps when entering the country will set you up for a successful stay during your time in Canada.

Required Documents before Arriving in Canada

Here are the document requirements for non-UAE and UAE citizens:

Valid passport


Needed to enter Canada and have proper travel documentation. Ensure it will not expire shortly and has plenty of empty pages for stamps and visas. Bring along the original and a couple of photocopies.

Temporary resident visa

Canada temporary resident visa issued by IRCC. Allows entry as a temporary resident if you are from a country that needs visas to enter Canada. Application required before travel.

Letter of introduction

From the visa office that approved the study permit. Provides intro/summary to border officials. May list requirements or conditions to meet. Keep with other documents.

Letter of acceptance & proof of accommodation

Issued by the Canadian educational institution you will attend, it lists the date, program details, and tuition. It guarantees your spot; for housing, have documentation if staying in dormitories or rentals.

Proof of funds

Bank statements or other financial documents showing you have a minimum of $2,500 CAD for the first 3 months in Canada must be issued within the last week before departure. The border officer may request these as reassurance you can support yourself financially while studying.

Proof of travel insurance

Policy documents for coverage of your entire stay, including medical, hospitalization, and repatriation home if severely ill or injured, must be shown to border officials upon arrival or entry will be denied. Keep this paperwork handy; a provincial health card alone is not sufficient.

Return ticket

Proof you will leave Canada with a booked flight out or sufficient funds to buy one later. Some countries require this ticket on arrival for entry permission along with a temporary resident visa.

Packing Tips

  • Research weather and temperatures at Canadian destination pre-arrival. Pack suitable clothing for the climate. Bring proper outerwear for winter if applicable.
  • Pack essentials like prescription meds, glasses, electronics, and chargers in a carry-on bag, not checked luggage.
  • Check the Canada customs website for prohibited and restricted items list before packing food, agriculture products, weapons, etc. Declare all items being brought in.
  • Carry about $100-200 CAD in cash + credit/debit cards for easy access to some funds upon arrival before exchanging money. Consider a travel money card.
  • Pack copies of acceptance letters, ID docs, insurance papers, etc. Keep paperwork accessible, not packed deep inside luggage.
  • Obtain luggage tags with your Canadian address where you will be staying. Tags help identify owners if lost.

Money Matters

  • Carry approx $100-200 Canadian dollars cash on arrival for expenses like taxis, meals, and incidentals before getting to the bank.
  • Have a credit card and/or debit card to access your bank accounts and for making purchases
  • Be prepared to declare at customs if bringing the equivalent of $10,000 CAD or more cash/traveler’s checks/money orders into Canada
  • Consider exchanging some currency for Canadian dollars before departure from your home country for initial cash needs
  • Research costs of public transportation from the airport to accommodate the budget
  • Understand currency exchange rates between the Canadian dollar and your home currency. Budget Canada travel accordingly.


  • Research options for getting from the airport to your accommodations upon arrival
  • Major cities may have trains/subways, buses, taxis, or ride sharing services
  • Contact your school/program to see if airport pickup service is offered
  • Ensure you have the complete address of your destination lodging for travel
  • Have cash in small bills for taxi tips if taking a cab; the tip is 10-15%
  • Confirm public transit routes and schedules if taking buses or trains
  • Calculate estimated taxi fare or transit ticket costs for the budget
  • Keep documentation with your address in your person in case you get lost while finding your way.

Health Insurance

  • Must show proof of comprehensive coverage health insurance to the border officer
  • Medical, hospitalization costs and repatriation must be included
  • No provincial health cards alone; get supplemental travel insurance policy
  • Must be valid the entire time you will be in Canada from the beginning date of entry
  • Print paperwork to carry when landing and save documents electronically
  • If insurance expires before the final departure date, a work permit will reflect the same validity period
  • Extending a work permit later will not be possible if insurance wasn’t adequate originally.

At the Port of Entry

  • Present travel documents to the immigration officer when directed
  • Confirm details if issued work or study permit; check accuracy carefully
  • Make sure the name is spelled correctly and matches other IDs
  • Note permit expiry date in relation to passport validity
  • Check if any special conditions or restrictions are listed
  • Ask about any concerns immediately before leaving
  • Keep permit safe as it allows working under specific stipulations

After Arrival

  • Apply for Social Insurance Number (SIN) for working, accessing government benefits
  • Contact Service Canada in the first weeks to submit the SIN application
  • Review provincial/territorial labor standards on requirements like minimum wage, breaks, vacation pay
  • Know the rights of temporary foreign workers; don’t hesitate to ask questions
  • Keep copies of signed contracts, pay stubs, and workplace policies if issues arise
  • Contact the labor board with any disputes that are unable to be resolved with your employer.

Things to Avoid After Arriving in Canada

Here is a list of things to avoid doing in Canada:

  • Do not carry pepper spray, mace, or other weapons for protection. This can result in charges and is illegal.
  • Do not jaywalk or cross streets in undesignated areas. Use crosswalks and obey traffic signals.
  • Do not use counterfeit money or attempt to pay with foreign currency. Know¬† acceptable forms of payment.
  • Do not drive without an appropriate class license, insurance, or registration. Fines are steep.
  • Do not attempt to bring banned substances like cannabis/marijuana across international borders, even if legalized.

A successful arrival in Canada requires proper preparation. Have your documentation ready, secure adequate funds and insurance, understand your permit conditions, and know your rights.

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