Before You Arrive

Before you leave your country to become a permanent resident of Canada, there are a few things you need to do as this is different from just visiting the province. 

To help newcomers manage expectations around their language ability before they arrive, we recommend you view the information video Language Training for Canada. This video highlights the Canadian Language Benchmarks Online Self-Assessment tool and promotes the language training options available to newcomers upon your arrival. It encourages you to get started on improving your skills as soon as possible. 

1. Apply for Immigration to Canada

Important DocumentsIf you want to immigrate to Newfoundland and Labrador, the first step is to apply to the Government of Canada. The department you need to apply to is called  Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).  You also need to apply to IRCC if you want to move to Canada temporarily for study or work.  Click on the link below that is appropriate for your situation.  This will lead you to IRCC and specific information about how you apply and some programs that may be able to help you. 

You can also check out the Provincial Nominee Program to see if you meet the criteria to apply under this program.

Click on the statement which applies to you.

I want to immigrate to Newfoundland and Labrador.

I want to immigrate to Canada.

I want to study in Canada.

I want to visit Canada (Do I need a visa?).

2.  Prepare Your Documents

It is important that you have your documents prepared before you come to Canada. This will help to make your entry into Canada as smooth as possible.  IRCC requires that you bring the following documents with you:

Essential Documents

  • A Canadian immigrant visa
  • Confirmation of Permanent Residence for each family member traveling with you      
  • A valid passport or other travel document for each family member traveling with you
  • A detailed list of all the personal or household items you are bringing with you (Bring two copies of this list – one for yourself and one to give to the Customs Officer)
  • A detailed list of other items that you will have arriving later (Bring two copies of this list -  one for yourself and one to give to the Customs Officer)

The federal government provides a form you can use to make these lists of personal items

Other Important Documents

IRCC suggests you also bring the following documents with you, if you have them:

  • Birth certificates or baptismal certificates
  • Marriage certificate
  • Adoption, separation or divorce papers
  • School records, diplomas or degrees for each family member traveling with you
  • Trade or professional certificates and licenses
  • Letters of reference from former employers
  • A list of your educational and professional qualifications and job experience (also called a resume)
  • Immunization, vaccination, dental and other health records for each family member traveling with you
  • Driver's license, including an international driver's license
  • Car registration documents (if you are importing a motor vehicle into Canada)
  • Important!  You should bring at least one set of photocopies of all of the essential and important documents listed above. Keep these copies in a separate place, in case the originals get lost or damaged.

What you can bring into Canada

There are strict laws about what you can bring into Canada.

The following items cannot be brought into Canada:

  • Firearms, explosives, fireworks and ammunition;
  • Narcotics, other than prescription drugs;
  • Meat, dairy products, fresh fruits and vegetables;
  • Plants, flowers and soil;
  • Endangered species of animals or products made from animal parts, such as the skin, feathers, fur, bones and ivory;
  • Cultural property, including antique and cultural objectives considered to have historical significance in their country of origin (you may, however, bring family heirlooms);
  • More than 200 cigarettes (you must pay tax on the excess amount) per person over 18 years of age if you are immigrating to Quebec, Alberta, Saskatchewan or Manitoba, or per person over 19 if you are immigrating to Newfoundland & Labrador or any of the other provinces; and
  • More than 1.5 litres of wine or 1.14 litres of commercial alcohol (you must pay tax on the access amount) per person over 19 years of age.

Cars must meet Canadian safety and pollution control standards. Many cars are not allowed into the country. Contact Transport Canada for more information before you ship your vehicle:

Transport Canada, Vehicle Importation
330 Sparks Street, Tower C
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0N5
Telephone: (613) 998-8616 when calling from outside Canada
Toll-free from inside Canada 1-800-333-0371

If you are not sure about an item that you want to bring, you can write to or telephone:

Canada Border Services Agency
Customs, Excise, and Taxation Information Services
2265 St. Laurent Boulevard
Ottawa, Ontario
K1G 4K3
Telephone: (506) 636-5064 or (204) 983-3500 when calling from outside Canada
Toll-free from inside Canada 1-800-959-2036

If you are importing or exporting monetary instruments equal to or greater than CAN$10,000 (or its equivalent in a foreign currency), whether in cash or other monetary instruments, you must report it to the CBSA when you arrive. For more information, ask for a copy of the publication called Crossing the Border with $10,000 or More?

3. Learn about Life in Newfoundland and Labrador

While you are planning your move, it is important to learn as much as you can about what to expect when you arrive in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Take some time to review the information in this website to find out about daily life, cost of living, culture, and many other things you should know before you arrive.

Here are some other very good sources of information: