Rounding it up
Single adults need a minimum of $12,960 (CDN) to secure a visa in Canada.
You’ll need an additional $3,492 (CDN) for every additional family member.
Couples and large families may need even more to remain financially afloat.
Don’t forget your settlement funds must be immediately accessible. For example, your funds can’t be tied to real estate.
Canada is the preferred destination for millions of migrants searching for a new life abroad. Many professionals and students around the world aspire to achieve a Canadian visa for some of the economic and social benefits of living here. Nevertheless, many of those aspiring travelers are unfamiliar with the financial requirements of a Canadian visa, including how much of a bank balance they’ll need to secure one.
Are you hoping to make Canada your new home? Review this guide to understand the financial requirements you’ll need to meet in order to secure a Canadian visa.
Getting your foot in the door
The Canadian government can only allow so many people into the country each year. In order to prove that you can contribute to Canadian society and make a prosperous life for yourself, you’ll need to provide evidence that you have access to a certain amount of funding. The amount of money you need to achieve a Canadian visa is often referred to as a “settlement fund.”
Not everybody needs proof of funds if they’re seeking a Canadian visa. For example, those who have received a valid job offer from a Canadian company will not need proof of funds in order to secure a visa. The Canadian government has provided helpful resources that illustrate which offers of employment are considered valid for those seeking a visa:
It must be a full-time job (at least 30 hours a week)
It must be a paid job that was offered to you recently (usually within the past year)
It must be offered in writing and include specific details (e.g. your work responsibilities)
You must be able to convince Canadian government officials you’re capable of the work
Having a job that meets these qualifications, among others provided by the Canadian government, may allow you to get a Canadian visa without having proof of funds. Still, many visa applicants will not necessarily be eligible for this program. Those who are seeking to come to Canada through the Federal Skilled Workers Program or Federal Skilled Trades Program will need to prove they have certain funds necessary to settle in Canada.
How much you’ll need
Canada requires aspiring single adult newcomers to possess a minimum of $12,960 (CDN). The bigger your family, the more money you’ll need to secure a visa. You need to provide evidence that you have a minimum of $3,492 (CDN) for each additional family member in your household. These additional family members do include children, who are usually described as dependents by the government. According to the Canadian government, a dependent child must usually:
Be under the age of 22
Not have a spouse or common-law partner
It’s important to understand that the qualifications for a dependent child can change over time. Keep regular tabs on the Canadian government’s page on dependent children to ensure your family remains eligible under their standards. Know that there are also some exceptions worth familiarizing yourself with: children who are above the age of 22 may still qualify as dependents if they cannot financially support themselves due to a physical or mental condition. They may also qualify as a dependent if they’re still financially reliant upon their parents.
Having enough money to cover your dependent children is important, just as it is important to have long-term savings. Those newcomers to Canada who have recently secured a visa or hope to do so in the near future should also take time to read up on when it’s appropriate to start a retirement account. Getting your foot in the door is one thing, but long-term prosperity and post-retirement bliss are more easily achievable with the help of a prudent saving strategy.
Be prepared to provide proof
You can’t just claim to have the amount of settlement funds needed to get a Canadian visa—you’ll have to prove it. Before you’re approved for permanent residence, you’ll need to present certain documents to the government that vouch for your financial independence. Most migrants seeking a visa will need to provide the contact information for their bank, their full name, a disclaimer of all outstanding debts they may have, and information about their bank account. This may include your account number, when you opened the account, your current balance, your average balance over a certain time period, and whether you have any investment accounts.
In addition to showing the Canadian government the documents which verify you have these funds, you must also demonstrate that these funds are readily available to you. This means that you cannot use money that’s tied up in equity on real property as proof of settlement funds. You also can’t use money that’s stuck in an investment fund and not currently unavailable to you. Funds will not qualify unless they are liquid and available to you at the time of seeking a visa.
Understand that you usually can’t just print out documents from your financial institutions, either. The Canadian government may require your proof of settlement funds to be provided on official stationery from the affiliated institution. Be sure to declare any debts you may have and the total amount of money in your accounts. Showing that you have the minimum $12,960 (CDN) as a single adult may be insufficient if you have more than that in your bank account that goes unannounced. Be as transparent as possible in order to maximize your chances of success.
Knowing about the different types of savings accounts in Canada is an important part of the process of immigrating to Canada as well. Some accounts are tax-free, others will earn high interest rates for you, and others still are joint accounts you can operate in tandem with your spouse or a member of your family. Learning how to navigate the landscape of savings accounts in Canada will be an important first step toward financial freedom once you secure your visa.
Understanding your financial needs
The Canadian government may only require a minimum of $12,960 (CDN) to secure a visa, but you’ll have other financial needs to grapple with once you move to the Great North. While wages are higher in Canada than in many other places, so too are the costs of living in most major cities. The $12,960 you need as a single adult may thus cover your legal bases while leaving you out in the cold when it comes to the other financial expenses you’ll face.
A couple moving to Canada together may want to secure a minimum of $30,000 (CDN) before finding a place to live and finalizing their relocation. This is a simple guideline. Your situation may be different but failing to have this much could lead to serious financial difficulties once you arrive. Be sure to thoroughly research the costs of rent, food, and entertainment in your destination area before making such a seismic decision.
Those moving to major urban areas will naturally need access to more money than those moving to rural areas. Couples dealing with student or medical debt abroad may have to budget their spending to ensure they don’t fall deeper into debt once they migrate to Canada, too. If you’re planning to have children in the near future, you will want to set aside a few thousand dollars to afford clothes, toys, food, diapers, and other baby necessities as well.
You should also review the basics of securing a Canadian credit card. You may have enough money in your account to secure a visa and pay your rent, but you’ll want to establish a strong credit history for yourself if you’re seeking long-term prosperity. This requires paying your monthly credit card bill and whatever other debts you may have in order to prove to lenders that you’re a safe investment. Most Canadians have credit cards, even young students, so apply for one that meets your needs as soon as possible.
Getting started in Canada
Once your visa is in hand, you may want to solicit the help of a settlement agency to ensure you get started in Canada on the right foot. The Canadian government has provided a helpful repository of newcomer resources that all new Canadian residents should familiarize themselves with. These can help you find language classes, a place to live, schools for your children, and like-minded friends in your new hometown. Some services are specifically tailored for women, seniors, or youths. Others may provide job-specific training services that help you find better employment in the future.
Understand that meeting the minimum amount of settlement funds that the Canadian government requires is only the start. You’ll want to start establishing credit for yourself and should open a long-term savings account as soon as possible. Before long, your new life in Canada will be well underway with your visa worries far behind you.
Ryan Severance is a professional freelance author and the owner of American Scribe LLC. With degrees in political science and socio-legal studies, he writes about business, politics, and law for clients around the world.