Documents to Carry to Canada

Certificates and professional documents

When you prepare to come to Canada, it’s a good idea to make a checklist of the important documents you’ll need to bring with you. Learn more about what documents you will require and why you need them. Get organized to help you prepare for a smooth move!

1. Passports and birth certificates for each family member

Passports show your biographical information for you, your spouse or common-law partner and dependent children. Passport photos must comply with Canadian passport photo specifications.

You’ll need a birth certificate or an equivalent document from your birth country. If no birth certificate is available in your country, you’ll need a letter of explanation. 

2. Adoption papers if applicable

Adoption papers must come from a recognized national authority and show the legal, approved adoption of adopted, dependent children.


3. Marriage certificate (and/or divorce, separation papers)

The marriage must be valid under the law of the country where it took place and under Canadian law. The marriage certificate must be issued by a government authority.


4. School records for all your children

When you enroll your children in a Canadian school, it will be helpful to bring their school records. These records will help the school to place your children into the right grade at school. Read more in Schooling in Canada | A Look at the Education System.


5. Children’s immunization records

When your register your children in school, you will need to show your child’s immunization record.


6. Copies of all post-secondary diplomas, degrees, and even academic transcripts for all adults

You may need to show proof of your education credentials and have them assessed by an evaluation service, academic institution, or professional association. Such evaluations can help you to find work more easily. And you may require them if you plan to work in a regulated occupation or attend post-secondary schools in Canada.

Many professional associations, universities, colleges, and assessment agencies require your academic records to come directly from the institution you attended. They will not accept the original or copied academic documents that you may bring with you.

It’s a good idea to find out what documents the professional association, academic institution, or credential assessment agency requires before you come to Canada. This will also save you time and money.

Download your Free Arrival in Canada Checklist and Quarantine Plan

You will need reference letters and contact information when you apply for work in Canada. An official reference must be printed letter on company letterhead and include:

  • Company contact information (address, telephone number, email)
  • Name, title and signature of the immediate supervisor/manager at the company
  • All positions held with job title, duties, and dates worked.


8. Samples of your professional work or achievements

It’s helpful if you can bring samples of your professional work to showcase when you attend job interviews in Canada.


9. International Driver’s Licence

You should be able to drive immediately in Canada with an international driver’s license. You can use the international license until you get your Canadian driver’s license.

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10. Copies of international automobile insurance

If you have a good driving record in your country of origin, this may help you get a better auto insurance rate in Canada.


11. Medical records

This can include dental files, optical prescriptions, and prescriptions.


12. Travel health insurance to cover you in case of a medical emergency in your first few weeks in Canada

Some provinces, including Ontario, have a waiting period before you can apply for health care coverage when you land in Canada. You are responsible for private health insurance in the interim. Otherwise, you could be faced with a large bill if you need medical treatment or emergency surgery.

13. Certificates of valuation and authenticity (including photos) for jewelry and other valuables and belongings you’re bringing with you

You’ll need a list of effects when you land at the airport. Read more in Goods to Follow | Bringing Your Goods to Canada.

14. Copies of financial records that show credit history/rating

Traditionally, it has been difficult for newcomers to access loans and credit because they do not have a Canadian credit history. A record of your international credit rating may help.

15. Record of any current foreign income, properties, or investments

Foreign income is taxable in Canada.

 3 more things you need when you land

And don’t forget you need the following at the airport when you first land in Canada:

  • Your passport and/or travel documents
  • Your permanent resident visa and your Confirmation of Permanent Residence (COPR)
  • Proof that you have sufficient funds to support you and your family after you arrive in Canada

The immigration officer at the airport will make sure you are entering Canada before or on the expiry date shown on your permanent resident visa; it cannot be extended. If there are no problems, the officer will authorize you to enter Canada as a permanent resident. The officer will also confirm your Canadian mailing address. Your permanent resident card will be mailed to the address you provide.

For more information about settling in Canada, check out our settling in Canada resource page and upcoming free webinars.