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First-time Visitor to Canada? Here’s Your Guide to Arriving Well-Prepared

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Whether you’re arriving in Canada as a permanent resident or holding a work or study permit, there are specific obligations to fulfill upon landing there.

All individuals traveling to Canada must present essential documents at their port of entry. These documents include a travel document (such as a passport) and a visa or Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) to validate and confirm an individual’s status in Canada.

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Essential Requirements for Study Permit Holders Traveling to Canada

If you are arriving in Canada on a study permit, you must:

  • Have a valid travel document, such as a passport.
  • Have a valid visitor visa (temporary resident visa), eTA, green card (or equivalent proof of U.S. status), or any other valid travel document allowing entry into Canada.
  • Have sufficient funds for your stay, which will vary based on travel and accommodation specifics.
  • Hold the Letter of Introduction (LOI) sent by the visa office containing the permit reference number used for issuing the corresponding permit.
  • Carry a copy of a valid letter of acceptance from your school.
  • Provide any additional documents the visa office requests, such as letters of reference.
  • Maintain good health and have no criminal record or immigration-related convictions, potentially requiring an immigration medical exam.
  • Convince an immigration officer of significant ties (friends, family, assets, etc.) in your home country, demonstrating your intent to return after completing your studies in Canada.

Requirements for Traveling to Canada as a Work Permit Holder

If you hold a work permit, the following documents are essential when arriving in Canada:

  • Passport
  • Relevant travel documents
  • Proof of meeting job requirements, such as work experience or education credentials
  • Visitor visa (if required) or an eTA
  • Copy of your employer’s positive or neutral Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) if needed; for Quebec, a Certificat d’acceptation du Québec (CAQ) is required instead of an LMIA.
  • If your employment is LMIA-exempt but with a specific employer, you need the offer of employment number received after submitting information in the Employer Portal.


Additionally, work permit holders may also need to provide proof of approved work permit status, such as a Letter of Introduction (LOI) or Port of Entry Letter, at the border. An LOI is not the permit itself but confirms the permit’s approval.

Newcomers must convince the border services officer that:

  • They meet Canada’s entry requirements.
  • They have valid immigration medical exam results if applicable; new examinations are required before travel if the results expire before arrival.
  • They will depart Canada at the end of the approved stay.


It’s important to note that the final decision on issuing a work permit and entry into Canada rests with the border services officer.

What to Consider Before Traveling to Canada as a New Permanent Resident

Upon approval for Canadian permanent residence, you will receive a Confirmation of Permanent Residence (COPR) document, validating your status as a new Canadian Permanent Resident (PR). To complete the PR process legally, you must travel to Canada before the expiration date on your COPR.

If you are already in Canada, you can issue an e-COPR through an online portal, a printable document to confirm your permanent residence approval, akin to a physical COPR.

Typically valid for one year, the COPR is linked to your medical exam, visa sticker, and passport. In most cases, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) cannot extend a COPR. Therefore, individuals who do not travel to Canada within the validity period, allowing their COPR to expire before arrival, must reapply for PR.

For those from countries requiring a visa, a permanent residence visa will be issued alongside the COPR. If your country necessitates an eTA, you must obtain one before traveling to Canada.

If you are already in Canada, you must virtually confirm your new PR status using an online portal. IRCC will contact applicants within Canada through their application’s email or phone number.

What Items Can I Bring to Canada as a Newcomer?

Newcomers can bring their belongings to Canada, but they must complete a declaration with the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) to disclose significant assets legally. It’s crucial to pay attention to border regulations, especially regarding foods and edible goods.

The CBSA oversees and safeguards Canada’s borders, ensuring the lawful movement of goods and people.

CBSA declarations are the official forms for newcomers to declare the assets they intend to bring into Canada. These declarations offer newcomers the advantage of getting more considerable assets without incurring taxes on these items.

While newcomers may not always bring all their valuable belongings during their initial arrival, new Permanent Residents (PRs) must submit a “Goods to Follow” list for assets to bring in later. CBSA must see this list at the airport and issue a receipt, which must be shown again at the port of entry when the assets are brought into Canada.

It’s worth noting that there is no specific limit on the amount of cash one can bring when landing in Canada. However, any cash exceeding CAD 10,000 must be declared to CBSA.

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