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The Complete How to Move to Canada from America Checklist

The Complete How to Move
to Canada from America
Checklist

Moving to Canada from America? Our Complete How to Move to Canada from America Checklist is a foolproof list of easy-to- follow, chronologically ordered tasks designed to help ensure you and your family enjoy a smooth, stress-free move to Canada.

Follow our comprehensive step-by- step checklist, which starts from six months prior to your move, right through to once you have arrived in Canada, to avoid the logistical and legal pitfalls of moving to Canada from America.

Our moving to Canada checklist includes over 60 detailed steps, from applying for a visa and {organising-noun} your move, right through to connecting your utilities and opening a bank account. Tick off each item in our moving to Canada from America checklist for the most efficient, well-planned, and hassle-free international move possible.

As the largest moving company in the world, with over 1,000 service centers across 180 countries, UniGroup Worldwide International Movers will help make your move to Canada as smooth and stress-free as possible.

With over 85 years' experience, successfully delivering 48,000 international shipments annually, our overseas moving experts can help ensure your safe, seamless stress-free move to Canada from America.

UniGroup Worldwide International Removalists moving Americans to Canada carefully and hassle-free

UniGroup moving Americans to Canada carefully and hassle-free

For your convenience, you may:

  • Easily navigate through our Complete How to Move to Canada from America Checklist by clicking the links within the Contents section below
  • Read our accompanying in-depth Ultimate How to Move to Canada from America Guide, covering everything you need to know on how to move to the Canada safely and stress-free.

Complete How to Move to Canada from America Checklist Contents

  • 6+ Months Before Moving
    • 1.Check Your Passport’s Expiry Date

    • 2.Apply for a New Australian Passport if Necessary

    • 3.Apply for Your Canadian Visa

    • 4.Apply for Your Social Insurance Number

    • 5.Decide Where You’re Moving To

    • 6.Decide When You Need to Move

    • 7.Decide What to Do with Your Current Home

    • 8.If You’re Selling or Renting Out Your Current Home, Shortlist Real Estate Agents

    • 9.Take an Exploratory Trip to Canada

  • 3 Months Before Moving (Or Once Your Visa is Approved)
    • 10.If You’ve Decided to Sell or Rent Out Your Current Home, Engage a Real Estate Agent

    • 11.If You’ve Decided to Sell or Rent Out Your Current Home, Put it on the Market

    • 12.If You’ve Decided to Sell or Rent Out Your Current Home, Prepare for Property Inspections

    • 13.Decide What You Need to Move

    • 14.Obtain Quotes from Experienced International Movers

    • 15.Book in Packing and Moving Dates

    • 16.Obtain Quotes from Professional Secure Storage Providers

    • 17.Book in Secure Storage

    • 18.Take Stock of Food and Perishables

  • 2 Months Before Moving
    • 19.Make Travel Arrangements

    • 20.Book Temporary Accommodation and a Rental Car

    • 21.If Children are Accompanying You, Make Schooling Arrangements

    • 22.Confirm Vehicle Transportation

    • 23.Confirm Pet Transportation

    • 24.Confirm Weapons Importation Requirements

    • 25.Confirm Alcohol Importation Requirements

    • 26.Confirm Plant Importation Requirements

    • 27.Investigate Employment Options

    • 28.Investigate Local Customs and Cultural Differences

    • 29.Declutter Your Home

    • 30.Start Packing

    • 31.Complete Your Customs Declaration Forms as You Pack

    • 32.Organize Your Finances

  • 1 Month Before Moving
    • 33.Investigate Housing in Canada

    • 34.Pay Final Bills and Cancel or Suspend Accounts, Subscriptions and Policies

    • 35.Notify Your Change of Address

    • 36.Hire a Handyman

    • 37.If You’re Ending Your Lease, Notify Your Landlord

    • 38.If You’re Renting Out Your Current Home, Confirm Details with Your Property Manager

    • 39.If You’re Selling Your Current Home, Confirm Details with Your Real Estate Agent

    • 40.Attend to Your Medical Needs

    • 41.Check if Your Australian Appliances and Electronics Will Work in Canada

    • 42.Arrange Moving Insurance

    • 43.If You’re Renting Out Your Current Home, Arrange Landlord’s Insurance

    • 44.Investigate Drivers’ License Requirements

    • 45.Familiarize Yourself with Australian Road Rules

    • 46.Safely Dispose of Dangerous and Prohibited Items

    • 47.Take All Necessary Precautions and Obtain Permits for Restricted Items

  • 2 Weeks Before Moving
    • 48.Pack Your Suitcases

    • 49.Confirm Movers’ Access Requirements

    • 50.Reconfirm Move Details with Your Mover

    • 51.Book in Cleaning Services

    • 52.Back-Up Your Computers and Devices

    • 53.Cover Off Any Incidentals

  • 1 Week Before Moving
    • 54.Complete Odd Jobs

  • The Day Before Moving Day
    • 55.Complete Last-Minute Jobs

  • Moving Day
    • 56.Manage a Stress-Free Moving Day

  • Once You Arrive in Canada
    • 57.Unpack Your Belongings

    • 58.Open a Bank Account

    • 59.Take Out Health Insurance

    • 60.Connect Your Utilities

    • 61.Organize a Cell Phone and Internet

    • 62.Enroll Your Children in School

    • 63.Enroll Your Children in University

    • 64.Pay Tax

    • 65.Enjoy Your New Home

  • Disclaimer

6+ Months Before Moving

1. Check Your Passport’s Expiry Date

Checking your passport's expiry date Checking your passport's expiry date

When moving from America to Canada, you must hold a passport that is valid for at least six months beyond the period of your intended stay. So, if you intend to stay in Canada for 12 months, your passport must be valid for 18 months, considering the time required to process your visa (which could be upwards of six months).

To be on the safe side, ensure your passport is valid for a minimum of 12 months (preferably longer) after your intended stay.

2. Apply for a New American Passport if Necessary

If your passport is not valid for a minimum 12 months beyond the period of your intended stay, you may need to apply for a new passport.

To apply for a normal American adult passport, you’ll need to:

  • Complete and sign the most appropriate application form. Depending on your circumstances, this may be form DS-11, DS-82 or DS-5504
  • Compile the relevant supporting documentation, including:
    • Your most recent US passport (if you have held one previously and are renewing your passport)
    • One passport photograph
    • Self-addressed Express Post envelope for the return of your new and old passports
    • Applicable fee
    • For damaged passports, you’ll also need a signed statement outlining the reason the passport is damaged.
  • Depending on the application form you have completed, submit your application either:
You should not sell your house or car, resign from your job, or make non-refundable flight or travel arrangements until you have received your immigrant visa.

3. Apply for Your Australian Visa

Applying for your Canada visa Applying for your Canada visa

You must obtain a visa before arriving on Australian soil. To do so, you must:

For further information visit How to Apply for a Australian Visa in our Ultimate How to Move to Canada from America Guide.

4. Apply for Your Social Insurance Number

When moving to Canada from America, once you have been granted a work permit, you’ll need to apply for a Social Insurance Number (SIN). A SIN is a nine-digit number that you need to work in Canada and access to government programs and benefits.

For further information visit How to Apply for a Social Insurance Number in our Ultimate How to Move to Canada from America Guide.

5. Decide Where You’re Moving To

Canada is a huge country, with a population of over 36 million people spread across some 10 million km2 (3.8 million square miles). If you’re not moving from America to Canada to a specific location for work, you’ll need to decide where to live.

For further information on factors to consider when deciding where to live visit How to Decide Where to Live in Canada in our Ultimate How to Move to Canada from America Guide.

6. Decide When You Need to Move

When it comes to knowing how to move to Canada, an important step is establishing approximately when you need to move, considering:

  • The start date of your (or your partner’s) new job
  • School term and university semester dates (if relevant). These vary from state-to-state, so be sure to check your local area
  • The seasons (you may not want to move to Yukon in the depths of winter)
  • Travel you intend to do before settling into your new home in Canada.

For further information, visit the When is the Best Time to Move to Canada? in our Ultimate How to Move to Canada from America Guide.

7. Decide What to Do with Your Current Home

If you’re not moving to Canada from America permanently, you’ll need to decide what to do with your current home:

  • Rent it out
  • Sell it
  • Leave it unoccupied, or
  • Terminate your lease.

There are several factors that you’ll need to consider when making this decision, particularly if you own your home. Some of the most important factors include:

  • The broader real estate market. Is it a seller’s market, or a buyer’s market?
  • Your financial situation. Selling a home incurs many costs that you need to factor in, including real estate agent fees, conveyancer fees, and stamp duty
  • The time of year. Certain months return better sales results in some local areas
  • Will you have time (in addition to organizing your international move)? Selling a house takes a considerable amount of time, from shortlisting real estate agents, carrying out repairs, and preparing your property for inspections, as well as vacating the premises a few times a week for inspections
  • Length of stay in Canada. If you are relocating for just 12 months, it may be more cost-effective to rent out your property.

8. If You’re Selling or Renting Out Your Current Home, Shortlist Real Estate Agents

Choosing a real estate agent is an important decision in selling or renting out your home. If you opt to sell, your real estate agent will handle advertising, inspections, the auction, and negotiating private offers. If you choose to rent out your home, your real estate agent will manage the property on your behalf, handling repairs and liaising with your tenants long-term. So, you need to choose carefully.

To shortlist real estate agents:

  • Contact three real estate agents with experience in your local area
  • Arrange for these prospective agents to appraise your home and provide a comparative market analysis
  • Interview the agents to ensure you’re comfortable working with them
  • Attend some of their other open houses and auctions to assess their services first-hand
  • Obtain detailed quotes, including all costs you’re likely to incur.

9. Take an Exploratory Trip to Canada

If possible, take an exploratory trip to Canada to better understand what lies ahead. During the trip:

  • Visit your future work place and the surrounding area
  • Explore possible neighborhoods in which to live
  • Visit potential schools nearby
  • Investigate housing options.

3 Months Before Moving (Or Once Your Visa is Approved)

Putting your current home on the market Putting your current home on the market

10. If You’ve Decided to Sell or Rent Out Your Current Home, Engage a Real Estate Agent

If you’ve decided to sell or rent out your current home, as soon as your visa is approved, engage the services of your preferred real estate agent. It is at this stage that you’ll sign a contract with your agent. This contract should outline items such as fees, advertising costs, the process if your home is passed in at auction, property management protocols, and much more. It is recommended that you seek legal advice to ensure you are happy with the terms of the contract.

11. If You’ve Decided to Sell or Rent Out Your Current Home, Put it on the Market

If you’re selling or renting out your current home, you’ll need to put it on the market. Some of the steps involved in this process include:

  • Confirm your price (whether this is your reserve sales price or rental price). Be sure to research recent comparable sale and rental prices in your local area
  • Confirm how and when you want to schedule open for inspection times. Will they be every weekend, mid-week, or by appointment only?
  • Confirm your preferred sales process—auction or private sale. Your real estate agent will be able to provide advice on this
  • Organize any contracts through your lawyer or conveyancer:
    • If you’re selling, you’ll need a contract of sale. These documents outline all details a prospective buyer might need, including the property’s title, settlement dates, conditions of sale, zoning certificates, easements, and sewer and water main diagrams
    • If you’re renting out your home, you’ll need a rental agreement, which includes limits on occupancy, the term of the lease, the cost of rent, deposits and fees, and responsibilities for repairs and pets.

12. If You’ve Decided to Sell or Rent Out Your Current Home, Prepare for Property Inspections

If you’re selling or renting out your home, you’ll want to do everything you can to secure the best possible price. As such, you’ll need to undertake some preparations to ensure that your property looks the best it possibly can, in both advertising photos and during inspections. Consider:

  • New paint, carpet and lights can be an affordable, yet effective means of updating a property and adding value to its sale or rental price
  • Installing heating and air-conditioning can add value, particularly to rental prices
  • New bathrooms and kitchens add the most value to a property. However, this is a large undertaking and may not be possible while also managing an international move. Be sure to perform a cost benefit analysis and seek the advice of your real estate agent
  • If anything is broken (such as leaking taps or chipped tiles, cracks in walls, or moldy grout), you should undertake minor repairs. You may attract a better caliber of renter or a higher purchase price if everything is in working condition
  • Declutter and thoroughly clean your property, including steam cleaning carpets and curtains, washing walls, and ensuring the front and back yards are immaculate
  • Enlisting the services of a professional staging company can help increase the perceived value of your property. A staging company will bring in their own furniture, artwork, rugs, and home décor items to decorate your house
  • If you’re renting out your property, you’ll need to ensure it meets all necessary laws, regulations and safety guidelines, particularly items like pool fencing, stairs, balconies, smoke detectors, blinds, and windows. Your real estate agent should be able to provide in-depth advice.

13. Decide What You Need to Move

Decide which of your belongings you’ll be shipping to Canada, leaving in your current home, storing, selling, donating and disposing of. (And make sure you speak to your UniGroup expert if you require short or long-term secure storage.).

Create a detailed inventory of all the items that you want to move to Canada to obtain accurate moving quotes and to determine how much would it cost to move to Canada. Your UniGroup moving expert can assist you with an easy-to-fill-out form.

For further information visit How Much Does It Cost to Move to Canada? and How to Ship Household Goods to Canada in our Ultimate How to Move to Canada from America Guide.

If you will be shipping most of your belongings by sea freight to Canada (which may take weeks or months to arrive), you may want to consider a small air freight consignment for essential items that you would like to have immediately on arrival.

14. Obtain Quotes from Experienced International Movers

Obtaining a quote from an experienced international removalist Obtaining a quote from an experienced international removalist

Container ships move in six different directions, often travelling over 20m (65ft) with each roll, as often as seven to 10 times per minute. So, with your belongings being tossed about for weeks on end, it’s essential that you entrust your move to an exceptionally experienced international moving company such as UniGroup Worldwide.

If you obtain a quote from another international mover, ensure they exhibit the same level of experience and capabilities as UniGroup Worldwide, including:

  • An industry leader with over 85 years of international moving-specific experience
  • Impartial third-party accreditation from the leading international moving industry association FIDI, to their highest FAIM standards
  • An impressive array of positive customer reviews, attesting to the superior quality of service
  • A truly global footprint to ensure no matter where you’re moving from or to, there is a local expert to provide timely advice and expertize
  • A broad range of international moving services delivered by highly trained and reliable expert consultants and movers
  • Free, no obligation moving quotes.

For further information visit How Much Does It Cost to Move to Canada? in our Ultimate How to Move to Canada from America Guide.

Given the extensive movement of sea freight and potential for damage if belongings are not properly packed, combined with the introduction of strict anti-terrorism laws and significant tightening of customs clearance processes for all personal effects shipments, UniGroup strongly recommends that you do not ship items to Canada that have not been packed by a professional moving company. The significantly higher potential for loss and damage of ‘owner packed’ items, as well as attracting stringent inspection by customs officials, often results in additional charges and long delays.

15. Book in Packing and Moving Dates

Once you’ve decided on where, when, and what you want to move, book in:

  • A date for the packers to meticulously pack your belongings
  • A date for the movers to carefully pickup and load your belongings (usually the day following the completion of your packing).

For further information visit When is the Best Time to Move to Canada? in our Ultimate How to Move to Canada from America Guide.

16. Obtain Quotes from Professional Secure Storage Providers

If you are storing any of your belongings while overseas, make sure you store them properly, safely and securely with a trusted and experienced short and long-term storage provider such as UniGroup Worldwide.

To help ensure your belongings are stored properly and safely, so they remain in their best condition, insist on the following criteria when selecting a storage provider:

  • Extensive years of experience as an industry leading storage expert, including accredited packers and movers to properly protect and deliver your belongings into short or long-term storage
  • A range of positive customer reviews, attesting to the safety and security of their storage
  • State-of-the-art storage facilities that are security, fire and flood monitored and free from pests and vermin.

17. Book in Secure Storage

Once you’ve decided on a secure storage provider, book in:

  • Your storage start date
  • Your storage pack and pickup date
  • A minimum anticipated, yet flexible end-date.

18. Take Stock of Food and Perishables

Review the contents of your freezer and pantry and create meal plans that will empty them prior to moving.

2 Months Before Moving

Making travel arrangements to Canada Making travel arrangements to Canada

19. Make Travel Arrangements

To save money on your travel arrangements:

  • Invest time in researching the best deals, as fares change frequently
  • Book flights as early as possible
  • Avoid school holidays and peak travel periods.

20. Book Temporary Accommodation and a Rental Car

If you plan on searching for your home once you arrive in Canada, book temporary accommodation for when you first arrive. Depending on where you plan to live, you may also want to book a rental car.

Where possible, book temporary accommodation that is within walking distance to your work, or public transport. This way, all members of your family will have access to transportation.

21. If Children are Accompanying You, Make Schooling Arrangements

At your child’s current school in America:

  • Give notice regarding your departure dates
  • Request copies of your child’s school reports or university transcripts and ensure they are readily available—it’s a good idea to take copies on the plane with you
  • If you plan on having your child return to the school, confirm and meet any necessary return requirements.

For your child’s education in Canada, you’ll need to:

  • Understand how the Australian education system operates
  • Investigate the type of school you wish your children to attend
  • Shortlist specific schools
  • Arrange tours of shortlisted schools for when you first arrive in Canada.

To assist you in finding the most appropriate school for your children, visit:

For further information visit What is the Education and Schooling System Like in Canada? in our Ultimate How to Move to Canada from America Guide.

22. Confirm Vehicle Transportation

Most vehicles sold in countries other than the United States cannot be imported into Canada. If you are considering importing a vehicle into Canada that you bought in America, you need to carefully review all importation requirements, and keep in mind that it is a criminal offense to import a vehicle into Canada that does not meet the requirements of the Motor Vehicle Safety Act.

To avoid unnecessary headaches and expenses speak to a UniGroup Worldwide international moving expert for all your vehicle transportation requirements.

For further information visit How to Import Vehicles into Canada in our Ultimate How to Move to Canada from America Guide and our Australian Customs Forms & Guides for Moving Overseas.

23. Confirm Pet Transportation

Confirming Pet Transportation To Canada Confirming Pet Transportation To Canada

You can take most pets to Canada, so long as they are free from infectious diseases that are transmittable to humans and are not deemed harmful to the environment.

Airlines may have separate and additional requirements for the transportation of pets. Be sure to check with your airline to determine what requirements, if any, they may have.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency stipulates that all animals and animal products entering Canada must have documentation. This documentation is known as a ‘pet passport’. Apply for your pet passport using this form.

To ensure a stress-free relocation to Canada for your pet, speak to a UniGroup Worldwide international moving professional about all your pet transportation requirements.

For more information visit How to Import Pets into Canada in our Ultimate How to Move to Canada from America Guide and our Canada Customs Forms & Guides for Moving Overseas.

Ensure all your pet’s vaccinations and health-checks are up-to-date and obtain a copy of your pet’s medical records or a signed letter from your veterinarian.

24. Confirm Weapons Importation Requirements

Firearms purchased outside Canada are subject to complicated clearance procedures and are very difficult to import. As such, they can delay customs clearances and result in additional charges. If you intend to take weapons with you, it is best to confirm all importation requirements as early as possible.

For more information visit How to Import Weapons into Canada in our Ultimate How to Move to Canada from America Guide and our Canada Customs Forms & Guides for Moving Overseas.

25. Confirm Alcohol Importation Requirements

You may import wines and other alcoholic beverages into Canada as part of your household goods shipment, pursuant to the laws of the province or territory in which you plan to reside.

For more information visit How to Import Alcohol into Canada in our Ultimate How to Move to Canada from America Guide and our Canada Customs Forms & Guides for Moving Overseas.

26. Confirm Plant Importation Requirements

Regulations around importing plants into Canada are quite strict to prevent damage caused by plant pests. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency regulates the import of plants and plant products under several different acts, including the Plant Protection Act and Regulations and the relevant sections of the Seeds Act and Regulations.

For more information visit How to Import Plants into Canada in our Ultimate How to Move to Canada from America Guide and our Canada Customs Forms & Guides for Moving Overseas.

27. Investigate Employment Options

If you’ve already secured a new role (or are moving to Canada for a specific employment opportunity), now is the time to investigate employment options for your partner (if needed). Or, if you haven’t secured a role, to investigate employment options for yourself.

For more information visit How to Find Employment in Canada and What is Working in Canada Like? in our Ultimate How to Move to Canada from America Guide.

28. Investigate Local Customs and Cultural Differences

If you’re an an American moving to Canada, you should investigate local Canadian customs and common cultural differences to help you assimilate more easily into Canadian culture on arrival.

For more information on some of the common cultural differences visit our Ultimate How to Move to Canada from America Guide:

29. Declutter Your Home

A cluttered house will make moving to Canada unnecessarily stressful; packing will take longer, and the cost of your move and storage will be more expensive (as fees are based on the volume of items). If you’re not selling or renting out your home (in which case you will have already completed this step), now is the time to declutter your home, determining which items you will:

  • Keep and ship to Canada
  • Keep and place in secure long-term storage in America
  • Sell or donate to charity
  • Throw away.

30. Start Packing

How can I move to Canada with minimal stress? Engage experienced, professional international packers, like the team at UniGroup Worldwide. Not only will it reduce, if not eliminate, the most stressful part of moving, it will help ensure your belongings are packed safely for their long journey to Canada.

If you’re not using a professional packing service, make sure you start packing as early as possible:

  • Create an inventory of all items to be packed, paying careful attention to precious, special and fragile items
  • Invest in superior quality protective wrapping and packing materials:
    • Professionally designed and constructed double-corrugated moving boxes
    • Packing material, like bubble wrap and packing paper (like ‘butcher’s paper’, not newspaper)
    • Incidentals like tape, markers and zip-lock bags.
  • Reinforce boxes by securely taping the top, bottom and sides
  • Start by packing items rarely used (like books and CDs, and things stored in garages, basements or your roof space)
  • Always pack individual boxes properly:
    • Keep each box to a maximum of 20kg (45lb) to make moving the box easy and to avoid boxes breaking under excess weight
    • Evenly distribute weight, with heavy items placed at the bottom of boxes and lighter items at the top
    • Pack to the top of the box and fill empty space with bedding, clothing, bubble wrap or paper to prevent movement, breakages, and boxes collapsing.
  • Clearly label every moving box, including the contents of the box (not just the room in which it belongs). For example: ‘Kitchen: Plates and Mugs’; not just ‘Kitchen’.

For more information visit our Ultimate How to Pack for Moving Tips & Guide.

31. Complete Your Customs Declaration Forms as You Pack

Complete your customs declaration forms as you pack. This will help ensure the forms are completed as accurately as possible. The information you’ll need includes:

  • A list of the items in your shipment
  • The value of each item
  • Whether each item was purchased within the last year.

The forms you’ll need to complete include:

For more information visit our Canada Customs Forms & Guides for Moving Overseas.

32. Organize Your Finances

  • Find out whether your current bank has branches in Canada and if it can handle your future needs
  • If you’re moving overseas for work, but you’re employed by the same company, confirm whether your salary needs to be paid into your existing bank account or into your new Canadian account
  • If you plan on using your existing debit and credit cards in Canada, confirm whether they will work and what the fees are likely to be
  • Organize some Canadian dollars so that you have local currency on hand when you first arrive
  • Consider opening a new local bank account near your new home
  • Make sure you have copies of bank statements and other documentation that proves you have a good credit rating. This will make applying for new credit cards and loans easier
  • Ensure all your tax returns are up-to-date.

For more information visit What is a Credit Rating? in our Ultimate How to Move to Canada from America Guide.

1 Month Before Moving

Investigating housing in Canada Investigating housing in Canada

33. Investigate Housing in Canada

If you’re not moving Canada from America for work, or your employer hasn’t organized housing for you, investigate potential properties to buy or rent in Canada.

For more information visit What is Housing Like in Canada? in our Ultimate How to Move to Canada from America Guide.

34. Pay Final Bills and Cancel or Suspend Accounts, Subscriptions and Policies

  • Ensure all outstanding bills are paid or will be covered as needed
  • Consider whether you should cancel or suspend your Australian accounts, subscriptions, policies and other ongoing services, including:
    • Bank accounts and credit cards
    • Insurances (health, house and contents, car, income protection and business)
    • Utilities (gas, water and power)
    • Phone, internet and pay TV services
    • Magazine and newspaper subscriptions
    • Gym memberships.
When cancelling your insurance or other services where you may have prepaid for the year, check whether you’re entitled to a refund for the period after the cancellation. Plus, if you have one, obtain a copy of your ‘good driving record’ or ‘no claims status’ from your vehicle insurer as it may be beneficial for a new policy in Canada.

35. Notify Your Change of Address

  • Arrange a mail redirection service through noun.mail
  • Notify the following of your departure date and new forwarding address:
    • Banks
    • Accountant
    • Solicitor
    • Medical professionals
    • noun.tax
    • Insurance companies
    • Utility providers
    • Local council
    • Motor vehicle register.
  • Download this handy Change of Address Checklist to help ensure you haven’t missed any important contacts.

36. Hire a Handyman

If your current home lease or contract of sale includes any repair work prior to you vacating the premises, book in a handyman now. (UniGroup Worldwide can assist you with this if needed.)

37. If You’re Ending Your Lease, Notify Your Landlord

If you’re ending a lease, now is the time to notify your landlord. Make sure you understand any requirements, including:

  • Vacate clean standards (carpets steam cleaned, walls washed and so on)
  • Final inspection date and requirements
  • When and how your bond will be returned
  • When and how you need to return keys.

38. If You’re Renting Out Your Current Home, Confirm Details with Your Property Manager

If you’ve decided to rent out your current home, touch base with your property manager to confirm:

  • Tenant move-in dates
  • Exchange of property keys
  • Inspection dates and an agreed property inventory
  • Responsibilities for repairs
  • The process if tenants break their lease
  • Your preferred method of contact.

39. If You’re Selling Your Current Home, Confirm Details with Your Real Estate Agent

If you’ve decided to sell your current home, touch base with your real estate agent to confirm:

  • Final inspection date
  • Settlement date
  • Exchange of property keys.

40. Attend to Your Medical Needs

  • Have check-ups with any medical practitioners you regularly visit: doctor, dentist, optometrist and so on
  • Obtain original copies of your medical records
  • Order spare contact lenses or spare glasses
  • Ensure your children’s routine vaccinations are up-to-date and you have a record of them
  • If you require any travel-specific vaccinations or inoculations, make sure they are up-to-date and you have a record of them
  • Obtain prescriptions for any medication you take regularly, keeping in mind regulations around prescription medication:
    • To expedite the customs clearance procedure and avoid costly delays, do not include prescription medication in your household goods shipment. Instead, carry all prescription drugs with you as you enter the country
    • Canada limits the importation of prescription drugs for personal use to a supply of three months or less
    • Do not consolidate your prescription medications into one container. Instead, keep your medicine in separate containers, clearly labeled (in English) with the name of the medication and prescribing doctor, the dosage, and directions for use
    • If your medication does not have sufficient documentation, it may be destroyed or detained until you provide the required paperwork. It is helpful to obtain a letter from your doctor explaining the medications prescribed.
  • Confirm the brand and generic name of any medications you take regularly in case you need to purchase an alternative in Canada.

For more information visit What is the Healthcare System Like in Canada? in our Ultimate How to Move to Canada from America Guide.

41. Check if Your Australian Appliances and Electronics Will Work in Canada

Attending to your medical needs prior to moving to Canada Attending to your medical needs prior to moving to Canada

There are three potential compatibility issues when it comes to using Australian appliances and electronics in Canada: the plug, the voltage and the frequency. You should therefore thoroughly check the power labels or manuals of all your appliances and electronics to ensure they are compatible with Canadian standards, before incurring the cost of shipping over what might be useless upon arrival. Buying new or secondhand appliances and electronics once you arrive may not only be more cost-effective, but your only solution.

For more information visit Will Australian Appliances and Electronics Work in Canada? in our Ultimate How to Move to Canada from America Guide.

42. Arrange Moving Insurance

As a rule, your standard house and contents insurance won’t cover your personal possessions while in transit. An experienced international mover like UniGroup will offer a comprehensive range of cost-effective moving insurance options. Speak to your UniGroup expert to arrange transit and storage insurance that suits your needs and budget.

43. If You’re Renting Out Your Current Home, Arrange Landlord’s Insurance

If you’ve decided to rent out your current home, you’ll need to inform the company responsible for your home and contents insurance that you are no longer living there. You may also want to arrange landlord’s insurance. This protects against financial losses that may be suffered because of owning a rental property. You can opt for insurance that covers the building only, as well as specific items that you may have left on the premises.

44. Investigate Drivers’ License Requirements

When moving to Canada from America, you may need an International Driving Permit (IDP), in addition to a valid Australian drivers’ license. If you intend on obtaining an IDP, you must do so in advance. IDPs are issued by Australian motor vehicle departments, not the Canadian Government.

For more information visit Can You Drive in Canada with a Foreign License? in our Ultimate How to Move to Canada from America Guide.

45. Familiarize Yourself with Canadian Road Rules

If you plan to drive once you arrive in Canada, there are many different road rules of which you should be aware.

For more information about driving in Canada and road rules visit What are the Road Rules when Driving in Canada? in our Ultimate How to Move to Canada from America Guide.

46. Safely Dispose of Dangerous and Prohibited Items

Safely dispose of any dangerous or prohibited goods that cannot be shipped to Canada or stored. People attempting to import prohibited items into Canada may be subject to a penalty and the items may be seized by customs officials.

For more information visit What Items are Prohibited When Shipping Goods to Canada? in our Ultimate How to Move to Canada from America Guide and our Canada Customs Forms & Guides for Moving Overseas.

47. Take All Necessary Precautions and Obtain Permits for Restricted Items

Shipping some items to Canada (such as biological materials, money, trademarked items, and food) are subject to restrictions, and will require additional precautions, special customs clearance, or permits. Be sure you’re aware of these requirements, and apply for any permits as early as possible.

For more information visit What Items are Restricted when Shipping Goods to Canada? in our Ultimate How to Move to Canada from America Guide and our Canada Customs Forms & Guides for Moving Overseas.

2 Weeks Before Moving

Packing your suitcases for your move to Canada Packing your suitcases for your move to Canada

48. Pack Your Suitcases

Start packing your suitcases now, while making a detailed inventory list as you go. Your suitcase should contain all the essential items that you and your family members will need as soon as you arrive in Canada, including:

  • Clothing (appropriate for the local season and activities)
  • Toiletries
  • favorite toys for children
  • Essential electronic devices, like laptops, tablets, cell phones and their chargers
  • Prescription medications.

For more information visit our Canada Customs Forms & Guides for Moving Overseas.

49. Confirm Movers’ Access Requirements

Confirm any of your movers’ access requirements at your existing home, such as parking and building access and restrictions, traffic management and lift protocols. Remember to check street signage and the requirements of your local council, building manager or body corporate.

50. Reconfirm Move Details with Your Mover

Reconfirm all your Canada move details with your international movers, including:

  • Your Australia pickup and Canadian delivery addresses and contact details
  • The day and time that your professional packers will arrive
  • Any movers’ access requirements (as confirmed above), such as parking and building access, traffic management and lift protocols
  • The day and time your belongings will be picked up
  • Expected transit time and delivery dates
  • All paperwork (such as insurance policies and customs declarations forms) is correct and on file.

51. Book in Cleaning Services

If you’re renting, or your contract of sale requires it, book in a ‘vacate clean’ at your current home for the day after your belongings are picked up. (UniGroup Worldwide can assist you with this if needed.)

52. Back-Up Your Computers and Devices

Now is the time to back-up all your computers, tablets, cell phones and other storage devices that are being shipped to Canada, placed into storage, and/or will accompany you on the plane. Be sure to safely store the back-ups separately to the original devices.

Covering off any incidentals before departing for Canada Covering off any incidentals before departing for Canada

53. Cover Off Any Incidentals

There will always be last-minute odd jobs when moving overseas, including:

  • Picking up dry cleaning
  • Returning library books
  • Returning house keys to your friends, family and neighbors
  • Buying any products that you’re not likely to find in Canada
  • Using as much of the food in your pantry, fridge and freezer as possible.

1 Week Before Moving

Completing odd jobs before your move to the Canada Completing odd jobs before your move to the Canada

54. Complete Odd Jobs

With just one week before your move to Canada, you should be just about ready to go, bar a few odd jobs:

  • Finish packing any moving and storage boxes if you’re self-packing
  • Finish packing your suitcases
  • Reconfirm your travel arrangements, including your flights, temporary accommodation and rental car
  • Confirm with utility companies that your services are set to be disconnected
  • If you’re renting, reconfirm the details of your final inspection with your landlord
  • Make sure you’re going to be at home, and available, on the day your professional packers and movers arrive to:
    • Provide guidance on what you need packed for sea, air freight or storage
    • Confirm that everything on your inventory has been packed and loaded.

The Day Before Moving Day

Completing last-minute jobs relocating to Canada Completing last-minute jobs relocating to Canada

55. Complete Last-Minute Jobs

If you’ve followed this checklist, the day before moving day should just include a few last-minute jobs:

  • If you’ve contracted professional packers, they should arrive today. So, be sure you’re home and available to provide instructions on what needs to be packed
  • Inform your mover of any last-minute changes
  • Clean out your fridge and completely defrost your freezer. Leave the doors open overnight to ensure they’re completely dry and odor-free
  • Completely drain liquid from irons, washing machines, dryers, dishwashers, and icemakers
  • Reinstall your washing machine’s transit bolts to prevent damage
  • Fully charge your cell phones and other electronic devices, and make sure you have a hard copy of any important phone numbers, just in case your phone runs out of battery.
To help ensure mold doesn’t grow on your belongings while in transit or storage, it is essential that all water is removed from your belongings, and all items are completely dry before pickup.

Moving Day

Managing a stress-free moving day to Canada Managing a stress-free moving day to Canada

56. Manage a Stress-Free Moving Day

On moving day, you need to make sure you separate and carry with you:

  • Important documents:
    • Passports
    • Travel documents
    • Birth certificates
    • Marriage certificates
    • Divorce papers
    • Child custody papers
    • Adoption papers
    • Driving licenses
    • Medical records
    • School and university records
    • Insurance policies
    • Legal documents (wills, power of attorney, bank statements, income tax records, and so on).
  • Valuable and irreplaceable items, such as jewelry and personal keepsakes
  • Cell phones, devices and their chargers
  • Fully documented prescriptions and other medical items.

Before you leave your existing property ensure:

  • All your personal possessions are packed
  • All the utilities have been switched off and disconnected
  • The property is locked and secure
  • All house keys and garage door openers have been given to your landlord, real estate agent or solicitor.

Once You Arrive in Canada

57. Unpack Your Belongings

If you’re in Canada to take delivery of your shipment:

  • Ensure you’re home the day on which your shipment arrives
  • Give your movers a plan—tell them how and where you’d like furniture and boxes placed
  • Check boxes, furniture and appliances off your inventory to ensure everything is delivered
  • Thoroughly inspect all boxes, furniture and appliances to ensure they arrive in the same condition in which they left your old home.

58. Open a Bank Account

To open a bank account, visit the local branch of your chosen bank with:

  • Proof of permanent residency (such as your visa)
  • Your passport
  • Your Social Insurance Number
  • Proof of your new address
  • A deposit (the minimum deposit amounts vary from bank to bank, so be sure you confirm the exact amount prior to visiting your local branch).

Some of the biggest banks in Canada include:

When choosing which bank to use, shop around for the fee structure that suits you best. In Canada, banks often charge customers for the use of their services or have a minimum monthly deposit requirement. Several banks offer introductory deals or rates, so be sure to confirm exactly how long these deals last, and what sort of charges apply long-term. You don’t want to be surprised by a huge increase in fees.

59. Take Out Health Insurance

While medical care and services in Canada are among the most advanced in the world, they are also among the most expensive.

As such, it is vital that you take out health insurance, particularly as all medical treatment (even a trip to your local doctor for the flu) must be paid for.

For more information visit What is the Healthcare System Like in Canada? in our Ultimate How to Move to Canada from America Guide.

Depending on your provider, your Australian health insurance company may offer international cover when moving to Canada. This will help ease the pressure when you first arrive—you can shop around for the best health insurance provider once you’re settled in Canada, while still having the peace of mind that you’re covered in the interim.

60. Connect Your Utilities

Once you’ve found a property to rent or buy, you’ll need to organize the connection of your electricity, water and gas utilities.

For more information visit How Do Electricity, Water and Gas Utilities Work in Canada? in our Ultimate How to Move to Canada from America Guide.

61. Organize a Cell Phone and Internet

Organising a mobile phone and internet once you arrive in the Canada Organising a mobile phone and internet once you arrive in the Canada

There are many cell phone and internet providers in Canada, all of which offer a range of different packages at various price points. Be sure to do your research into which package best suits your needs before signing a contract.

For more information visit How Do Mobile Phones and the Internet Work in Canada? in our Ultimate How to Move to Canada from America Guide.

Enrolling your children in a Canadian school Enrolling your children in a Canadian school

62. Enroll Your Children in School

When residing in Canada, you’ll need to enroll your children at your preferred school. To do so, you’ll need:

  • An up-to-date record of your child’s vaccinations
  • A copy of their birth certificate
  • A copy of their school records
  • For state schools, proof that you live in the school district (such as a utility bill or bank statement)
  • To undertake any necessary assessments to determine in which grade your child belongs.

For more information visit What is the Education and Schooling System Like in Canada? in our Ultimate How to Move to Canada from America Guide.

63. Enroll Your Children in University

If your children will attend university in Canada, you’ll need to enroll them as soon as possible. Universities will also consider your child’s grades and what sort of subjects they’ve chosen to study. For specific entry requirements for international students, it’s best to consult individual universities.

For more information visit What is the Education and Schooling System Like in Canada? in our Ultimate How to Move to Canada from America Guide.

64. Pay Tax

As with any developed nation, there are several taxes that you’ll be required to pay when living in Canada. These may include:

  • Income tax
  • Sales tax
  • Medicare tax
  • Canadian pension plan
  • Property tax.

For more information visit What Tax Do I Pay in Canada? in our Ultimate How to Move to Canada from America Guide.

65. Enjoy Your New Home

Once all the logistics of moving to Canada from America are finalized, it’s time to enjoy your new home! Get out, discover your new neighborhood, see the local sights, make some new friends and enjoy your next big adventure.

For more information visit What to See and Do in Canada in our Ultimate How to Move to Canada from America Guide.

Disclaimer

We have been furnished with the above information, however, UniGroup Worldwide Moving gives no guarantees or undertakings concerning the accuracy, completeness, or up-to-date nature of the information provided. It is essential that users verify all information contained here before taking any action or relying upon it. UniGroup Worldwide cannot be held liable for any actions taken based on the information contained within this Checklist.