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Moving to Canada

Setting your sights on a move to Canada from the UK? From the bustling streets of Toronto to the serene landscapes of the Canadian Rockies – let’s dive into everything you need to know about relocating to The Great White North. Discover the essential steps, from navigating immigration to selecting the best international removal company. We’ve got all the insider info to prepare you for the big move, covering both the nitty-gritty of immigration, to the logistics of moving your life and belongings across.

Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

Cost of Moving to Canada from the UK

The cost of a move to Canada from the United Kingdom is between £2,888 and £12,550.

To estimate your moving budget, you will need to take into account several elements:

  • The volume to be transported and the choice of container (20 feet, 40 feet, by grouping)
  • Flexibility and duration of transport
  • Customs formalities and the time limit for customs clearance of your belongings
  • The date of entry into your new accommodation
  • Whether there is a need for a storage unit

Here is a rough indication of the expected costs for a removal to Canada:

Moving to CanadaAverage prices
International move UK / Canada£2,888 – £4,650
Customs fees (laser inspection) £215
Customs fees (container inspection)£675
Furniture storage £125/month
Moving insurance1.5% – 3%

Save Up to 40% on Your Move to Canada!

What Determines the Price of an International Move?

International removal costs are calculated based on the transport method, your destination city, and the size of your move. Read on to get useful tips for what to expect, and how to ensure your relocation to Canada is as stress-free as can be:

How to Move Your Belongings to Canada?

There are two preferred methods for international removals from the UK to Canada: sea freight or air freight. The most cost-effective way to move items to Canada from the UK is by sea freight, which typically takes between 9-12 days.

Shipping via air freight is the best option if you are running short on time. Airfreight shipping typically takes between 1 to 3 days. However, this comes with a higher price tag. So, the amount you can ship may be limited.

Here’s the ballpark for the two shipping options for moving over to Canada:

House SizeShipping Container Via SeaShipping Container Via Air Freight
1-2 Bedroom House£2,888 – £3,192 (20ft)£7,509 – £8,299
3-5 Bedroom House£5,487 – £6,065 (40ft)£9,599 – £12,550

Door-to-Door Removal Service

From the administrative procedures to the packing and disassembly of your furniture, a door-to-door service package means that every aspect of your removal is taken care of by the movers. Ask for the all-inclusive price so you don’t have any surprises on arrival.

Moving to Canada by Shipping Container

Moving service Volume m3 Costs
the UK / Canada (groupage) 7 m3 £1,100 – £1,700
the UK / Canada (all included) 10 m3 £2,350 – £3,000
the UK / Canada door to door, including customs clearance 25 m3-33 m3£4,650 – £6,500
the UK / Canada yourself (via carrier only) 33 m3 £3,000 – £4,300

If you ship your belongings by sea, door-to-door removal will approximately take 3 to 6 weeks. There might be up to 10 more days needed to get your items from the Canadian port to your new house. It is important to take these potential delays into account when planning your move.

Immigration to Canada: Requirements

Do you need a visa for Canada? It’s possible to stay in Canadian territory for up to 6 months without a resident visa. But for moving to Canada as a British citizen you must file a residency application with the Canadian government. There are programs like family sponsorship, provincial nominees, Express Entry for skilled workers, and more. Overall, immigration possibilities to Canada depend on your situation and eligibility criteria.

Application Fees for Canadian Residence Permits

Type of Canadian Visa Costs
Study permit (foreign student)£87
Work permit-£90 / person
-£325 / group (a group of 3 or more people)
Express Entry Canada (for skilled workers)£800
Permanent residence£283

Can you Move to Canada Without a Job?

You can apply for specific visas such as the Canada working holiday visa if you are relocating to Canada and you don’t have a job offer. This permit allows you to travel and work within Canada for up to 2 years if you are a British citizen between the ages of 18 and 30. The cost of the International Experience Canada program (IEC) is CAN$172.

Moving to Canada Checklist

It is important to make a checklist before organising your relocation to Canada from the UK:

  • Apply for a visa
  • Choose a moving date
  • Ask for removal quotes from trusted international moving firms
  • Pack and start organising your relocation
  • Notify service and utility providers about your address change
  • Make sure that loading, transport, and delivery of your belongings are scheduled

Which Documents Do I Need to Move to Canada?

Below you can find a list of all the important documents to bring to your new country:

  • Valid passport (for each family member)
  • Visas/work permit or residence card
  • Certificate of change of residence (to be requested from your town hall in your departure city)
  • Proof of residence status in Canada
  • A detailed inventory of your belongings
  • The completed B4 form is to be handed over upon your arrival at the airport, to check your belongings (usually prepared by your moving company).

What to Know When Moving to Canada?

Like with any long-distance international move, there are some important things, and certain formalities to consider when planning your relocation and life in Canada. Let’s take a look at some of these:

1. The British Community in Canada

The British community here is very dynamic. There are more than 650,000 people who have left to settle in Canadian cities and provinces with their family members, their partners, or as singles.

Indeed, the country is one of the most attractive moving destinations for expats due to the straightforward procedures for moving to Canada, and English as the official language. Canada is also a member of the Commonwealth and shares a very similar culture and overall lifestyle with the UK.

2. Customs Formalities in Canada

It’s not recommended to take everything you own or have in your house in the UK into Canada. Indeed, certain products might be heavily taxed. The country has strict rules regarding imported food, plants, and minerals. In the table below you can find some examples. Note that this list is not exhaustive, though your moving company will communicate all the prohibitions and regulations to you:

Cars (less than 15 years)Prohibited on import, except for collection vehicles.
Cars (more than 15 years)This must meet the standards of the country to have the right to enter the territory.
Mattresses and beddingAuthorized on condition of providing a fumigation certificate to customs (ie, previously disinfected).
Food or wineImportation is authorized but limited in quantity and subject to a specific tax. Provide a complete and detailed inventory.
PlantsThey are generally prohibited (flowers, soil, wooden box, etc.).

3. Moving to Canada with Pets

Moving successfully to Canada with your pet, such as a dog or a cat, requires your furry friends to be up to date with animal vaccinations and a certificate. There is no microchip or identification required. A visual inspection is required upon arrival in the territory (with a fee of CAD$30) to verify the import requirements to Canada.

4. Salary and Cost of Living

The national currency is the Canadian Dollar (CAD 1 = £0.59 – Feb. 2024). The median salary in Canada is around $3,650 per month (or £ 2138,68), with some variation between the major cities. Indeed, Toronto and Vancouver are the cities with the highest cost of living, but daily prices and expenses are often lower than in the UK.

5. Canadian Time Zones

The time difference between the UK and Canada is 5 hours with the East Coast (Toronto) and 8 hours with the West Coast (Vancouver).

6. Voltage Differences in the UK vs Canada

The voltage in Canada is 110 V (vs the UK’s 230 V). Thus, it’s wise to consider that many electronic devices and appliances may not work across the pond, possibly not even with adapters.

7. Where to Live in Canada?

The most popular areas to live for British who settle in Canada are, among others, the cities of:

  • Ottawa, Ontario
  • Hamilton, Ontario
  • Vancouver, British Columbia
  • London, Ontario
  • Edmonton, Alberta
  • Surrey, British Columbia

The 4 Steps Left to Do After Moving to Canada

When you’ve arrived in your new homeland, remember that you must register with the Canadian government. This registration will then allow you to receive useful documents. Some of the most important ones are:

1. Social Insurance Number (SIN):

This will be essential and required for most of your procedures in Canada. You must present your (original) identity documents and visas to the local Service Canada Center.

2. Canadian Health Insurance Card:

You can apply for it from a local doctor or a medical professional. Once this form has been completed and returned, you can benefit from the free health care system.

3. Driver’s License:

You can transfer your British driver’s license, although the latter will be valid for three months in Canada.  You might be required to do again the driving exam depending on the provinces and the agreements.

4. Vaccination Record:

You’ll need to provide the vaccination record of your family to register your children in educational establishments.

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