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Picture of Canadian currency in different denominations. An important question to ask is "How much money will I need to bring to Canada?"

How much money will I need to move to Canada? The answer to this important question really depends on the size of your family. Applying to become a permanent resident (PR) in Canada can be a long process that includes showing proof of funds to the Canadian visa office in your home country. Proof of funds shows that you have the minimum amount of settlement funds to support you and your family (even if your family will arrive at a later date) when in Canada. Discover how you can meet proof of funds requirements for Express Entry, the steps to take, minimum amounts, and documents (i.e. proof of funds letter) you’ll need.

Steps to Show Proof of Funds for Express Entry

Step One: Determine the minimum amount you require to show proof of funds for PR in Canada

You must show that you have enough money to settle in Canada and to cover living expenses such as housing, food, transit, and other costs. Depending on which city you settle in, living in Canada can be quite expensive. To reduce financial pressure, ideally, you should have enough money to cover expenses until you land a job in Canada.

Step Two: Assess your financial situation

Once you know the minimum amount of settlement funds you’ll require, you can assess your current financial situation. Consider how much money you have in savings, investments, cash, etc. You may discover that you need to improve your financial situation so that you can easily show that you meet the minimum requirements. Or, you may find that you’re in a great financial position with suitable settlement funds while you get your fresh start in Canada!

Step Three: Contact your financial institution to obtain a proof of funds letter and other documents

If you are invited to apply for permanent residence, you need to provide proof that you have the minimum amount of funds available. These funds must be money that you can readily access. Your bank will need to provide a proof of funds letter that is written on the bank’s letterhead and includes the following:

  • The bank’s contact information
  • Your name
  • all outstanding debts such as credit card debts and loans
  • Account number, the date the account was opened, current balance, and average balance for the last six months for each bank and current investment account.
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How Much Money Will I Need for Proof of Funds?

Before you move to Canada, you need to show that you have the minimum amount of settlement funds set by IRCC. Known as proof of funds, this shows the Canadian government that you have enough money to settle in Canada and cover living expenses. Each year, the government updates how much money you will need to bring to Canada. As of April 2023, you must show that you meet the minimum amount of settlement funds:

Number of Family MembersFunds Required (Canadian Dollars)
For each additional family member$3,706
The amount of settlement funds you require depends on the size of your family.

Who Needs to Show Proof of Funds?

You must show proof of funds if you are applying using the:

  • Federal Skilled Worker Program
  • Federal Skilled Trades Program.

However, you do NOT have to show proof of funds if you:

  • Are currently working or authorized to work in Canada, OR
  • Have been invited to apply for the Canadian Experience Class.

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Tips to Obtain and Maintain Proof of Funds for Canada PR

  • Update your Express Entry Profile if there is a change in your settlement funds. You need to keep your profile updated to maintain your eligibility.
  • Avoid unnecessary spending to ensure that you have the minimum amount of funds available and that you can access the funds easily.
  • Maintain a financial buffer to allow you to meet any unexpected expenses or fluctuations in the exchange rate

How Much Money Can I Bring to Canada?

While you must meet the minimum amount of proof of funds, you can bring as much money as you wish to make it easier to move to Canada and find a home.

Note, however, when you cross the border and enter Canada, Canadian customs regulations require you to declare if you are bringing more than C$10,000 into Canada. You may be fined or imprisoned if you do not tell them. To avoid this, declare how much money you are bringing and expect to pay duty (a fee) on the amount greater than $10,000 Canadian. These funds could be in the form of:

  • Cash
  • Stocks, bonds, debentures, treasury bills, etc.) or
  • Bankers’ drafts, cheques, travellers’ cheques, or money orders.

How Much Money Do I Need to Settle in Canada? 

Beyond the minimum funds that you require, it’s helpful if you can exceed the minimum. Having more money will help you to settle in Canada with ease and reduce financial pressure. It’s a smart idea to research the cost of living in the city where you plan to settle. The additional amount of funds that you require will vary based on:

  • Your family size.

Consider any additional financial needs that you and your family may have. Each family will have different financial needs. Also, it’s a good idea to research how much things cost in the city where you plan to live.  Here are some basic guidelines to help you assess how much you may need (costs do not include airfare or moving expenses):

  • One adult moving alone: $25,000 CDN
  • One couple moving together: $30,000 CDN
  • A couple with one child under 10 years: $33,000
  • A couple with a child over 10: $35,000
  • For each additional child under 10: add $1,000
  • For each child additional child over 10: add $2,000

Basically, these guidelines will provide you with breathing room to settle in Canada with financial ease. And depending on how well you budget, this should be enough money to cover basic living expenses for four to six months while you are searching for a job.

Researching the Cost of Living in Canadian Cities

Canada is a large country with regional, cultural, and economic differences. So, be sure to research and compare the cost of living in different cities to get a general idea of how much additional money you will need to settle. Also consider that once you arrive, it may take you some time before you find a job.

Settlement and employment experts suggest that it can take up to six months to find employment. In that case, having enough money to cover living expenses for several months can reduce financial stress.

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To give you an idea of living costs, here are the average costs for rental housing, utilities, and some basic goods and commodities in Toronto, Vancouver, and Calgary (all prices are in Canadian dollars):

Housing & Utilities
Per Month
1 Bedroom apartment in the city centre (rent/month)$2,535.11$2,666.06$1,729.05
Basic utilities (electricity, heating, cooling, water)$202.14$148.97$323.72
Internet (60 Mbs or more, unlimited data, cable)$73.51$87.88$94.25
Average cost of rental housing and utilities as of Aug 2023. Source Numbeo
Public transit (monthly pass)$156.00$120.00$112.00
Gasoline (1 litre)$1.55$1.88$1.38
Taxi (normal tariff)$4.62$4.00$4.50
Average cost of some typical transportation costs as of Aug 2023. Source: Numbeo
(Restaurants & Market)
inexpensive restaurant
Meal for 2 people
mid-range restaurant
Domestic Beer (Restaurant)$8.00$8.00$7.50
Milk (1 litre)$3.69$3.03$2.57
Rice (1 kg)$4.53$5.11$4.14
Chicken fillets (1 kg)$16.42$17.77$15.40
Eggs (12)$4.58$5.98$4.27
Apples (1 kg)$5.34$5.24$5.25
Average cost of food as of Aug 2023. Source: Numbeo

For current rental prices in cities across Canada visit Rentals for Newcomers.

Showing proof of funds for PR in Canada is a vital part of the immigration process. If you or a family member is planning to move to the country in the near future, plan to meet or even exceed the minimum funds that you require. It will make your application process easier and serve to reduce financial pressures when you arrive in Canada.

Learn more about financial first steps in Canada by visiting our Banking in Canada resource page. Get essential information to manage your finances in Canada before and after you arrive!