4 Things You Must Do When You Land in Canada

Canada’s allure as one of the most visited countries stems from its breathtaking landscapes, rich culture, and exceptional quality of life. For those planning to make the move to the Great White North, thorough preparation is essential for a smooth transition. This comprehensive guide goes beyond the basics, providing detailed information on the critical steps you need to take immediately upon landing in Canada.

1. Obtain Your Social Insurance Number (SIN)

Why You Need It

Upon your arrival in Canada, obtaining your Social Insurance Number (SIN) is crucial for accessing various services, including employment and government benefits.

How to Get It

  1. At the Airport: SIN can be acquired at the airport upon arrival.
  2. Service Canada Office: Visit a Service Canada office, such as Rogers, Fido, or Freedom.

Choose the Right Mobile Service Provider

Consider options like Rogers, Fido, or Freedom Mobile, each with unique advantages and pricing. Evaluate coverage, pricing, and data plans to make an informed decision.

2. Open a Student Bank Account and Get a Credit Card

Importance for Students

For international students, Canada’s world-class education system and diverse culture make it a popular destination. Opening a student bank account and obtaining a credit card are essential steps to manage finances and build a credit history.

How to Open an Account and Get a Credit Card

  1. Choose a Bank: Scotiabank, TD Canada Trust, RBC Royal Bank, or CIBC are major banks to consider.
  2. Gather Documents: Have a valid passport, study permit, proof of address, and Social Insurance Number.
  3. Visit the Bank: Schedule an appointment to open an account and discuss credit card options.
  4. Choose the Right Account: Student accounts often offer lower fees and specific benefits.
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3. Obtain Your Bus Pass

Types of Bus Passes

  1. Monthly Passes: Ideal for regular commuters with unlimited travel within a month.
  2. Day Passes: Provide unlimited travel for a single day, perfect for tourists.
  3. Senior and Student Passes: Offer discounted rates for seniors and students.
  4. Low-Income Passes: Some cities provide reduced fare options based on income.

How to Obtain a Bus Pass

  1. Research Transit System: Check your city’s transit system website for options and pricing.
  2. Determine Eligibility: Confirm if you qualify for discounts.
  3. Visit Transit Office or Retailer: Obtain passes from authorized locations.
  4. Purchase Your Pass: Pay using credit cards, debit cards, or cash.
  5. Activate and Use: Follow the transit authority’s instructions for pass activation.

4. Get Your Study Permit Immediately at the Airport

Study Permit Issuance

While not standard, certain countries, including Canada and the United States, may allow for on-the-spot issuance of study permits at the airport.

Standard Study Permit Application Process

  1. Application Submission: Submit your application online with the required documents and fees.
  2. Biometrics and Interviews: Provide biometrics and attend interviews at designated centers.
  3. Processing Time: Application processing times vary, so apply well in advance.
  4. Conditional Acceptance: Some students receive conditional acceptance before obtaining the study permit.
  5. Final Approval and Visa Issuance: Upon approval, receive a final approval letter or a study permit visa sticker.


Arriving in Canada demands careful preparation, covering essential documents, transportation, and adaptation to the climate. By addressing these immediate needs, newcomers can establish a solid foundation for their new life in this diverse and welcoming country.

Good luck on your Canadian journey!


  1. Q: Can I apply for a study permit at the airport in any country?
    • A: While some countries, including Canada and the United States, allow airport issuance, it’s not a universal practice. Research specific immigration processes for your destination.
  2. Q: What should I consider when choosing a mobile service provider in Canada?
    • A: Factors like coverage, pricing, and data plans are crucial. Compare providers like Rogers, Fido, and Freedom Mobile to make an informed choice.
  3. Q: How long does it take to process a study permit application?
    • A: Processing times vary, so it’s advisable to apply well in advance. Times can range from weeks to months depending on the country.
  4. Q: Can I use a student bank account for regular transactions?
    • A: Yes, student bank accounts are designed for managing finances during your study period. They offer benefits tailored to students’ needs.
  5. Q: Are there special discounts for public transportation in Canada?
    • A: Yes, many cities offer discounted bus passes for seniors, students, and low-income individuals. Check eligibility criteria for these discounts.

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