How To Open A Bank Account In Canada As An Immigrant


How To Open A Bank Account In Canada As An Immigrant – Are you planning on immigrating to Canada to live and work? Then you will also need a bank account especially if you are going to work and stay in Canada for a long time.

You shouldn’t think that because you are not a citizen or resident of Canada that it would be difficult opening a bank account because it is not really difficult as most employers in Canada even prefer that their workers have account so that it will be easy to process salary and also tax payment.

So in this write-up, we are going to show you how you can open a bank account in Canada as a non-resident. We will be giving answers to some frequently asked questions and we hope that these answers will serve as a guide to you on how you can open a bank account in Canada.

Can a non-resident open a bank account in Canada?

Yes, a non-resident can open a bank account in Canada provided you have the necessary documents and proper identification.

You can also open a bank account in Canada even if you don’t have money to put in the account immediately or you don’t have a job.

What do I need to open a Canadian bank account?

The requirements to open a bank account in Canada is varies depending on the financial institution and so before you open a bank account in Canada, try to call the bank you wish to open the account with to know the requirements and necessary documents to have.

Some of the documents you might be required to have are:

  • Your immigration papers (work or study permit, Temporary Resident Permit or permanent residency card)
  • Your Social Insurance Number (SIN)
  • Your valid passport not expired
  • Proof of address in Canada

How much does it cost to open a Canadian bank account?

The fees and charges vary depending on the bank and so we will look at some of the cost below:

  • Monthly fees

Banking is actually free for new immigrants to Canada but this is for a limited period of time and after which the fees charged could be from 30 CAD to 50 CAD.

Some banks in Canada can even waive this fee if you leave a minimum amount of 3,500CAD to 4,000 CAD as balance in your account.

  • Transaction fees

Some accounts offer you a limited number of transactions you can perform in a month and once you have exceeded that limit, you will be charged about 1CAD per transaction.

Some other account could have unlimited free transactions though you will have to pay higher monthly fees and have more amount as minimum balance in your account.

  • ATM fees

Using your own bank ATM to withdraw money is free but when you use another bank’s ATM, it could cost about 1.50CAD per transaction.

  • International transfer fees

Some of the banks in Canada allow new immigrants enjoy a limited amount of free international transactions after which they will be expected to pay fees for transfer.

You may also be charged a hidden fee in form of a very poor exchange rate so instead of using bank-to-bank transfer which may cost more, you can use a faster, simpler, convenient and more economical money transfer service like the WorldRemit.

Do I need a bank account to work in Canada?

Well, having a bank account in Canada is not a criterion to work in Canada but most employers would prefer that you have one as it makes it easy to pay salaries and also help you build credit history. It also eases the amount of cash you carry around.

When you are working in Canada, you are expected to pay your tax which is a civic duty and having a bank account will make it easier for you to pay tax to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) through internationally issued credit card, wire transfer or you can also go through a third party like the WorldRemit.


How do I get the required identity documents?

Let’s look at some of the necessary documents you will need to open a bank account in Canada:

  • Immigration papers

If you want to immigrate to Canada regardless of your reason whether to study, work or visit, you will need to apply on the Canadian Government Website before arriving in Canada.

  • Proof of address in Canada

You can make use of physical proof of address like a utility bill, student enrollment documentation or a copy of a lease.

  • Social Insurance Number

For you to work in Canada, you will need a Social Insurance Number (SIN) to work in Canada and this is a 9-digits number that the Canadian government issued to you to track your income and also have access to the government programs and benefits.

For you to apply for the SIN, you will need two documents which are:

  • A valid primary document like a work or study permit that proves your identity and legal status in Canada
  • A valid secondary document like a passport or government-issued ID that confirms your identity.

You will have to provide all the required documents and papers and take them to the nearest Service Canada Office. If you are eligible to apply through mail, then you can go ahead as there is no fee or charge to apply for a SIN.

Can I open a Canadian bank account from overseas?

Of course you can open a Canadian bank account from overseas but it is not actually simple as it will take a few days and you will need all your immigration papers and documents.

If you need to have a bank account before moving to Canada, you can open an international bank account.

How do I transfer money overseas from Canada?

Like we mentioned earlier, you can use WorldRemit as it is a reliable money transfer service to transfer money from and to Canada and it is very secured and faster regardless of where you are. You can do this from your phone; tablet or computer provided you have an internet connection.

There are no hidden charges as the money transfer service has a fair exchange rate and only one low-cost fee. You could get a range of pay out options like bank transfer, airtime top-up, Cash pickup and WorldRemit wallet.

What are the most popular banks in Canada?

There are five major banks in Canada and they are:

  • Bank of Montreal (BOM)
  • Royal Bank of Canada
  • Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC)
  • Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD Bank)
  • Scotia Bank

Which banks do not need social insurance number?

The banks in Canada would ask you for your SIN when you open an interest-bearing account as this is part of the law in Canada under the Income Tax Act. This would help the bank report your income to the government. Some other non-interest bearing accounts in most banks in Canada can be opened without SIN.

Some of the banks that you can open an account without a SIN are:

  • Scotia Bank
  • Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD Bank)
  • Royal Bank of Canada (RBC)
  • National Bank of Canada
  • Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC)

Final Note

Looking at all we have said in this article, you will see that nothing is stopping you from having a bank account in Canada as a non-resident and we have taken time to give answers to some pressing issues concerning opening bank account in Canada as a non-resident.

Since the requirements for opening a bank account in Canada varies from bank to bank, you will have to call the bank you wish to open the account so as to get information about what they will require you to bring for you to open an account in the bank.