What should I take with me to Canada?

What should I take with me to Canada?

Do I have to take everything out of the house or pack one suitcase of essentials and buy everything locally? Some common items that you use are not allowed into Canada.

How much money can I take with me to Canada and what to put in my suitcases? You can, of course, smarten up and say that in a new country, it is better to start with the rules, so it would be a good idea to study the customs rules of Canada. But I will not be a nerd and just say that the packing of the suitcase should be approached head-on.

Personal belongings

It is important to know that all personal belongings are not subject to duties, so it is better to draw up a special document and declare everything to the maximum. If you bring expensive equipment, phone or laptop, specify their approximate value, make, model, and serial number, if any.

Formally, you need proof that it is your property, which you bought for yourself and do not intend to resell within a year, otherwise, you will have to pay the fee, from which you were exempt on entry. When we moved in, we just made a list without receipts and receipts.

If you will be carrying a lot of jewelry, if possible prepare official valuation certificates and photographs signed by the jeweler, and store receipts, if available. All this may come in handy in the future. Of course, if you have only a few rings and bracelets, I would not bother.

But if you are sending some of your possessions separately in containers, then you definitely can't do without such a declaration. Or if your relatives send you furniture, dishes, clothes, or bicycles, they also need to be listed separately. Those items that are accounted for at the border when you first enter Canada will be exempt from customs duties, even if they arrive later.


If you want to take any medication with you, you have the right to bring a supply for 90 days. I recommend taking medicine that you take regularly or that you are sure you will need. A lot of things are different in Canada than they are in your country. Of course, you will get better with time, but the first few days, if someone gets sick, it will be hard.

Personal example: we flew to Montreal from Poland via Toronto, we were very tired and everyone was knocked out by the 7-hour time difference. In about 5 days half of us either caught a virus or something else, as a result, the children were nauseous for a day, but then it all went away quickly.

Medicines must be in their original packages, and the international name of the active ingredient must be on them. If there is a prescription with a doctor's stamp indicating the name of the drug or active ingredient, be sure to take it. If there is no prescription, a doctor's prescription with a stamp and signature will do.

Note that some medicines are illegal in Canada because they contain narcotic substances, and these substances may not be considered narcotics in your country. If you need to take them all the time, that's okay. If you have a prescription, you can bring in a 30-day supply unless the prescription says otherwise.

List of substances found to be narcotic in Canada.

Checks at airports

Guys, I want to warn you that all of these precautions may be unnecessary. There's a good chance they won't check anything. When we flew, they just asked us how much money we were carrying, and they didn't check our bags. Canadians take your word for it as long as you don't get caught in a lie.

When I used to fly to Ukraine, on my return I was randomly checked 2 or 3 times. Then they took all the things out of my suitcase and looked into my wallet, counting all the currency. I felt like some kind of criminal, and unfairly.

Prohibited Items

Some things should not be brought into Canada at all. Some of the items on the list of prohibited items may come as a big surprise. For example, Canada bans infant high chairs on wheels and yo-yo toys. Maybe you remember those round plastic things on a string that unwind and return to your hand? In Canada, they are considered dangerous, allegedly to strangle a child.

It is better not to take a crib, playpen, and stroller. Customs regulations require the manufacturer or importer of the crib to have representation in Canada, and the playpen must have a sign from the manufacturer that everything complies with Canadian regulations. The cribs, playpens, and strollers themselves must meet a bunch of parameters to be allowed into the country.

Also, be careful with cultural treasures. It's unlikely that you're bringing something like that, but there could be problems with paintings, for example. They will arrest the painting, send it for examination, and send a request to the country of origin... it can take a long time.

List of items allowed and prohibited to be imported.

Cigarettes and alcohol are allowed in limited quantities. It seems you can take no more than 200 cigarettes with you. Smokers, be prepared for cigarettes to be expensive in Canada. As for alcohol, you can bring duty-free 1.5 liters of wine, about 1 liter of spirits, or 8.5 liters of beer. Note that you must be at least 18 years old to bring all this with you.


If you are entering Canada with children, but for some reason your spouse has remained in your home country, prepare a notarized statement of permission from the other parent. This document will be required at the airport. Under Canadian law, the consent of the other parent is required. For example, even if you are a single mother or widow, a supporting document is required.

Legal nuances of moving to Canada with a child.

I recommend that you bring your original birth certificate, marriage certificate, education documents, and medical cards. If you have papers with proof of language skills and work experience, take them too. Insurance policies from your home country may also come in handy; they can reduce your car insurance already in Canada.

What documents do you need to immigrate to Canada?

Recommendation letters are very important in Canada. There are jobs for which you will not be hired without a letter of recommendation. Canadian resumes are very different from what you are used to, so do not be lazy and learn how to write one correctly. Landlords often ask for references too. That's it with the paperwork.

Other nuances

Canadians buy everything upfront, very often in winter they sell down jackets at a discount, and in summer they already sell jackets. So if you come in the middle of winter to a cold region of Canada in a light jacket, a normal down jacket at an adequate price will be difficult to find. On the other hand, if you live in the Vancouver area, you may not need a winter jacket at all. T-shirts, jeans, hoodies, and similar items can be found very cheaply. So it all depends on how much money you have with you.

How much does it cost to live in Canada: the average family's expenses and income.

Bedding, blankets, pillows — all this stuff would take up a lot of space in a suitcase, so I would buy it in Canada, for example, in IKEA, which you know. You can also buy dishes there, but they are of average quality. We sent some dishes in a container and didn't regret it. Quality brands are very expensive in Canada. You can also buy dishes and other household items at my favorite store, Costco.

A separate question is whether to take books with you, because they are quite heavy, and overweight suitcases can come out at a cost. I prefer to read books on my Kindle e-reader, and my wife only read the paper version. She really wished she had brought her children's books with her. You can find them in major cities in Canada, but they will cost more.

Home Appliances

Another important point I would like to touch on is household appliances. In Canada, the voltage is 110 volts, and the plugs and outlets are different than in Europe.

Some low-power electronics work fine through an adapter, you can buy them at the airport or dollar stores in Canada. But hair dryers, irons, toasters, electric kettles, food processors, and vacuum cleaners are unlikely to work. Tested it on my own experience, the coffee machine we brought didn't turn on. You can buy a transformer, but it was very hot and humming.

How much did we spend in the first month of living in Canada.

If you buy furniture, electronics, dishes, clothes, and other household items, you need money. Hence the question — how much money can you bring into Canada, and what taxes will have to be paid? There are no restrictions and duties, you may bring your million dollars to Canada. But, again, you will have to declare the amount of the money you brought with you. And so that it is not stolen at the airport in your homeland, it is better not to keep the money in a suitcase.

Alex Pavlenko, founder of Immigrant.Today

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