Imagine yourself in this situation:
You planned to immigrate to Canada. To know the process and your chances, you went on the Canadian government’s website. There, you give your information on the site’s CRS calculator tool. Somehow, your credentials met the minimum eligibility score of 67. You learned from this result that you could apply through the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSW). Creating your online Express Entry profile, you placed yourself alongside other visa applicants.
After a month or so, you finally received your Invitation to Apply (ITA). With 60 days to assemble all of your necessary documents, you found one of the requirements to be proof of funds (POF). At this point, you became filled with questions.
You ask yourself the following:
“How do I present the money I have?”
“How much money do I need for Canadian immigration?”
“What financial documents do I need to show to immigrate to Canada?”
“Will IRCC consider non-monetary assets like a house?”
The above situation likely sounds familiar to you. These are common questions for many applicants. Among other documents for Express Entry, proof of your funds is essential for your Canadian immigration. There are a handful of reasons for this, but the main one is for IRCC to see your ability to support yourself.
Canada indeed offers a range of “safety” nets like healthcare coverage. These are extended even to its newest immigrants. However, for your sake, it is best to have your own financial safety net during your transition period. IRCC recognizes this insofar as proof of funds is a requirement.
In this article, you will learn about how to document and show your funds for Canadian immigration.
All laws involving Canadian immigration and refugees are contained in Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA). Put in effect in 2002, the IRPA contains regulations on everything from border crossings to economic immigration.
This piece of legislation also has specific provisions on many steps of the immigration process. These provisions include the requirements for immigration applications. Eligibility criteria and the awarding of CRS points are all parts of the IRPA.
For those who wish to immigrate to Canada, the specific law of interest is IRPA Subsection 76. Consisting of four parts, this subsection covers how IRCC should assess and admit visa applicants, particularly those seeking permanent residence in Canada.
The first part of IRPA Subsection 76 contains the selection factors for skilled workers. In other words, this part of the subsection has the criteria by which skilled workers are selected.
“76 (1) For the purpose of determining whether a skilled worker, as a member of the federal skilled worker class, will be able to become economically established in Canada, they must be assessed on the basis of the following criteria:
(a) the skilled worker must be awarded not less than the minimum number of required points referred to in subsection (2) on the basis of the following factors, namely,
- (i) education, in accordance with section 78,
- (ii) proficiency in the official languages of Canada, in accordance with section 79,
- (iii) experience, in accordance with section 80,
- (iv) age, in accordance with section 81,
- (v) arranged employment, in accordance with section 82, and
- (vi) adaptability, in accordance with section 83; and
(b) the skilled worker must
- (i) have in the form of transferable and available funds, unencumbered by debts or other obligations, an amount equal to one half of the minimum necessary income applicable in respect of the group of persons consisting of the skilled worker and their family members, or
- (ii) be awarded points under paragraph 82(2)(a), (b) or (d) for arranged employment, as defined in subsection 82(1), in Canada.”
The first part (part A) mentions the selection factors that contribute to the CRS score for an applicant.
It is the second part (part B-i) that requires applicants to provide their POF in their immigration applications. As explicitly mentioned in IRPA Subsection 76, this is to determine a skilled worker’s capacity to finance himself in Canada.
What IRPA 1(B-i) Means For You
The words used in this part of IRPA 76 1 can give you a clue about the POF Canada recognizes. Be that as it may, this tends to confuse many applicants under the Federal Skilled Worker program. Hence, we could parse this part of the subsection to better understand Express Entry proof of funds.
Documents To Prove The Transferability and Availability Of Funds
First, let us focus on the words “transferable and available funds”. The funds required must be yours and have “liquidity”. By liquidity, we mean that the money you have must be spendable. Also, being in your sole possession, your money must be in a form you could deposit in a bank account.
The following are not “transferable” or “available” sources of funds:
- A house
- Real estate
- Material assets (e.g. a car)
It is also implied that you possess these funds. Hence, the money present in your documents as monetary proof should not be borrowed. Doing this is illegal and can disqualify you if discovered.
For this reason, proof of funds or settlement funds need to be at least six months old. That is, bank statements or letters need to show the funds required. These settlement funds need to be in your bank account or details for no less than six months.
The reason for this is to give IRCC a chance to assess your account. IRCC looks at the accounts activity over some time. This would allow it to detect unusual activity relevant to your immigration. A sudden large deposit on record, for instance, would alert attention. It could indicate a suspicious source or borrowed money for immigration.
To prove your financial capacity when you immigrate to Canada, you will need the following documents:
Bank statements need to show a detailed history of transactions. These should show transactions that have taken place for six months. Whether the balance on the certificate or statement should be maintained depends on the province.
In many provinces, settlement funds need to be maintained at the declared amount. Hence, if your desired province requires, you will have to maintain your bank balance throughout the application process.
A bank statement for immigration must also contain the currency of your settlement funds. This would be later converted to Canadian dollars later on.
If you are sponsoring somebody, there will likely be no need for them to provide their bank statements. As the principal applicant, you will have to provide yours. IRCC would consider your spouse or family members dependents. It is possible to have a bank statement declaring a joint account if you and your spouse have one.
You will also need a letter from your bank or financial institution. There are guidelines for the letter as well. These are as follows:
- Letters from your bank or financial institution need to be printed on official letterheads. These should be the letterheads of the bank or financial institution.
- The letter/s should list you as the owner of the account
- The letter/s should inform the reader when the account/s were opened
- For consistency, the balance in an account should also be stated.
- If there are multiple accounts, the letter should contain the balances of each one
- Letters should list all your bank accounts (including joint accounts, if applicable)
- Letters must also contain the average balance of accounts over a 6-month period.
- The bank or financial institution’s contact details and address must be present in the letter.
Showing The Absence Of Liabilities
Not only should you have the required funds. IRPA 1 B-i also requires you to be free from debt when it says that settlement funds must be “unencumbered by debts or other obligations”. Of course, you will also need to supply IRCC with proof of this.
Freedom from financial liabilities or obligations can be proven in several ways. Often, IRCC will be able to detect this from financial or bank statements. You can strengthen your proof of funds by doing certain things.
This may just be a matter of common sense, but do pay any outstanding debt before your application. If you have any outstanding payments linked to your account via debit, this could affect the amount in your declared balance.
Once again, for some provinces, the amount declared as settlement funds should remain constant for 6 months. You should also have no existing house payments, utility bills, or loans.
It is important to consider that in some countries, outstanding debts warrant an investigation. For this reason, settling debts or financial obligations not only help your proof of settlement funds but your criminal background check as well.
Once you have settled all payments, you need to give proof. Hence, the letter from your bank must also state all debts and loans. If there are any, letters or any other supporting documents should indicate that all debts and loans have been settled.
Sufficient Settlement Funds
The funds required for immigration to Canada must be enough not just for a principal applicant. As per IRPA 1 (B-i), funds must be equal to an amount that is “one half of the minimum necessary income applicable in respect of the group of persons consisting of the skilled worker and their family members”.
In short, the amount of money in your POF should be deemed enough by IRCC to support the needs of you and your dependents. At this stage, the amount on your bank documents is converted to Canadian dollars.
IRCC updates the minimum funds required each year. At the time of writing, the minimum funds required are as follows:
|Number of Family Members (including family members you support but will not accompany you)||Minimum Amount in CAD (Canadian Dollars)|
|1||12,960 Canadian Dollars|
|2||16,135 Canadian Dollars|
|3||19,836 Canadian Dollars|
|4||24,083 Canadian Dollars|
|5||27, 315 Canadian Dollars|
|6||30,806 Canadian Dollars|
|7||34, 299 Canadian Dollars|
|Per additional family member||3,492 Canadian Dollars|
The above settlement funds requirement is for applicants of the Federal Skilled Worker Class and the Federal Skilled Trades Class. Having the minimum amounts of money is a must especially in the absence of a job offer or provincial nomination.
Some skilled immigrants apply under the Atlantic Immigration Pilot. The Atlantic Immigration Pilot is another immigration program to bring skilled workers into Canada. Under this program, visa applicants could apply for permanent residence in one of Canada’s four Atlantic provinces. These provinces are Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, and Prince Edward Island.
Applicants of the Atlantic Immigration Pilot also need to provide proof of funds. Because applying for this program requires a job offer, the settlement funds requirement for an applicant here is comparatively lower.
|Number of Family Members (including family members you support but will not accompany you)||Minimum Amount in CAD (Canadian Dollars)|
|7 or above family members||8,575 CAD|
IRCC changes the settlement funds requirement for either immigration programs. These changes occur yearly and are very minute. It is unlikely to see large jumps in the amount of money you need for proof.
Nevertheless, these changes are relevant enough to make you either eligible or ineligible. Hence, you have to check the site of the government of Canada for updates. You can view changes in the proof of funds Express Entry requires and the one for the Atlantic Immigration Pilot.
Proof Of Funds Upon Arrival
You may still need to provide proof of funds as soon as you arrive in Canada.
At this point, you will have acquired the right documents to prove your financial capability. Also, you will have met the minimum required settlement fund to immigrate to Canada. Upon your arrival, there is a very good chance that you will not have to present these documents. Be that as it may, please try to bring them with you anyway.
One question is sure to come from customs or immigration officers. You will likely be asked about the amount of money that you have with you. It is not necessary to have all of your declared funds with you during this time. Hence, it is alright to have some cash with you.
You do need to inform customs or the immigration officer if you are bringing 10,000 Canadian Dollars or higher. If undeclared and discovered, customs has the right to confiscate this money from you. Also, you may be fined.
Who Needs To Arrange Proof Of Funds In A Canadian Visa Application?
As a rule of thumb, Express Entry applicants need to include their proof of funds to meet eligibility in Canada. In particular, proof of funds is a must for the following Express Entry Programs:
- The Federal Skilled Worker Class
- The Federal Skilled Trades Class
- Provincial Nomination
- Business Immigration
Temporary residents must also show proof of funds to prove that they have sufficient financial resources for Canada. Temporary residents are:
- Temporary workers
- International students
Provincial nominees need to present proof of funds. In fact, this is a part of the minimum requirements for eligibility. For provincial nomination, you need to stay updated with the policies of some provinces. The documents required as proof of funds are pretty much the same across provinces, but there are some differences.
For example, unlike other provinces in Canada, Saskatchewan requires funds not to be six months old but three months old. The minimum balance declared must be maintained for at least three months and cannot be used until after arrival.
Also, the province has a rule involving large monetary injections into an applicant’s funds. Saskatchewan is very strict with this and would require an applicant to include a document known as a gift deed. This is a document that accounts for the source of a monetary donation or gift (hence the term). It also mentions other sources of funds such as inheritances.
If you plan on entering Canada as a businessman, proof of funds is also a necessity. Besides looking at your ability to finance yourself, IRCC assesses the capacity of business immigrants to provide initial capital for their Canadian ventures. Under a business immigration program, your permanent residency status depends on how your business does. Hence, you need to provide proof of your ability to sustain a business.
Temporary workers can prove their financial resources through the documents mentioned earlier. Even with a work permit, temporary workers still need to show that they can sustain themselves as they look for work.
Besides the documents mentioned, proof of funds may also come in the following forms:
- A letter of employment from an employer that includes the first day of work
- Evidence of income of the applicant’s host or family member in Canada
- Any proof of a family’s size. (The host’s or family member’s family)
Although international students could work, the wages may not be enough to support their entire stay in Canada. This is why student visa applications also require proof of funds. For students, other proof of funds CIC recognizes include the following:
- Proof of funds in a Canadian bank account
- Proof of a student loan from a Canadian bank
- A bank draft (used currency should be converted to Canadian Dollars)
- A letter from an educational institution that is providing the student with a grant or scholarship
- Proof of payment for tuition and housing
- A GIC (Guaranteed Investment Certificate) issued by a Canadian bank
The required minimum funds are different for students. Below is a table that shows the corresponding student funds requirement.
|Person/s arriving in Canada||Total Annual Required Funds (Tuition and Living Costs)||Monthly Required Funds (Tuition and Living Costs)|
|Student (yourself)||10,000 CAD||833 CAD|
|With a family member||4,000 CAD||333 CAD|
|Any additional family member||3,000 CAD||255 CAD|
Once again, it is important to check the requirements of a province and institution. In Quebec, the amount of money required for a student visa is different.
|Person/s arriving in Canada||Total Annual Required Funds (Tuition and Living Costs)||Monthly Required Funds (Tuition and Living Costs|
|Student (yourself)||11,000 CAD||917 CAD|
|First family member 18 years or over||5,100 CAD||425 CAD|
|First family member under the age of 19||3,800 CAD||317 CAD|
|Additional family member aged 18 or over||5,125 CAD||427 CAD|
|Additional family member under the age of 18||1,903 CAD||159 CAD|
What About Tourists?
What if you do not wish to immigrate to Canada? Maybe you would just like to travel to Canada. Does this exempt you from providing proof of funds?
Even tourists need to show records of their financial resources. Unfortunately, in the case of visitor visas, there is no fixed number when it comes to the required amount of money in your bank balance. Also, financial resources for expenses in Canada are not the only assets being assessed.
It is important to remember that IRCC and CBSA grant applicants visitor visas on one understanding- that the applicant will not overstay his or her visa. With this in mind, tourists should not only provide proof of funds. They should also provide convincing proof that they will leave Canada after their visit.
Thus, part of proving finances for a visitor visa is convincing IRCC of a reason to return to your country. This could include:
- Real estate
- Properties or a house
- Proof of current employment
- Current salary
- Regular income as shown by bank statements
Unlike the sources of funds mentioned early in this article, these are not most of these do not show “available” and “transferable” funds. Rather, these are personal pieces of information that will reassure IRCC and CBSA. They convince these bodies of your intentions to leave. Not “immigrate to Canada” by overstaying.
When it comes to the exact amount of money, there seems to be no fixed number. However, some sources mention “good compensation” to be at least 10,000 CAD a month. This excludes the cost of flight tickets and visa processing fees. To be sure, it is best to hire an immigration consultant for your visitor visa to Canada.
There are times when proof of funds is not necessary for a visa application.
Proof of funds is not needed for applications under the Canadian Experience Class. Also, applicants with job offers do not need to provide documents about their finances to IRCC. This applies to applicants of the Federal Skilled Worker program and the Federal Skilled Trades Program.
Hence, for instance, if you have a job offer and applying for the FSW program, you do not need to meet a settlement funds requirement. There will also be no need for you to prove your bank activities for a duration of six months.
A job offer makes all the difference. Hence, if you feel that proving your finances may be difficult, you could try getting a job offer.
Ultimately, IRCC requires you to prove that you have money in the bank for one reason:
IRCC wants to be sure that you ease into your new life in Canada.
Hence, proof of funds is not just an eligibility requirement. Other than something that reassures IRCC, your financial resources are your safety net during your transitionary period in Canada.
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