Canada is one of the countries in the world with a considerably high appeal to immigrants. It is no surprise that people from different parts of the world are trooping into this amazing country.
Working, studying, or living in Canada is a wonderful experience. If you’re considering relocating to Canada, you should consider opening a bank account before you arrive. If you’re wondering whether a non-resident can have a bank account in Canada, follow this article to find out.
Working in Canada doesn’t require you to have a Canadian bank account. On the other hand, most of your employers would expect you to have an account because it is more convenient in terms of payments generally.
Whether you are a non-resident or otherwise, as long as you’re working in Canada, the authority expects you to pay your taxes. If you are a non-resident without a Canadian account, you can make your payments to the Canada Revenue Agency.
The payment to the Canadian Revenue Agency can be done through wire transfer or international credit card. It doesn’t matter if you’re not a citizen of Canada, you can open a bank account easily. Although the process differs with banks, the rules are pretty much straightforward.
Opening a bank account requires you to have the following documents
- Your international passport.
- Your employee identity card with a picture of you on it.
- A debit card that contains your name and signature
- Your immigration documents
- Your social insurance number (SIN)
- Your proof of address
How to source for the required documents
Proof of address – A gas bill, a copy of a mortgage, or student enrolment paperwork (if you’re studying in Canada) will normally suffice as proof of physical address.
Immigration documents — If you intend to live, study or relocate to Canada, you must first apply online through the Canadian government’s website.
Social Insurance Number (SIN) – If you intend to work in Canada, the social insurance number is a must-have. The Canadian government issues this special 9-digit number to register a person’s income and provide access to government services and benefits.
How to Apply for Social Insurance Number (SIN)
You need two documents to qualify for a Social Insurance Number (SIN):
- A legitimate primary document, such as a work or research permit, that verifies your identification and legal status in Canada.
- A legal secondary paper, such as a passport or government-issued identification, to prove your identity.
The application for a Social Insurance Number is free. The relevant documentation must be provided and delivered to the nearest Service Canada office. It is possible to request by mail in some situations.
Depending on your citizenship, your status, and the bank, these criteria will vary slightly. The government of Canada’s official website provides you with a rundown of all potential situations.
Always have it at the back of your mind that banks aren’t supposed to demand your Social Insurance number unless the account you’re opening is going to generate interest for tax purposes.
If you’re asked for your phone number for some other occasion, you must first sign a permission form before giving it to the organization.
Can a Non-Resident have a Canadian bank account?
If you don’t live in Canada, you can have a Canadian bank account although the process will vary depending on your nationality.
The procedure is usually quick and easy for people in the UK, Europe, and the USA, and most times these people can open the account before they arrive in Canada. Foreigners from these countries will be able to open special international accounts at certain banks.
It’s a good idea to contact a bank of your choice ahead of time to inquire about the feasibility of opening an account, particularly if you’re going there for work. If you are visiting Canada, you can conveniently open an account with any banks that have links in Canada.
How Much Does it Cost to Open a Canadian Bank Account?
Fees and charges differ with banks in Canada. Nevertheless, you can use the following as a reference.
- Fees charged on a monthly basis — For visitors to Canada, banking is open, but only for a short time. Fees will be charged after the period has expired. If you have a minimum balance in your account, several banks will waive this charge.
- Fees on transactions — The majority of accounts only allow a certain amount of free transactions in a month. Once the cap is reached, they start charging you for subsequent transactions. Few accounts make unrestricted free transfers, but they come with higher recurring payments and lower minimum balance requirements.
- Fees incurred from using ATMs — If you have your own bank’s ATMs, withdrawing money from an ATM is easy. Using another bank’s ATM, on the other hand, costs you for each transaction.
- Fees for international transfers — While most big Canadian banks give a few free foreign transactions to newcomers, you could make payment when you complete the transfer and only get it back later. A secret fee in the form of a weak exchange rate can also be paid. Bear in mind that your bank at home may also charge you a fee to conclude the transaction.
Types of Bank accounts in Canada
Chequing and deposit accounts are the most common types of bank accounts in Canada. Chequing account functions similarly to a typical current account and it provides services such as:
- ATM services
- Online banking
- Debit cards
- Bank transfer
- Bills and utility
Savings accounts help you to invest over time while still earning interest. The number of times you can take cash from a savings account is usually limited.
Both chequing and savings plans will give you the following:
- A routing number that specifies the financial institution;
- An account number is a number that uniquely distinguishes the account.
Opening a Bank Account in Canada: What Are Your Options?
In terms of opening an account with a bank in Canada, you have the following options:
- Use a Correspondent Bank — Most banks abroad are partnered with banks in Canada, so endeavour to contact your bank at home and make enquiries about opening a Canadian bank account. However, some banks are not partnered, and if that’s the case, you might be unable to open an account with a bank in Canada.
- Open a Foreign Account with a Canadian Bank — This option suits high-income earners more. You’re expected to deposit a significant sum of money in this case and also have a large sum left in your account.
- Consult a Canadian bank about opening a non-resident account – This option ranks among your best options. It’s a good idea to contact a bank in Canada to inquire if you can open an account from overseas, particularly if you intend to relocate there soon. They could be able to help you out.
- Go to Canada to open your account — This isn’t the best choice because you may find it very inconvenient, but you can open a bank account in person in Canada. You’ll need those documents, so call ahead and find out what they are before you go.
Top Banks in Canada
You may open an account with any of the following institutions: a bank, a credit union, a caisse populaire, or a trust company. It’s wise to consider the account’s intent first, then compare different deals – fees and costs, account forms available, returns on your deposits, and whether or not your deposit is insured.
There are five major banks with a nationwide presence and they are:
- Bank of Montreal
- Royal Bank of Canada
- TD Bank
- Canadian Imperial Bank of commerce
If you’re looking to relocate to Canada, having a Canadian bank account is very paramount to your finances. Canada is a lovely place to be and it’s no wonder people from the world over relocate there in drove to start a new life.