How To Open A Bank Account In Canada As A Non-Resident



If you are planning on living and working in Canada, you will certainly need a bank account especially if you will be working and staying in Canada for a longer period. Opening a bank account as a foreigner or non-resident is not really difficult as most employers in Canada prefer that their workers have account so it will be easy to process salary and tax payment.

In this article, we are going to be showing you how you can open a bank account in Canada even as a non-resident as we are going to be answering some questions and we hope that the answers to the questions we will be answering will guide you on how you can go about in opening a Canadian bank account.

Without further ado, let’s proceed…

  • Can a foreigner open a Canadian bank account?

Of course yes. You don’t think that because you are a foreigner, you won’t be allowed to open a bank account in Canada, you can if you have the necessary documents and proper identification.

You can 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 bank account in Canada?

The requirements for opening a bank account in Canada are different depending on the financial institution. So before you think of opening a bank account in Canada, you should trying calling the bank you wish to open the account with to know the requirements and the right documents to have.

Sometimes, you would be required to have the following documents we will be highlighting below:

  • 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
  • Do I need a bank account to work in Canada?

It is not mandatory that you must have a bank account for you to work in Canada although most employers would love you to have one as it would make payment of salaries easier and it will also help you build credit history. Having a bank account eases the amount of cash you carry.

When you are working in Canada, you are expected to pay your tax as it is a civic responsibility and having a bank account in Canada will may tax payment easier but if you don’t have an account, you can pay your tax to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) through wire transfer or with an internationally issued credit card or you can also go through a third party like the WorldRemit.

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

Well, the fees and charges varies depending on the bank and so we will be looking at the following cost.

  • Monthly fees

You should know that banking is free for new immigrants to Canada but this lasts for a limited period of time and after this period, the fees charged could be from $30-$50 in Canadian dollar.

Some banks in Canada can waive this fee if you leave a minimum amount as balance in your account and this minimum amount could be around $3,500 – $4,000 in Canadian dollar.

  • ATM fees

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

  • Transaction fees

Some accounts offer you a limited number of transactions you can perform for free per month and once you have exceeded the limit, you will be charged about CAD$1 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.

  • International transfer fees

Most banks in Canada offer new immigrants in Canada a limited amount of free international transactions and after this, you will be expected to pay fees for transfer. You may also be charged a hidden fee in form of a very poor exchange rate. Also, you bank in your home country may still charge you an additional fee to complete the transfer.

So instead of using a bank-to-bank transfer which may cost more, you can use a faster, simpler, convenient and more economical money transfer service like the WorldRemit.

  • Can I open a Canadian bank account from overseas?

Of course it’s possible. Although it’s not a simple process and it will take a few days. You will need to have all your immigration papers and documents. You can decide to open an international bank account if you need to have a bank account before moving to Canada.

  • How do I transfer money overseas from Canada?

You can use the WorldRemit as it is a reliable money transfer service to transfer money from and to Canada. It is very secured and faster regardless of your location as you can do this with your smartphone, tablet or computer and an internet connection.

The money transfer service also has a fair exchange rate with no hidden charges and there’s only one low-cost fee. You could also get a range of pay out options like bank transfer, airtime top up, WorldRemit wallet and Cash pickup.

  • How do I get the required identity documents?

Let’s show you how you can get each of the documents you will need to open a bank account in Canada.

  • Immigration papers

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

  • Social Insurance Number

For you to work in Canada you will need a Social Insurance Number (SIN) to work in Canada and it is a 9-digit number issued to you by the Canadian government to track your income and also have access to the governments 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. You can also apply through mail but you will have to find out if you are eligible to apply by mail. There is no fee or charge to apply for a SIN.

  • Proof of address in Canada

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

  • Which banks do not need Social Insurance Number?

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

Let’s look at some of the banks which you can open an account without a SIN.

  • Scotia Bank
  • Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD Bank)
  • Royal Bank of Canada (RBC)
  • National Bank of Canada
  • Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC)
  • What are the most popular banks in canada?

There are five major banks in Canada:

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

Final Note

From all we have said so far, you will see that even as a foreigner or non-resident in Canada, you can actually open and own a bank account in Canada and we hope that all the answers to the questions have helped you to understand how you can open a bank account in Canada and any other thing you need to know about bank account in Canada.

Since the requirements for opening a bank account in Canada differs, try to call the bank you wish to open the account with to get information about what they will require you to bring for you to open a bank account in Canada.

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