Canada has topped the lists and surveys of the best countries to live in (such as “the better life index”, “livability ranking report” and the “human development report”) for quite some time now.
With an average lower cost of living and housing prices compared to the United States and some European countries, a high quality and affordable healthcare system, reliable infrastructure and public transport, a neutral political stance and strict gun control laws, it’s easy to see why Canada is vastly appealing for all the practical reasons, without having to mentioning its stunning scenery.So, if you’re considering making the move to retire in beautiful Canada, here is a guide to all you need to know.
Am I eligible to retire to Canada?
Under Canadian law, some people are not allowed to come to Canada, which is referred to as being “inadmissible”.
There are a few reasons why someone may be considered as inadmissible, such as the following:
• You are a security risk.
• You have committed human or international rights violations.
• You have been convicted of a crime, or you have committed an act outside Canada that would be a crime (including driving whilst impaired by alcohol or drugs).
• You have ties to organised crime.
• You have a serious health problem.
• You have a serious financial problem.
• You lied in your application or in an interview.
• You do not meet the conditions in Canada’s immigration law
• One of your family members is not allowed into Canada.
Usually, if you are considered as inadmissible, you will not be allowed to enter the country. If you have a valid reason to travel to Canada, you may be issued with a temporary resident permit.
It is possible to appeal to immigration on terms of being considered “rehabilitated”, especially if a lot of time has passed since the conviction, but there is no guarantee of this being accepted.
Which visa do I need?
There is not technically a formal retirement visa as such for Canada, so you will need to consider the other options available.
Do you plan on living in Canada for more than six months per year?
If the answer is no and you are a citizen of one of the following countries, then you can visit Canada for up to six months without requiring a visa or any additional paperwork:
Andorra, Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Barbados, Belgium, United Kingdom, British overseas territories (Anguilla, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Falkland Islands (Malvinas), Gibraltar, Montserrat, Pitcairn Island, Saint Helena, Turks and Caicos Islands), Brunei Darussalam, Chile, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Mexico, Monaco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Papua New Guinea, Poland, Portugal, Samoa, San Marino, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, United States, Vatican City State.
You will however need an ETA (Electronic Travel Authorisation) if you are arriving in Canada by plane. It is not required for land or sea.
Other nationalities will require a visa regardless on how they enter the country.
Do you have a child or grandchild living in Canada who is a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident?
If so, then you can apply for a parent or grandparent “super visa” which will allow you to remain in Canada for two years.
Do you want to permanently reside in Canada all year round?
If you wish to reside in Canada permanently for more than six months of the year, then you will need to apply for a permanent resident visa.
As a retiree, this can sometimes be a bit tricky, as usually during a visa application process, your ability to work and support yourself financially are taken into account. Higher education is a good merit to have for visa credentials, along with the amount of savings that you have.
If you have family living in Canada, you can apply for a family sponsorship visa to become a permanent resident.
If you have money that you can invest, then you can apply for an Immigrant Investment visa.
What do I need to do in order to prepare?
It is suggested by immigration officials that you plan ahead, and ideally begin your visa application process before you have retired.
Research tax laws in your own country and in Canada to get an idea of any tax obligations that you may need to adhere to.
Research your pension plan and check that you can access your pension if you immigrate abroad.
Purchase international health insurance, especially if you are planning on only living in Canada for half of the year.
What about property?
Visitors to Canada are allowed to purchase property, and even rent out the property when they are not in the country.
It is possible to get a mortgage from a Canadian bank to purchase a property, even as a non-resident, providing you meet the criteria.
There are also no restrictions on the kind of real estate that you purchase or the amount of properties.
You may however face an additional tax charge if you purchase any property as a non-resident.
Unfortunately, owning property in Canada does not guarantee approval of your visa application, though it will be accounted for in your net worth which can help somewhat.
Where are the best places in Canada to retire to?
The below are widely considered some of the best places in Canada to retire to for either excellent healthcare, recreational activities, beautiful scenery or affordable property prices.
• Victoria, BC.
• Kingston, ON.
• Ottawa, ON.
• Vancouver, BC.
• London, ON.
• Courtenay, BC.
• Vernon, BC.
• Cobourg, ON.
• Joliette, QC.
• Salmon Arm, BC.
• Canmore, AB.
The visas available are subject to change and at times are not available for application, but may re-open. For this reason, you will always need to check the government's website under the immigration section.
Have you retired to Canada? Share your experiences in the comments below, or answer the questions here to be featured in an interview!