Last year I took a big step and decided to move to Canada from Sweden (my home country) indefinitely. I spent almost 5 months in Montreal, Canada, in 2014 from January to May during an internship and that’s when I met my boyfriend, who is originally from Quebec. I went back to Sweden in the end of May to finish my studies at the university and work during the summer, but decided to go back to Montreal in September. A big decision and a big step for me.
It’s not te easiest to pick up and move to another country, there are a lot of preparations to be done, and a lot of changes to get used to. I thought I would share some of my experiences during this period in my life with you, some things one should think of when deciding to move to another country.
First of all you must check if you need a special visa or work permit to go to the country of your choice. For me, as a Swede, I don’t need a special visa if I am just going to Canada as a tourist for a maximum of 6 months, but if I want to work in Canada and/or stay longer than 6 months I need a visa. So I applied for a Working Holiday Visa with International Experience Canada, and you should apply a couple of months in advance, because they have a limited number of places and the processing can take everything between a couple of weeks to several months.
However this Working Holiday Visa is only valid for 1 year, and since I am planning to stay and work in Canada for more than a year I need to apply for either another work permit or a permanent residency, which you have to apply for through the government of Canada.
After applying for a visa it’s good to check for accomodation. When I came here in January last year I used Craigslist to look for an apartment. (Luckily I didn’t have to search for an apartment for when I moved back in September since I moved in with my boyfriend who already lived in Montreal.)
Another thing which you should fix before you leave your home country is insurance, which is very important! Since when you’re a newcomer in another country and not a resident you’re usually not eligible for an insurance in that country. I was covered by my parent’s home insurance in Sweden for the first 45 days here in Canada (since I lived with them before moving here), but after those 45 days I needed another insurance, just in case an accident would happen (you never know!). So after a lot of research I bought a travel insurance with ERV which would cover any emergenies or accidents during my stay in Canada.
However, since I have decided to stay in Canada during a longer period than just a visit, I had to make some adjustments to my insurance in June this year. I was covered by the travel insurance from ERV for a maximum of 1 year and as long as I was still considered a resident of Sweden. But in the beginning of June I applied for a permanent residency here in Canada, which meant I had to change my address in Sweden to my address in Canada and let the Swedish Tax Agency (or “Skatteverket”) know that I am now living abroad. If you have decided to live abroad for a minimum of 1 year you have to rapport this to the Swedish Tax Agency who “is a government agency in Sweden responsible for national tax collection and administering the population registration”. (Source) Therefore I was no longer elibible for the travel insurance with ERV.
After some research I found Croix Bleue here in Canada and could sign up for a so-called “Visitors to Canada Plan” with them, which covers basically them same things as my insurance from ERV did; emergencies and accidents. It’s a good insurane to have until I can either get an insurance with my employer here in Canada or until I am eligible for an insurance plan here in Quebec (the RAMQ).
When you’re set up with an insurance it is time to prepare for the move! I knew that I wanted to bring some of my own stuff in moving boxes since I would be moving in with my boyfriend (however I brought no furniture, because moving furniture from Sweden to Canada would cost way too much!). I contacted many different moving companies in Sweden and Canada, that do shpping either by boat or by airplane, to get an estimate of the price. I was going to bring 6 boxes of a total of 100 kg, and the best price was offered to me by Active Air Cargo, and the whole process with them went very smoothly! They send the cargo in between international airports, so in this case from Arlanda airport in Stockholm to Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport in Montreal. This meant that I had to get to boxes to their office in Stockholm, close to the airport, and then also pick them up at the customs at the airport in Montreal.
The cost with Active Air Cargo was (prices in Swedish Crowns):
Up to 34 kg a MIN price of 1610.00 kr
35-44 kg 47.00 kr/kg
45-99 kg 40.00 kr/kg
100-299 kg 32.00 kr/kg
You also have to pay a processing fee of 650.00 kr no matter the weight, and there’s a security check included in this cost for up to 5 boxes. If you have more than 5 packages there’s a cost of 45.00 kr per extra box.
They can also pick up the goods where you live and bring them to the airport in Stockholm for you, and the cost for that is based on the weight of the cargo and where you live. So for me, who lived in Sundsvall, the cost was:
26 to 50 kg 630.00 kr
51 to 100 kg 932.00 kr
101 to 250 kg 1244.00 kr
So for me the total cost was:
100 kg x 32.00 kr/kg = 3 200.00 kr
However they have a student discount of 10%, which lowered the price to 2 880.00 kr
Pick-up in Sundsvall (my home town) and transport to Stockholm/Arlanda:
932.00 kr for 100 kg
Extra security check for the 6th box:
1st. x 45.00/st = 45.00
Total cost: SEK 4 507.00
Active Air Cargo was very helpful and gave me a lot of information before I decided to send my stuff with them. They explained the process very well and replied fast by e-mail. So if you’re moving from Sweden and need to ship some cargo I can very much recommend them! They picked up my boxes in Sundsvall on the 15th of September, brought them to Arlanda and sent them by airplane to Montreal on the 19th of September where they arrived the 20th! All I had to do then was bring my papers and go to the customs at the airport in Montreal and pay to receive my cargo; $74! Everything arrived on time and nothing was broken, they handled my cargo very well!
A lot of information about the shipping, I know, but for me if took some time to find the right company that could ship my goods to Canada, so I hope that all this info can help someone else who’s considering moving from Sweden to another country!
Of course, when you’ve finally left your home country and moved there’s a lot of new things to get used to and things to fix, such as getting a social insurance number, opening up a bank account, and getting a mobile service provider so you can use your phone. Then of course, you may wanna start right away with searching for a job! As a newcomer to another country, this can take some time, since you don’t have any previous work experience in this country.
Well, these are the things I can think of right now that can ge good to have in mind if you’re considering moving to another country. As mentionned, there’s a a lot of things to check and set up in advance and then some things to take care of once you’ve arrived and it takes some time getting used to your new situation and getting used to living in a country that is not your home country.
If there’s anything you would like to know, don’t hesitate to ask! Send me a comment and I’ll be happy to respond and help you in any way that I can.
Otherwise – good luck with your move, you’re in for an adventure! It may seem tough and that it requires a lot of work, but if everything goes well it might be so worth it!