Generally speaking, the answer is "no". If you were outside of Canada for at least two years, had few ties to Canada during that time, and established a clear and provable residency in another country for that time period you will be considered to have been non-resident by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). You will therefore not be required to pay tax in Canada on any non-Canadian sources of income or on capital gains accrued on non-Canadian assets.
You will still be liable for taxes on any Canadian sources of income and on accrued capital gains on Canadian assets during the time you were outside of Canada.
There are exceptions, however, to the above general rule. Here are some important examples of situations that can represent a significant residential footprint in Canada and may call into question whether you are actually residing outside of Canada or not:
A mix of some of these "ties" to Canada can be strong signals to the CRA that you were actually "residing" in Canada while physically outside of the country and you may be deemed for tax purposes to have maintained your Canadian residency. Therefore you will be liable for Canadian taxes on any non-Canadian earnings and accrued capital gains.
Another exception is if you work for the Government of Canada while outside the country. In this case, you are still considered a Canadian resident, unless you have some sort of special contract that stipulates otherwise.
Countries that have a tax treaty with Canada (like the USA) ensure that double-taxation does not occur. If you paid tax in the U.S. while living there, for example, you won't be taxed on your American earnings up to the point of your return to Canada.
In summary, the dividing line on the tax issue is pretty straight-forward for most folks: If you live two or more years outside of Canada with a clear severing from key residential ties to Canada when you left then you don't pay taxes in Canada. If you have been gone a short time and/or maintained significant ties to Canada: You pay taxes in Canada on your world-wide income.
For more information on the tax question visit the Government of Canada's web site:
Urban myth or truth? Is Canada a high tax country that leaves you much poorer every month than in the U.S., for example?
Simple answer: Canada is not a high tax country. You keep most of your income!
There are a lot of factors that complicate this answer and lead to "apples versus oranges" comparisons that really don't make sense.
For example, is the government payroll deduction rate lower in the U.S. than in Canada? Yes.
Does this mean you automatically have tons more cash in your pocket every month in the U.S. than in Canada? Absolutely not.
If you compare overall costs of living between Canada and the U.S. over a 10 year period, for a middle class family of 4 who lead a healthy lifestyle, you will likely find little difference if you factor in housing price impacts, medical costs, healthy food, and other factors.
Take home pay calculator for Canada:
A lot of people believe a myth that Canada is like Sweden - 80% of your pay goes to the government in taxes (not a fact, but yes, they do pay higher taxes in Sweden). The belief that Canada is a high tax country is simply not true.
Check for yourself: The Canada Revenue Agency, of the Federal Government, provides an online payroll deductions calculator for you to play with and see what your "take home pay" looks like at various salary levels.
Hint: Use a bi-weekly pay period and minimal claim levels in your calculation. And when you put in your salary, be sure it is your gross salary for 2 weeks pay, not your pay for a month or annually (assuming you chose a bi-weekly pay period).
Final Important note:
Canada is truly an "apple" and the U.S, an "orange". A much better comparison to use than financial pay comparisons is "quality of life".
According to various "most livable cities" indices, Vancouver is typically about #5 in the world and Toronto is #15.
Where do U.S. cities rank? Not even in the top 10. Mercer's ranking puts San Francisco, the first American city to appear on the list, as #27 in the world.
Hmmm....now which country do you want to live in?
Neither. For 95% of returning Canadians there is no tax benefit or cost to moving back on December 31st or January 1st of the following year...or any other day of the year.
Because you pay taxes in Canada on world-wide income earned, and capital gains accrued, only from the day you return to take up residence in Canada forward to the end of the calendar year. Any residual income or end-of-contract payouts from your time abroad that are received (not "earned") shortly after you return are similarly not taxed in Canada.
So, feel free to move back any time of the year!
And to be clear: You will not even declare foreign income or capital gains earned before you return on your first Canadian tax return, even if it was earned in the same calendar year as when you moved back.
So, who are the 5% who do have a move timing issue? No, they are not you. Seriously. They are very special cases, such as: "Someone moving back to Canada to start an already arranged job in Canada that pays > CAD $100k per year AND who is choosing to collapse a U.S. 401k pension which has a current value of < USD$50k". Or "Someone who is selling business assets or ownership shares with a complex multi-year payout including income/interest provisions in their agreement."
See? I told you it was not you. ;-)
If you are moving back to Canada with a complex set of variables to consider, such as the sale of a business and/or home, pensions, investments, a continued work relationship with an employer or customer in the U.S. or abroad, engage my professional support for your move back to Canada. There is a 95% chance you won't have a timing issue. But it will feel a lot better to have this assurance.
A real timing issue to consider:
Finally, there is a real timing issue to consider...but it is not tax related. Move back to Canada in May or June if you can. Why? Because moving back to Canada in October or November, at the start of winter, really sucks. You are entering 6+ months of cold, snow, wind, and mostly in-door living. Yuck. Not a great way to start your happy memories of life in Canada. (Unless, of course, you are moving back to southwest BC or Vancouver Island - these are the only two places in Canada that avoid real cold and long winter conditions. And outdoor winter activities in BC? These include skiing on some of the best ski runs in the world. 'Nuff said.)
In some countries the government controls your residency even if you are a citizen of that country. This is not the case in Canada. You do not need to "register" your residency upon return. No police will come knocking on your door. In fact, there is no way to actually "register" your residency in Canada! There is no "Ministry of Residence".
That said, some government agencies are interested if you are resident or not. When you return, you are the one who triggers whether they know or not. Here are three parts to answering the question about becoming a "legal" resident of Canada after living abroad:
That's about it. Your residency is formally "declared" upon crossing the border if you are returning with belongings to follow after you. If you have no goods to follow, you "become" a resident immediately upon arrival without declaring anything to the government. Access to services begins when you register for these services (exception: Medical, which starts 3 months after you arrive in most provinces) and tax implications begin through your first tax return filing.
Bringing a car, other motorized vehicle (an RV for example), or a non-motorized trailer back to Canada can be pretty straight-forward, complicated, or impossible. I strongly suggest that anyone considering "importing" their vehicle to research their particular vehicle situation carefully.
Note: You may only bring a vehicle into Canada from the U.S. - not from other countries.
If you are returning from the U.S. with a vehicle you will have to work through the Registry of Imported Vehicles (RIV) web site.
The USA page of this web site has more information and several very useful client experiences and tips on bringing your vehicle(s) back from the USA when you return to Canada.
Full legal stuff: The relevant Canadian government web site, with the legal and tax stuff required to import a vehicle: Warning! Scary complicated government lingo! Just for reference if you need more details for a complicated vehicle import situation:http://www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca/publications/dm-md/d9/d9-1-11-eng.html
Why this FAQ?
Most people do their own vehicle importation process and it works out just fine. However, there can be complications if you do not prepare ahead of time. It does require some preparation and planning starting at least 30 days ahead! Some messages from clients and visitors to this web site about "importing" their U.S. vehicles into Canada when they moved back:
"What is interesting is that I did not know that if you import a car that is on the RIV list and is also 15 years old [or older] it gets in without duty, taxes, etc. and also does not have to go through the review process. Also the process for car exportation from the USA is a littlecomplicated as you must get an appointment and process all the paperwork 72 hours before arriving at the border and leaving the USA. Also it is recommended [though not required] to hire a broker and do the process through it."
"you don't have anything on here about bringing your American car over the border for use in Canada. going thru hell right now, and have had a us car rental since the 1st wk in January; currently the 29th of January. have had to go over the rainbow bridge 3 times as of tomorrow it'll be 4 times to check on my car in a ford dealership, thank god for those guys, installed my day time running lights. so as such the resources would be good here, its a long drive from Niagara falls to Oklahoma city if I cant get the car over to Canada."
However, they must become a legal Permanent Resident (PR) to be able to stay, live, and work for the long term. Note: A pilot program was introduced a few years ago to allow spouses living in Canada to work while waiting for their PR status. This is now a permanent program. Great news for many!
NEW! Since creating this FAQ I have also built a more detailed resource on sponsoring spouses for PR status in Canada. Check it out for a more detailed exploration of the PR process (including a visual diagram of the sponsorship pathways) or continue reading below for links to resources.
The process of "sponsoring" them is pretty clear and well-established. Here is the relevant Government of Canada link that explains everything:
Sponsoring when you are already living in Canada:
Sponsoring when you are living outside of Canada right now:
Note: To be clear, your husband/wife/spouse will not immediately get Canadian citizenship - this is about getting them "Permanent Resident" status: the legal right to live and work in Canada. Application for Canadian citizenship is a related but different process that usually starts after your spouse has had a PR for 2 or more years.
An American comparable process to the PR is the "Green Card" versus "American Citizenship".
For more information on what a Permanent Resident is in Canada:
Have further questions or a more complex sponsorship / immigration situation? I recommend the services of a Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (RCIC). I have two I can recommend:
Relinquishing your U.S. Green Card, or "Abandonment of Lawful Permanent Residence", in official U.S. government lingo, can be done at a land border before you cross into Canada, at a U.S. consulate in-person, or by mailing in U.S. Government form I-407
Here is the official web site you can refer to:
"Abandonment of lawful permanent resident LPR status"
I regularly get asked by my clients about when and how to formally end "green card" status. The central concern most have is the time frame - how long to keep their green cards before relinquishing them. Obviously if they are fully committed to moving back to Canada permanently they give up their green cards soon after moving back - within the first month. Some are uncertain, however, or have other considerations (discussed confidentially with me) so they wish to wait awhile before giving up their legal status in the U.S.
Many people have asked me if there is a best way. From the experience of my clients, here are the three ways to end your green card status in the U.S., in order of ease of doing so:
Re: Options 2. or 3. above, one possibly startling question returning Canadians have been asked verbally and in writing when they gave up your Green Card at the border: "Is this move in any way politically motivated?"
Just giving you a "heads up"...don't take the bait!!
I met with a CBSA Officer to seek first hand information to answer this question. Generally, the answer can be "yes", you may move back to Canada if you are a Canadian citizen and have had criminal convictions in the U.S. or further abroad in the past. However...
...a few notes:
The official Government of Canada "Overcome criminal convictions" page.
In summary, having a complicated life legally in the past does not mean you can't come back to Canada. It does mean, however, that you need to understand how the past may impact you, so you can return to Canada with confidence.
Scenario: You are moving back to Canada *soon* after a change in marital status and you wish to change your last name. Now, however, you have a Canadian passport in your married (or pre-marital) name, and perhaps the same last name on a second country passport, driver's license, pension, legally registered on a real estate title, and more in Canada and/or in the country you are moving back to Canada from.
I hear that there can be strong emotional reasons to change your last name promptly when you have a change in marital status and I honour that changing it right away may feel really good. That said, changing your last name shortly before, during, or immediately after a return to Canada can cause you grief in terms of legalities and logistics because different government systems take differing amounts of time to receive, process, update, and acknowledge name changes.
So, if you don't have many months of time left before you move back (greater than 6 months), please consider changing your name *after* your move is done and fully completed.
To be clear: The best time to change your name is BEFORE you return if you have complicated non-Canadian legal context because it is normally much easier to change a name while in the country you are going to leave, particularly if it is far away (Australia, UAE, Hong Kong, etc.) But again, if you only have a few weeks or a month or two left before you return, waiting until you are back in Canada and fully settled is by far the easier time to change your last name from a legalities and logistics perspective.
Finally, if you choose to change your last name before you move, do so completely: All your ID, foreign and Canadian. This will ensure that you have consistent ID when you return. While you can carry a legal marriage or divorce certificate to prove your name change, having mixed names on different forms of ID complicates your life when you return to Canada and want to set up government and other services. Why? Because Canadian federal, provincial, and local governments and businesses are now getting tough on having consistent ID due to fraud issues.
I will not soften this topic: It is usually a tough situation for the parent wishing to move back to Canada with her/his children. The other parent - the one who is being "left" when the initiating parent wants to move back to Canada - typically has the legal right to be involved in the lives of their children ("access to their children"), meaning that it is very difficult to move children out of a state/region/country without their written and legally attested permission.
"So, that's it? I just give up and resign myself to being stuck here until my children are legally adults?!"
No. Some considerations:
In summary, feeling you may not be able to move back to Canada with your children can be a big challenge emotionally and psychologically. Fact. And yes, you may be stuck for some time. Acknowledging these realities may actually be the first step to finding a path forward...a path that with patience can lead you to the freedom and life you desire and need for yourself and your children.
The answer to this question is a bit more complicated than what can be quickly summarized in an FAQ, so I produced a separate resource page for this question:
"Moving to Canada with a wine collection?"
The provinces of British Columbia, Ontario, Quebec, and New Brunswick have a 3 month waiting period before you can access public health insurance. And so does the Yukon Territory. In all other provinces you can become insured immediately.
For the 3 month waiting period you can buy private health insurance. It is available through many major Canadian insurance companies.
One commonly used plan is offered by Blue Cross, which offers both visitor/traveler insurance AND a plan for those waiting for the 3 months before coverage starts. Here are their plans for Ontario:
"The Visitors to Canada plan provides up to $50,000, $100,000 or $150,000 (based on the chosen option) in quality insurance coverage for non-Canadians and their families travelling in Canada or to returning Canadians that are not eligible to government health insurance plan due to an extended leave." (bolding added)
British Columbia (BC):
Note: BC has a special system: You wait 2 months + the remainder of the month in which you arrived in Canada. If you arrive on the 15th of a month, for example, you wait 2 months + 2 weeks for your BC Medical Services Plan ("MSP") to kick in.
Pacific Blue Cross Visitors To Canada Plan
"For returning Canadians awaiting eligibility for the Government health insurance plan to begin."
Tip: The Pacific Blue Cross plan also covers travel to the U.S. and Hawaii, in case you wish to travel there during the 3 month waiting period! Check out the fine print of any policy...there are sometimes great bonuses built in!
(This tip shared by Tania T., returning to Canada from Australia. Thank you, Tania!)
An alternative to the Blue Cross plans in Ontario and BC are very similar "Visitors to Canada" plans offered by the Canadian Automobile Association (CAA) in Ontario and the British Columbia Automobile Association (BCAA). These are very safe, trustworthy organizations and their insurance policies will also serve you well.
Note: Paul Kurucz and this web site have no affiliation with Blue Cross, CAA, or BCAA, and do not receive any compensation for referrals to these organizations.
Your Canadian Social Insurance number ("SIN") is used for all federal government services, by your employer to deduct and remit income tax, and for government benefits you receive. It is yours for life. After 5 years of it not being used (because you were living abroad), the Canadian government will make your number "dormant" to protect it from fraudulent use.
One important point: Your SIN being dormant does not stop you from moving back to Canada and setting up your life here. It is primarily an "information collection" number. With your SIN dormant you can still get a job, open a bank account, get your driver's license, sign up for health care, etc. So, don't worry: There is no rush to get it taken out of dormancy.
What your SIN needs to be active for: Accessing online information about yourself through the Government of Canada's web sites such as CPP and OAS benefit information, RRSP and TFSA contributions in the past, and your taxes paid in the past. An active SIN is also required to start receiving government of Canada benefits such as employment insurance, CPP, and OAS.
A few options for taking your SIN out of dormancy:
Note: In 2020 it has been taking many weeks for your SIN to be reactivated due to the huge migration of Canadians returning to Canada and due to the challenges of the times limiting Government of Canada employees from doing their jobs. As noted above your "dormant" SIN will not stop you from leading a normal life in Canada.
Every province has their own driver licensing process, and all are a bit different. Below are British Columbia and Ontario processes, as examples. For other provinces, just Google: "[Province] Driver's License renewal" to find the appropriate provincial web site that explains that province's process. For all provinces, see the "IMPORTANT:" note below.
For Canadians with a BC Driver's License:
You must renew your BC Driver's License only while physically present in BC so that you do it in-person. ICBC, which handles licensing of drivers in the province, has a simple web site that explains your options:
In summary, they are pretty easy going - you can renew 6 months in advance or up to 3 years after it has expired. Note, however, that you cannot drive in Canada after it expires. If you go over 3 years and and are not living in a place in the world with a driver's license reciprocity agreement, you will have to apply as a new applicant, with a written test, road test, etc. when you return. YUCK!
For Canadians with an ON Driver's License:
You must renew your Ontario Driver's License in-person unless your renewal form says you don't need a photo taken. Like BC, Ontario gives you 180 days ahead of time to renew, so that you have plenty of time to get it done. However, they seem stickier than BC on expired driver's licenses:
"You can renew an expired driver's license, without taking tests, within one year of the license expiry date." Note: This applies to regular licenses, not learner permits, temporary, suspended licenses, etc. After one year but less than 3 years, you will have to take a vision test, too. After 3 years Ontario is like BC: You have to start the licensing process from the beginning (TESTS!) if you are moving back from a place that does not have reciprocity with Ontario.
In summary, like BC, you have some leeway both before and after your regular driver's license expires in Ontario. Here is the Ontario web page that explains all the options and details:
Renewing a Canadian driver's license has implications for your residency status. If you are living outside of Canada and renew your Canadian driver's license at that time (while on a vacation trip home, for example) carefully weigh renewing it against all your other ties to Canada. A driver's license renewal by itself is a very small tie to Canada. Renewing plus having other ties to Canada, such as an active Canadian credit card and other ties might constitute a case for the government claiming that you are actually still a resident of Canada, with resulting tax implications.
If you are moving back to BC, specifically, and do not have a valid BC Driver's License (BCDL), you may still purchase, register, license, and insure a vehicle in BC. You are required to have a driver's license to drive the vehicle, but it doesn't have to be a BCDL.
The catch: In order to get a discount on your insurance for your safe, no-accident driving, you require a BCDL. This means you will pay full-price for your insurance without a BCDL.
When you do get a BCDL, and you bring a record of your clean driving history from another province or country within 6 months of the start of your insurance policy, you will get a discount, pro-rated back to when you applied for the insurance, according to my conversation with ICBC, British Columbia's public vehicle insurer.
Here are the details: Insurance Discount for New Residents (ICBC)
A note about Manitoba:
"Manitoba appears to require you to be a "Manitoba resident" to register a car there, but MPI's website rate calculator appears to suggest it is possible to register and insure a vehicle there without a Manitoba driver's license, but you will not get any rate discount. The rate calculator also allows you to get a insurance quote as a "non-resident" and it is actually cheaper than a quote given for a resident (for lay-up coverage). Very weird."
- Mike G. (Thank you, Mike, for sharing this!)
Note: I have no information on other provinces. Can anyone help me with this for other Canadian provinces?
The BSF186 form is for importing your personal household goods that you ship to Canada and that arrive AFTER you come to Canada. Canada Customs wants to see a list of what you are shipping into Canada to ensure that you are NOT bringing in the following:
And they want to see any new, expensive items, such as a brand new C$3,500 Macbook Pro or a new $15,000 Persian rug because for these items you may have to pay taxes and duties if you have not lived outside of Canada for 5 or more years.
What do you put on your BSF186 form? Individual items? Groupings? And what values?
Here are examples for you to follow if you are moving yourself (you are not using professional movers). The key is to use general groupings and nominal or zero values for all your used household goods, except brand new very expensive items (less than 6 months old that may possibly be subject to tax and duties):
Books - $50
Kitchen items - $100
Clothes - $0
Living room furniture - $200
Television - 3 years old - $200
However, you only have a few rows on the BSF186 form to put a longer list of your items! So, you can make up a full list of what you are shipping using a Word Processor or Spreadsheet program, print it out, write "see attached" on the BSF186 form, and attach your list to the form.
Note: If you are using professional movers to pack and move with it is best to attach the mover's inventory (also called a "manifest" or "bill of lading") to the BSF186, not your own.
What about belongings you bring with you in your vehicle when you cross the border, or in your luggage when you arrive at a Canadian airport? For these belongings, make up a simple list of what you have with you to show the Canada Customs Officer. No BSF186 form needed for what you have in your vehicle or luggage, only for household goods that are arriving by shipment after you get to Canada yourself - called "goods to follow".
I went to a CBSA office here in Canada and asked them this question in-person. Here is what you must declare when you arrive at the border of Canada by land or airport: All of the following that individually, or as a total, add up to CDN $10,000 or more:
What is not included? Personal jewelry. If you have jewelry that you have owned for a long time (with receipts to prove), and intend to keep in the future for your personal use (not re-sale), this is not part of the $10,000 currency reporting amounts. Note, however, that any single jewelry items worth CDN$10,000 may be charged duties and taxes if you purchased it/them abroad.
Note: PLEASE don't bring really expensive jewelry, high values of gold, or other currencies with you when you travel! If you have over $50,000 in value for any of these, please use a secure shipping company instead - one that specializes in shipping valuables. This is just for security reasons! Thieves are smart: They seek information on people carrying valuables and can target you with sophisticated methods so as to relieve you of your valuables. Canada is generally a safe country and less of this kind of theft happens here than in other countries in the world. But it can still happen here, too.
Finally, to answer a related question: No, you will not be taxed on the CDN $10,000 or more when you declare it. Seriously: No. Your legally and legitimately earned and owned money, pure gold and silver bars and coins, and other financial assets are not going to be taxed when you bring them back to Canada as part of your return to take up residence again.
Note: Prepare Form E677 before you arrive if you are bringing more than $10,000 in cash, gold and silver bars and coins, etc.
Lack of a current credit rating in Canada is a common concern of returning Canadians and those new to Canada. Without a recent credit history and up-to-date credit rating they are worried they can't get a credit card, utilities set up, a car loan, or a mortgage.
But the reality is that a lack of a recent Canadian credit history is not a significant hurdle for most people! In fact, once you have set up a bank account in Canada and have some funds deposited in it, you can get most things done financially with little hassle. For example, you can usually get:
Can you use your U.S. credit history?
Most Canadian banks, credit unions, and trust companies do not recognize U.S. credit histories. Nor do utility companies or car financing organizations. The one exception relates to mortgages. A rare few lenders will consider your U.S. credit history as part of their overall determination of whether to offer you a mortgage (see tip below on mortgages).
Setting up a bank account:
You can set up a bank account on your last visit to Canada before you move here or remotely from abroad, though the Royal Bank is the only bank that allows the opening of a bank account from abroad (with restricted features). Details on this: Opening a bank account from outside of Canada.
In summary, most people are concerned that they won't be able to get a bank account, credit card, utilities set up, a car loan, or a mortgage when they return - the typical things a good credit rating will expedite. Trust that a lack of a credit rating won't seriously hinder you getting everything you need in short order when you move back to Canada.
Yes! You can buy real estate in Canada before moving back. You are legally allowed to do this in all provinces, however, in BC and ON there are some complications as to non-resident buyer taxes applicable in some areas.
The decision as to whether to buy real estate in Canada before moving back depends on many factors, however. Everyone's situation is a unique one. Here are some things to consider when thinking about buying real estate in Canada before moving back:
Many of my clients want to buy real estate in Canada prior to their return. During my consultations with them we explore a range of financial, tax, logistics, and lifestyle considerations prior to a purchase. This gives them significantly more clarity and confidence for their purchase considerations.
Because this is a more complicated investment, I always recommend being very careful with your research, planning, and lifestyle considerations before buying Canadian real estate if you are still a non-resident of Canada.
Check out the "Buying Real Estate in Canada" resource page on this site, for Canadians returning to live in Canada and Canadians living abroad and wanting to invest in property in Canada.
Ready to buy real estate and just need a Roadmap / Planner to guide your journey?
"The Thoughtful Expat's Guide to Buying Real Estate in Canada" is for you!
This Roadmap / Planner is a combination step-by-step guide, checklist, and education tool that will safely and confidently walk you through a real estate purchase. It starts with the research phase and ends with what to do in the first 30 days of you owning your property. It has been contributed to and regularly reviewed by real estate professionals to ensure it is as up-to-date as possible. Includes a glossary of terms you will need to know!
You can download PDF and Microsoft Word versions, the latter allowing you to tweak and customize the Roadmap for your needs and circumstances!
As the real estate market and process for buying property is evolving regularly, you will be notified of new editions of this Guide so you can download them for free.
Currently available in Ontario and British Columbia editions in Microsoft Word and PDF formats. After purchasing you can download all the editions and versions.
I once saw an application to rent an apartment that was 4 pages long and asked for an incredible amount of information, including bank account numbers, credit card numbers, etc. I just laughed and put about 1/4 of what was asked.
That was all the landlord actually needed. No previous landlord references, to be clear. I did put a personal one, but it wasn't even checked.
There is a lot of fear that comes up when considering renting an apartment, condominium, or house. "Will I win the lottery among all the people who apply?" "Will I be seen as a good potential tenant?" "Will I be rejected because I don't have a credit history in Canada?"
This fear makes it hard to get over the fact that a good tenant is an asset to a landlord. If you are returning home to Canada and planning on renting a place, here are a few things you can do to help yourself more easily rent a property - and feel good about the process, too:
Losing your wallet and ID while overseas is a pain. There are typically several hoops to jump through to get new credit/debit cards, ID, and passports. A few suggestions, should you find yourself in this situation:
Act immediately on the following fronts:
- Contact the local police and file a report if you are sure of a theft. You may need a copy of this report for later bureaucratic hoops.
- Contact your bank and get your credit and debit cards cancelled and re-issued if you have lost your wallet.
- Contact the nearest Canadian consulate or embassy and engage their help with replacing your passport.
- If you are employed overseas, advise your employer of your situation and engage their help with any legal issues around replacing your lost/ stolen documentation. Often times your legal right to work in a country is tied specifically to your employer, not just to you. For example, you may need to get replacement proof of your work visa.
- Let some close friends know your situation. You may need their help to vouch for you to authorities.
Be proactive in getting the process underway. Replacement of your id is an urgent priority in your life. Don't delay.
Do not try to travel regionally in your country of residence or internationally without your ID. Not every country has internal freedom of mobility as we do in Canada. And getting caught without your ID is often seen as a very suspicious situation by foreign police and officials. Don't risk it.
Relax! You are not the first person to have their ID stolen. It happens. You likely not have been negligent. Just unfortunate. Replacing your ID follows well established processes, though will take a bit of time and money.
Resources: (all links open a new browser window)
Government of Canada - "Lost or stolen belongings abroad"
Government of Canada - "Lost, stolen, inaccessible, damaged or found passports"
Government of Canada - "Canadian offices abroad"