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Retirement

Photo ©Alan Albert

Are you plan­ning to retire to Canada ?

In eva­lua­ting your immi­gra­tion options, a major deci­sion for reti­rees is whe­ther you plan to live in Cana­da for more than six months a year.

Do You Need a Visa ?

If you’re a citi­zen of the U.S., the U.K., Aus­tra­lia, New Zea­land, Japan, the Repu­blic of Korea, France, Ita­ly, Spain, or a long list of other Euro­pean or Carib­bean coun­tries, and you want to stay in Cana­da for less than six months within a one-year per­iod, you can come to Cana­da as a visi­tor. No visa or other spe­cial paper­work is requi­red. Many Ame­ri­cans who sum­mer on Van­cou­ver Island, for example, and win­ter in Phoe­nix or Palm Springs, live in Cana­da as visi­tors, hea­ding south eve­ry year before their six months are up.

If you’re a citi­zen of ano­ther coun­try (see the list on the Citi­zen­ship and Immi­gra­tion Cana­da web­site), you can still come to Cana­da for up to six months a year, but you must apply for a Tem­po­ra­ry Resident Visa.

Parent and Grand­parent « Super Visa »

Do you have a child or grand­child living in Cana­da who is a Cana­dian citi­zen or per­ma­nent resident ? Then you may be eli­gible for the Parent and Grand­parent Super Visa.

The Super Visa will allow you to remain in Cana­da for up to two years.

Even if you’re from a coun­try that doesn’t require a visa to visit Cana­da, you can apply for the Super Visa if you meet the cri­te­ria and you want to remain in Cana­da for more than six months.

Per­ma­nent Resi­dence in Canada

To live in Cana­da per­ma­nent­ly or for more than six months a year, you usual­ly must apply for per­ma­nent resident sta­tus. As a reti­red per­son, it can be more dif­fi­cult to qua­li­fy for per­ma­nent resi­dence, since the govern­ment consi­ders your abi­li­ty to work–and sup­port yourself–an impor­tant factor.

The good news is that edu­ca­tion counts. If you’re well edu­ca­ted, you speak fluent English and French, and your spouse also has a uni­ver­si­ty degree, you’re more like­ly to qua­li­fy. A reti­red pro­fes­sor with a PhD is more like­ly to be accep­ted than a reti­red truck dri­ver with a high-school education.

Ano­ther fac­tor is the amount of savings you have. Even though you’re reti­red, if you can demons­trate that you have ample finan­cial resources to take care of your­self and your fami­ly, Cana­da will usual­ly look more favo­ra­bly on your appli­ca­tion. And if you have funds to invest in Cana­da, that’s ano­ther plus.

You can learn more about the pro­cess of applying for per­ma­nent resi­dence from Citi­zen­ship and Immi­gra­tion Cana­da.

Fami­ly Sponsorship

If you have a fami­ly mem­ber who is alrea­dy living in Cana­da, either as a per­ma­nent resident or citi­zen, they may be able to « spon­sor » you, which will expe­dite your appli­ca­tion for per­ma­nent residence.

Howe­ver, give care­ful thought to fami­ly spon­sor­ship. Your spon­sor must agree to pro­vide finan­cial sup­port for you, if neces­sa­ry, for a per­iod of three to ten years.

Also note that Cana­da has tem­po­ra­ri­ly stop­ped accep­ting fami­ly spon­sor­ship appli­ca­tions for parents and grand­pa­rents, at least until Novem­ber 2013. If you have a child or grand­child in Cana­da, you may want to consi­der the Parent and Grand­parent Super Visa instead.

When to Apply to Come to Canada

If you’re consi­de­ring reti­ring to Cana­da, plan ahead. Cana­da is more like­ly to give more favo­rable consi­de­ra­tion to youn­ger people who are still in the workforce.

Immi­gra­tion lawyer David Auj­la sug­gests that pros­pec­tive reti­rees should apply for per­ma­nent resident sta­tus before you’ve actual­ly reti­red.

And it’s a good idea to spend time in Cana­da before you retire to figure out where you’d like to live and become com­for­table with your new country.

Fin­ding a Home

Visi­tors to Cana­da are allo­wed to pur­chase pro­per­ty and to rent out that pro­per­ty when they are not using it.

The Bri­tish Colum­bia Real Estate Asso­cia­tion has a use­ful guide to Buying and Sel­ling Cana­dian Pro­per­ty for Non-Resi­dents, and the Cana­da Mort­gage and Hou­sing Cor­po­ra­tion offers a free New­co­mer’s Guide to ren­ting and buying pro­per­ty in Cana­da.

Update : Consi­de­ring where to retire in Cana­da ? Check out this post on the Top 10 Places to Retire in Cana­da.

Pho­to ©Alan Albert