Guidance

Living in Canada

Official information British people moving to and living in Canada need to know, including residency, healthcare and driving.

Before you go

See our travel advice for Canada for up-to-date information on local laws and customs, safety and emergencies.

You’ll need to apply for an Electronic Travel Authorisation (eTA) to enter Canada.

See moving or retiring abroad.

Visas and residency

See entry requirements for Canada in our travel advice.

If you intend to work or study, Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has information about the permits you may need.

Healthcare

See our travel advice for Canada.

Canada and the UK do not have reciprocal healthcare agreements. You should buy comprehensive travel and medical insurance before you enter the country.

You should also make sure you’re covered by health insurance for UK treatment or you’ll be charged by the NHS for any care you receive in the UK. The NHS has information for people moving abroad.

See travelling with medication – you should also check your prescriptions are legal in Canada.

Working in Canada

See work in Canada for work permits and getting your qualifications assessed.

Some jobs may require a UK criminal records check (known as a DBS check).

Tax

See tax if you leave the UK to live abroad and tax on your UK income if you live abroad.

We recommend you get professional advice on paying tax in Canada.

You may be able to pay National Insurance while abroad in order to protect your State Pension and entitlement to other benefits and allowances.

Pensions

See State Pension if you retire abroad and new State Pension.

If you’ve worked in Canada, see old-age security pension.

Life certificates for UK state pensions

If you get a ‘life certificate’ from the UK Pension Service, you need to respond as soon as possible – your payments may be suspended if you don’t.

Benefits

See claiming benefits if you live, move or travel abroad.

Find out which UK benefits you might be able to get while you’re abroad and how to claim them.

Many income-related benefits such as Pension Credit and Housing Benefit can’t be paid if you’re abroad for more than 4 weeks.

Driving in Canada

See driving abroad and road travel in Canada.

You can apply for a temporary international driving permit or exchange your UK licence – each province issues its own driving licence, so you should contact your provincial government.

If you’re asked for a letter authenticating, certifying or validating your UK driver’s licence, you should contact your UK issuing office (eg the DVLA).

See taking a vehicle out of the UK.

Voting

British citizens living abroad can vote in some UK elections – you’ll need to register as an overseas voter.

Births

See register a birth abroad.

Deaths

See what to do after someone dies and bereavement information for Canada.

Getting married

See getting married abroad.

Renewing passports

See overseas British passports applications and get an emergency travel document (sometimes called an emergency passport).

Pets

See travelling with pets.

Emergencies

Canada uses the emergency number 911.

If you need urgent help, contact your nearest British embassy or consulate.

Accommodation and buying property

See buying a property abroad.

Other useful information

See:

Returning to the UK

You should tell the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) that you’re leaving Canada.

To move your pension to the UK, contact the International Pension Centre.

See tax if you return to the UK.

See bringing your pet to the UK.

Disclaimer

Please note that this information is provided as a guide only. Definitive information should be obtained from the Canadian authorities. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office will not be liable for any inaccuracies in this information.

Published 20 November 2013
Last updated 5 June 2018 + show all updates
  1. Complete revision of guidance to ensure it's up to date and accurate.
  2. Updated Electronic Travel Authorisation requirements for British passport holders flying to Canada.
  3. Added information about Electronic Travel Authorisation requirements
  4. Added British Columbia to the list of provinces where a UK driving licence can be exchanged.
  5. First published.