Moving to Calgary?

Connect with fellow expats in Calgary
Join exciting events and groups
Get information in our Calgary guides
Exchange tips about expat life in Calgary

Moving to Calgary

Are you thinking about moving to Calgary? Then you must be curious about neighborhoods and housing opportunities in this Alberta city, as well as interested in Canada’s visa regulations. The InterNations Expat Guide informs you about these and further topics connected to a move to Calgary.
Inform yourself early on whether you need a visa to enter Canada.

Your Entry Ticket: Visas for Canada

Depending on your nationality, you might not necessarily need a visa to be allowed to enter Canada. This is, for example, the case for people from a number of European countries. You can check on the website of Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) whether you will need a Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) or not. If you do, then make sure to apply for it in a timely manner. Note, however, that a visa-less stay or a TRV does not automatically grant you the right to work in Canada!

The Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP)

This program allows employers in Canada to hire foreign employees for a specific position, meaning that expats need a confirmed job offer. Typically, a future employer has to get in touch with the Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) first, in order to get a positive Labor Market Impact Assessment (LMIA), before their future expat employee can apply for a work permit.

The LMIA is a prerequisite to ensure that no jobs are taken away from able Canadians. Intra-company transfers, on the other hand, do not necessarily need an LMIA.

How to Obtain Your Work Permit

With the exception of some specific jobs, such as clergy or foreign representatives, most expats have to get a work permit if they are planning on taking up employment in Canada. For your work permit application through the TFW program, you need a written copy of your employer’s job offer, proof of your qualification for this job, as well as — if necessary — the positive LMIA your employer has already obtained for the position.

Also remember to check whether you need a Temporary Resident Visa for your stay in Canada. For more detailed information on employment matters, read our articles on Working in Calgary and Working in Canada.

Planning on Permanently Residing in Calgary?

There are a number of different programs which might enable you to apply for permanent residence in Canada. These include, for example, the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP), the Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP), the Canadian Experience Class (CEC), a family sponsorship, provincial nominees, as well as programs for investors, entrepreneurs, and self-employed applicants. You can find more details on these on the website of the CIC or in our article on Moving to Canada.

The new, so-called Express Entry program was rolled out in January 2015. Potential candidates can complete an Express Entry profile at any time. Everyone who gets accepted into the Express Entry Pool could get an invitation to apply for permanent residency. By introducing this system, the government aims to better match immigration applicants and the demands of the Canadian economy and labor market to combat the skills shortages in certain regions and sectors.   

Alberta Immigrant Nominee Program (AINP)

Independently from the federal permanent residence programs, so-called provincial nominees may also be eligible for permanent residence in Canada. In the case of Calgary, the corresponding program is the Alberta Immigrant Nominee Program (AINP).

Individuals can apply to the AINP for free and may qualify for nomination based on different factors. Self-employed farmers, for example, may be eligible. Once you are nominated, your application will be passed on to the CIC, where the final decision will be made.


We do our best to keep this article up to date. However, we cannot guarantee that the information provided is always current or complete.

If there’s something you’re still not sure about, check out the InterNations Forum.

Andrey Vasilyev

"When moving to a huge city such as Vancouver, InterNations made it easy for me to find fellow expats and the network that I needed."

Amarilis Castillo

"InterNations make networking in such a large city so much easier with their events and extensive information."

Global Expat Guide