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Toronto: Accommodation and Visas

Toronto is probably among the top three destinations for expats interested in living in Canada. And with good reason: expats and immigrants have chosen to relocate to Toronto for decades, making it one of the most diverse cities in the world. Our guide on Toronto has all the info you need.
Many street signs in Toronto also denote the neighborhood and its particular characteristic feature.

Ways of Finding Your Perfect Home

The “classic” ways of looking for a new home also work in Toronto. You can browse the housing ads in the major local newspapers — and the free papers which are available at newsstands and subway stations — or go online and search the many internet housing portals. There is also the option of simply picking a neighborhood and strolling through, looking for “for rent” signs, although the probability of success will be rather low this way. Most landlords expect a security deposit equal to one month’s rent in advance, so be sure to include this in your budget calculations.

A very popular portal, not only for rentals, is realtor.com. However, at times you cannot be quite sure in advance whether the offer you view comes from a reputable source, so browse with caution. If you are just looking for a room to rent for a few weeks while you go looking for apartments, browsing craigslist might be a good idea.

Some more well-to-do expats and those with plans of settling permanently in Toronto or the GTA might opt for buying a house. Again, realtors will be glad to help. Expat newcomers should, however, get acquainted with the rules and regulations for buying and owning a house in Ontario first. The Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants has set up a very informative portal for all matters and questions that might arise after relocating, including those concerning home ownership.

Get Your Visa Right

One of the very first steps of any trip abroad is, of course, reading up on the respective visa legislation. Canada has long realized its appeal to expats and immigrants from all over the world and offers exceptionally detailed and easy-to-browse info on most government websites.

Citizen and Immigration Canada (CIC), for example, offers an in-depth FAQ section on all visa-related questions and matters on their homepage. Many future expats reading this will be happy to hear that a number of large “expat sender” countries in Europe and Asia are exempt from visas for visits to the country. Again, a complete list can be found on the CIC page.

You couldn’t find your country on the list? That is absolutely no problem. The Canadian representation in your country will gladly help you with any visa-related inquiries and applications. The visitor visa regulations for Canada are generally very straightforward and uncomplicated — as long as you fulfill all criteria listed under the link above, you should have your visa in no time.

Work Permits

If you plan on not simply visiting Canada but relocating there — be it permanently or temporarily — getting a visa is just the beginning. A valid work permit is the prerequisite for any kind of relocation to Canada. However, the task of acquiring a work visa might consume a larger amount of time. We have devoted a section of our articles on working in Canada and working in Toronto to this matter.

Planning on Staying Possibly Forever?

You will probably meet colleagues or new acquaintances who came to Toronto as expats but enjoyed their lives there so much they wanted to stay permanently. Once again, the immigrant-friendly Canadian government has taken this possibility into consideration: there are various categories for immigration and permanent settlement, catering to groups with different backgrounds and various kinds of experience with living in Canada.

If you have already spent more than two years working in Toronto, have a good understanding of the city, the country, and its people and culture, you can apply for citizenship under the category of the Canadian Experience Class. The CIC has compiled detailed info on the application process, fees, and requirements at the page linked above.

If you are sure you want to permanently live in Toronto prior to having even set foot there, you can make use of the Skilled Workers and Professionals category. However, the requirements are a lot stricter for this category. Again, additional info can be found via the above link.

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

Javier Vazquez

"Meeting other Mexican expats in Toronto was much easier once I joined InterNations and attended events."

Paola Murri

"The InterNations network has given me the opportunity to network in Toronto like never before."

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