First Things to Do When You Arrive

Moving to a new country can be hard. You may struggle to understand your new environment. The ways people do everyday things may be unusual to you. Many things like housing, health, education, employment, finances, government, shopping, customs, etc. may be different from your country of origin or the country where you lived before.

Making a new home can take a long time, especially if you do not have the right information and do not know what to do. To help you with that, we have developed this Guide.

When you arrive in NL, there are many things you need to do to get settled. We have listed the most important ones on the checklists below. There is more information about each of the items on the checklists, and many other topics, further in the Guide.

Things to Do Upon Arrival

Some of the items on the checklists on this page may not apply to you. For example, if you do not have minor children, you are not going to apply for the Canada Child Tax Benefit (CCTB).

You may also have some special needs and may need to do things that are not listed here. If that is the case, talk to the Association for New Canadians staff and they will help you out or refer you to someone who can help.

There are certain things you should do immediately upon arrival. Then there are things that are also essential to get settled but can take a longer time. It is a good idea to start doing them as soon as possible.

Things to Do Right Away

Here is a checklist of important things to do within two weeks of your arrival on NL:

  • Register with the Association for New Canadians, your local settlement agency, in the office closest to where you live and/or work (offices are located in St. John’s, Clarenville, Grand Falls-Windsor, Corner Brook, St. Anthony, Forteau, Labrador West, and Happy Valley-Goose Bay)
  • Find a place to live
  • Apply for a Social Insurance Number (SIN)
  • Apply for a NL Medical Care Plan (MCP) card
  • Apply for the Canada Child Tax Benefit (CCTB)
  • Apply for the GST/HST Credit
  • Open a bank account
  • Get your name on the waiting list for a family doctor
  • Find out about local health clinics and emergency services
  • Register your children in school
  • Get your language ability tested and register English classes for you, your spouse, or other family members (who are over 18)
    • Only Permanent Residents can attend on-site day ESL classes at the ESL
      Training Centre in St. John’s
    • Temporary Residents can attend on-site/virtual ESL Evening Classes or
      attend on-site day classes in Corner Brook


  • If you are a Newfoundland and Labrador Provincial Nominee applicant, register
    with the Office of Immigration and Multiculturalism
  • If you are francophone, register with the FFTNL/COMPAS (local francophone settlement service provider)
Other Important Things to Do

Here is a checklist of other things that are important, but take more time to do and are
helpful in making NL home for you and your family:

  • Get information on training, upgrading, or international credentials recognition by registering with AXIS Career Services, the ANC’s employment and career services division
  • Learn how to look for a job in Canada (the ANC’s Employment Counselors can guide you – email them at also learn about Canadian workplace culture (ANC’s Diversity and Public Education team delivers this type of training for new immigrant employees – email them at for more information)
  • Get maps and find out about local transportation
  • Apply for a driver’s licence or identity card
  • Find out where to shop
  • Find out about recreation, sports, and the arts in your area
  • Learn about your legal rights and responsibilities
  • Increase your knowledge about Canada and NL
  • Socialize and make new friends
  • Become a Permanent Resident (if temporary resident) and later Canadian Citizen (if permanent resident)

We have made every effort to ensure that the information in this Guide is accurate and up-to-date. If you find any errors or omissions, please contact us.

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The Association for New Canadians of Newfoundland and Labrador gratefully acknowledges the support of PEIANC for their permission to use their template in creating this guide.

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