How To Get A Bank Account Without An Address Proof In Canada
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Bank Account Without An Address Proof In Canada

Updated on August 25, 2020 10:57 am

Whether you plan to live or work in Canada for an extended time, having a bank account in Canada will make your life easier. Having a local bank account is convenient for managing your money, paying bills, and making payments. Moreover, the transaction cost of using your home country account can be expensive. 

We will explore ways how you can open an account in Canada as a non-resident or even if you are in another country.

As a non-resident, opening a bank account in Canada can be difficult but it can be done with proper identification. You can contact the banks in Canada and request for assistance to help you get the job done.

Let's first see what documents are required by banks to open an account as a non-resident. These are the list of documents you need to open a Canadian bank account:

  • Your current foreign passport
  • Your permanent residency card or immigration papers
  • Your employee ID card with your picture it (card issued by a well-known employer in your area)
  • Your Social Insurance Number (SIN) 
  • Canadian Credit card/ Debit Card/ Bankcard 
  • Document issued by someone in good standing with the financial institution or community to confirm your identity
  • Proof of address (utility bill/copy of a lease/ student enrolment documentation)

Also, One of the following immigration papers are likely to be accepted by most banks:

  • Temporary Residence Permit
  • Work or study permit 
  • Confirmation of Permanent Residence

You will have to get at least any one of these before entering the country in the first place.  Please note that all the documents must be original.

Requirements may vary with banks. It is best to call up the bank beforehand to make sure you have the documents that they need. For your convenience, the government of Canada lists all the possible scenarios on their official websites. 

Do keep in mind that most banks are not going to ask for your Social Insurance Number when you open a bank account unless your account is going to earn interest for tax purposes. If they ask for it for other reasons, you need to give your written consent before sharing it. Tip one to protecting yourself from financial fraud. 

What is the Social Insurance Number?

The Social Insurance Number (SIN) is a 9 digit number issued by the government for working in Canada and to have access to government programs and benefits. Each person is issued an individual SIN and cannot be legally used by another person. It is the individual’s responsibility to protect their SIN. Here is how you can apply for SIN.

Opening a Canadian bank account as a Non-Resident 

You can open an account either online or over the phone or in-person. Considering how taxing the identification process can be, it is better to go in person and sort through all the requirements and procedures to open the account. 

The ease of opening an account can also depend on your nationality. Citizens of countries like the UK, the United States, and European countries have a better chance of opening a Canadian bank account successfully. Oftentimes, it can be opened even before arriving in Canada. 

Some banks do have special accounts for foreigners. Always contact the bank or Credit Union of your choice before you arrive and ask about the possibility of opening one. Or check whether your home country bank has its Canadian counterpart so that you can ask if they offer such assistance. 

Read Banks vs Credit Unions 

Opening a Bank Account from Abroad

It is feasible to open an account remotely even before you arrive in Canada. You just need to get in touch with the bank either via email, phone, or live chat. 

You’ll have to provide information about your immigration status (temporary resident/ on a work/ study visa or a permanent resident). You will then be contacted by a dedicated account-opening team and ask for immigration papers and other necessary documents. It will take a few days and the process can be complicated at times being done remotely. 

It may be a good idea to open an account once you are in Canada.

Best Banks in Canada for Non-residents

There are mainly five major banks in Canada having a country-wide presence and which offers special packages for any newcomers.

  • Royal Bank of Canada
  • Toronto-Dominion Bank
  • Scotiabank
  • Bank of Montreal
  • Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce

Before you decide to open an account, it is important to know the purpose of the account (saving account or checking account or fixed deposits) and also check the monthly fees offered by the banks, the types of accounts available, and interest on your savings or if your deposits are insured, etc. 

Keep in mind that the fees can vary from bank to bank. There are monthly fees, transaction fees, ATM fees, or in some cases, international transfer fees (look for alternative options that provide the best exchange rate for international money transfer). 

You can send money online across international borders using money transfer services available in the market. CompareRemit is a platform where you can compare the best money transfer companies and choose the suitable one to transfer money. Compare and save on every transfer. 

Opening a Bank Account without an Address Proof

  • International Bank Account

Many international banks have several branches in Canada, such as BNP Paribas, HSBC, Citibank, etc. You can remotely open an account with them ahead of time. 

That said, an international bank account can be very expensive to open and maintain. They are often reserved for high net-worth individuals.

  • Correspondent Bank Account

Some banks in your country might already have an established relationship with major Canadian banks. You can approach such banks in your country and ask if you are allowed to open a Canadian bank account and if they can assist you in the process. 

  • Challenger Banks/Neo Banks

Neo banks are completely digital banking service providers committed to providing cheaper, more flexibility, and seamless service to its customers compared to traditional banking services. Some of them have a full banking license while others collaborate with a regulated financial institution to offer banking services. For immigrants, this could mean easy remittance delivery, lighter KYC. 

Some popular challenger banks startups headquartered in Canada are:

  • KOHO
  • MOGO
  • Motusbank
  • Neo Financial
  • Wealthsimple
  • Stack

Ultimately, we recommended that the best way to go about is to contact your respective banks, speak to their representatives, and check the available options. 

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