Moving to Calgary is a big step, but with the right preparation, it can also be an exciting and successful transition. Calgary, Alberta is a vibrant and growing city known for its natural beauty, strong economy, and friendly community. Whether you’re relocating for work or seeking a new adventure, this guide will help you prepare for a smooth move to Calgary.

From finding housing and employment to settling into the community and making the most of your new city, this guide will provide you with the tools and information you need to have a successful transition to Calgary.

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Visa options to live in Calgary

If you are not a Canadian citizen or permanent resident of Canada you will need to obtain the correct visa to live in Calgary.

Temporary work permits allow new residents the opportunity to live in this vibrant city. Youth from over 30 countries participating with International Experience Canada can take advantage of a Working Holiday Visa in Canada too. Additionally, if local staff cannot be found for an open vacancy, employers may obtain a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) which will enable them to issue the required permit.

For those dreaming of making the move to Calgary permanently, Permanent Residency options are available and make this dream a reality. Canada’s Express Entry system offers immigrants an opportunity to apply for skilled immigration programs, such as Canadian Experience Class, the Federal Skilled Worker Program, and the Federal Skilled Trades stream.

The Alberta Advantage Immigration Program (AAIP) presents an immense opportunity for individuals to migrate permanently to Calgary, by providing provincial immigration options. These can be availed by workers, graduates and entrepreneurs who are interested in settling here.

Couple walking outside of The Livery Shop in Calgary
Image by Jeremy Fokkens via Travel Alberta

Accommodation in Calgary

Before you pack your bags and head to Calgary, it’s important to take some time to research the city and its neighbourhoods. This will give you a better idea of what to expect and help you make informed decisions about where to live.

With an abundance of neighbourhoods and communities, each offering something unique, it can be difficult to know where to start your search. However, with some research, preparation and guidance, you can find the perfect place for you.

When it comes to preparing for your move to Calgary, the most important thing to remember is to take things one step at a time. By taking the time to do research and create a budget, you’ll be better prepared for a successful transition into your new home. With some planning and preparation, you can ensure that your move to Calgary is both enjoyable and successful.

Here are some steps you can follow to find a place to live in Calgary from outside Canada:


Start by researching the city, neighbourhoods, and rental market online. You can also look at online real estate listings, forums, and social media groups for information and advice. Here are some good websites to use for research:

Set your budget

Decide on a budget for rent and utilities and consider factors such as proximity to work, public transportation, and other amenities.

Work with a real estate agent (if purchasing)

Consider working with a licensed real estate agent who has experience working with international clients. They can assist you in your search, answer any questions you may have and make the process easier.

Contact potential landlords

Look for rental properties that meet your criteria and reach out to the landlords or property management companies to inquire about availability.

Consider short-term options

If you’re unable to secure a long-term lease, consider short-term rental options such as serviced apartments, extended-stay hotels, or Airbnb.

Arrange a visit

If you’re able, arrange a visit to Calgary to tour potential rental properties and finalize your decision.

Secure a lease

Once you have found a suitable place, you’ll need to sign a lease agreement and provide proof of income, identity, and address.

Note: It’s important to be aware of the laws and regulations around renting in Calgary and to only work with reputable sources.

Patrick's island
Image by Jeremy Fokkens via Travel Alberta

Alberta Health Services

Signing up for Alberta Health Services is an important step to take when settling into Calgary. Alberta Health Services (AHS) is the largest healthcare provider in the Canadian province of Alberta, providing quality health services and support to Albertans. With AHS, you can access a variety of services including hospital care, mental wellness support, preventative care, and other health resources.

Alberta phone number

Getting an Alberta phone number is an easy process that can be done quickly and conveniently. To get started, you will need to choose a service provider from the many available in the province of Alberta. Some of these providers include Telus, Bell, Rogers, Shaw, Freedom Mobile and more.

Each of these providers offers different types of plans and packages so be sure to do your research and find the one that is best for you. Once you’ve chosen a service provider, you will be able to sign up for an Alberta phone number directly from their website or in-store.

Bank account

Opening a bank account in Alberta is an essential step when settling into the province. There are many banking options to choose from, including big national banks such as RBC and TD Canada Trust, as well as local institutions like ATB Financial and Servus Credit Union.

To open an account, you will need to provide basic personal information such as name, address and date of birth. You may also be required to show two pieces of identification that display your photo, name and current address. Once the process is complete, you will be able to start using your new bank account right away.

Social Insurance Number

To work in Canada, you will need a Social Insurance Number (SIN). This is a nine-digit number that is required to access employment insurance, pension plans and other government programs. To apply for your SIN, you will need to provide original documents such as a valid passport or birth certificate and proof of address. The application process can be completed online, by mail or in person at a Service Canada Centre.

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Job market in Calgary

If you’re looking for work in Calgary, it’s important to understand the local job market and what industries are growing. Some of the top industries in Calgary include energy, finance, technology, and healthcare. Take advantage of online resources such as job search engines, industry associations, and networking events to find job opportunities.

When you’re ready to start your job search, be sure to network and make connections. This may mean reaching out to friends and family, joining professional organizations, and attending events. And don’t forget to update your resume and LinkedIn profile to reflect your skills and experience.

Steps to find a job in Calgary:

  1. Research Industries: Identify the industries and companies in Calgary that align with your skills and interests and research the job market in those areas.
  2. Update Your Resume and LinkedIn Profile: Ensure your resume and LinkedIn profile are up-to-date and reflect your relevant skills and experience. Optimize them with keywords and phrases related to the jobs you're interested in to increase your chances of being noticed by employers.
  3. Network: Attend job fairs, networking events, and industry conferences to meet professionals in your field and make connections. Reach out to alumni, friends, and colleagues to see if they have any connections or job leads. Utilize social media networks like LinkedIn to expand your professional network.
  4. Apply for Jobs: Apply for jobs that match your skills and experience, and follow up on your applications. Utilize online job search websites and job boards, as well as company websites to find job openings. Consider working with a recruiter or staffing agency to help you find a job.
  5. Prepare for Interviews: Research the companies you're interested in, and practice answering interview questions. Be ready to discuss your skills, experience, and achievements, and have examples of your work ready to share.

Support system in Calgary

Starting over after moving to Calgary be lonely and challenging, but it’s important to build a strong support system. This will help you feel more connected and grounded in your new home.

One of the best ways to build a support system is by finding friends and building relationships.

You can do this by joining local clubs and organizations, attending community events, and volunteering. Another great way to get community involvement is by participating in local events and activities. Whether it’s a charity walk, a festival, or a community gathering, there’s always something going on in Calgary.

Another way to build your support system is by connecting with others who are also starting over. You can find these individuals through online forums, social media groups, or local support groups. Having a group of people who understand what you’re going through can be incredibly helpful and provide a sense of comfort and support.

Moving to Calgary F&Q's

Here are 10 frequently asked questions and answers to help with a successful move to Calgary:


Nicola Wightman

Nicola Wightman is a regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (RCIC) under the College of Immigration and Citizenship Consultants (CICC). Her professional immigration consultant number is R706497.

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