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How to bring your savings to Canada | Don’t leave it behind

Updated: Aug 17, 2023

When you are about to start your international studying journey, there are many things for you to consider… Having all your paperwork done, a place to arrive, and how much money you want to bring with you. You would be surprised how many people only bring enough money to survive for a couple of weeks!.

That being said, we wanted to share with you some of the most common ways that students usually do to bring their savings with them.


You might be surprised about this, but cash is one of the most common options for bringing your savings. Although it may not be the safest way to do so, you don’t lose money by paying unwanted or ridiculous transfer fees. It might be a little hard to travel with all of your life savings because you are not allowed to bring more than CAD 10,000 in cash. But, on the other hand, who would like to be handling even more than that amount of cash!? 😅

Keep in mind that you will need to declare this money when you arrive in Canada with the Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA). If you are carrying more than CAD 10,000 and do not declare it, the CBSA has the authority to seize your money. You may have to pay a penalty of anywhere from CAD 250 to $5,000 to retrieve your money from the CBSA.

International Bank Transfer

It’s one of the most common ways to transfer your money from your country of origin to Canada. It is a good option if you decide to open a Canadian bank account after moving to Canada. You will need to get an international money order from your current bank in your country of origin before you move to Canada. However, this is usually the less convenient option economically speaking, as you can lose a lot of money in transfer fees alone.

That being said, it’s still the most common thing students do is to bring part of their savings in cash and the other part to transfer once they have a Canadian bank account. Just something for you to consider 😉

Online Services

The last option we recommend is to use any online transferring platforms you trust, such as It is essentially an online account where you can send money abroad or get paid in other currencies. You can also spend abroad with their Wise debit card, similar to what you do with PayPal. The commission for you to use their services is lower than those established by banks.

Western Union

Western Union is also really popular for international students, as their process is relatively easy, and their fees are still lower than those from the bank. You can transfer the money with them online, by phone, using your credit or debit card, or even in person by visiting an agent’s location to transfer the money. It is usually used for small transactions, not higher than CAD 1,000.

One last option

The last option we suggest you consider if you have the opportunity is to check if Scotiabank is available in your country/city. If so, a really convenient way for bringing your money is to open a bank account in your local Scotiabank branch and get a debit card. You will be able to place as many savings as you want in that account. When needed, withdraw your savings, small amounts at a time, directly from any ATM in Scotiabank Canada! It’s pretty convenient, and there is no fee for doing so; the only “cost” for doing this is adjusting the difference between your local currency and the Canadian Dollar. Other than that, it’s a piece of cake! 😉

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