What you want to know when moving to Calgary

Below, you can find information on some of the things you might want to know when moving to Calgary. Please also refer to Nice to Know and the External Links for more information.


To open a bank account in Calgary, you need a letter from your employer with your salary (please contact HR or browse through the HR information packet), two pieces of identification (e.g. passport and Alberta Health Care Card) as well as your SIN number.

Shell Canada Limited has an agreement with Bank of Montreal (BMO), making it possible for you to apply for a credit card before your arrival. Please see the Shell intranet.

You should be aware that as a new and temporary resident in Canada, you have no Canadian credit history. As such, you are considered a high-risk applicant, and some banks will not allow you a credit limit higher than $500-2000. To avoid this, you can choose to pay your credit card in advance (credit balance) and thus stretch your limit before a purchase.

In general, you should note that Canadian banks have fees on many of their services. Thus, it is advisable to talk to the bank about the price of the various services that you plan to use, e.g. withdrawals, transfers between banks.

Driving in Calgary

New residents must obtain an Alberta driver's license (class 5 for standard vehicles) within 90 days of moving to the province, and you will be required to surrender your original license since it is against the law to posses more than one driver's license. Find more information about exceptions and the latest details.

Whether exhanging your license or needing to take the full test, you need to bring an English translation of your foreign license. Find an approved translation organization.

Exchanging your driver's license

Exchange: Canada has a reciprocal agreement with a number of countries, allowing for a driver's license to be exchanged for a Canadian license in the applicaple class. See if this applies to you.

Getting a Canadian driver's license

If you do not have a driver's license from one of these countries, you have to undergo full testing (a theoretical test as well as a road test). When you take the theoretical test, you will be asked to hand in your current foreign driver's license and are thus not allowed to drive untill completion of the road test.

When you surrender your current driver's license, you need to provide proof that you have held your current license for more than two years. Otherwise, you will be placed in the restricted Graduated Drivers License program (GDL).

You can find a booklet with the information you need to pass the theoretical test at your local registry office.

For more information see the Inside Guide.

Importing and registering a Car

Motor vehicles (including trailers) must be registered before they are allowed on road. If you purchase your car from a dealer, they will arrange it for you. To register your new or used vehicle or trailer, you need proof of ownership (bill of sale or lease agreement), proof of valid Alberta insurance, and two pieces of identification or an Alberta Operator's license.

If you wish to import a car, you need a Vehicle Import Form 1 obtained from Transport Canada. The rules for importing may differ depending on your individual circumstances. Find more information on Transport Canada's website.

Car Insurance

It is highly recommendable to have comprehensive collision insurance apart from your mandatory public liability (which should be at a minimum of 1 million CAD).

Remember to compare the rates before deciding on a insurance company. Some companies will accept a letter from your former insurance company stating that you have a number of claim free years of driving, which can mean a difference in quote.

It is possible to insure your car with a foreign license, but note that the rates will be significantly higher.

Importing Pets

Pets can enter Canada for any period of time (permanent stays, temporary visits, or in transit visits) without quarantine from any country as long as they have their rabies shot up-to-date.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency establishes import requirements for all animals and animal products entering Canada, including domestic pets. Read the import guidelines.

Be aware that there can be some challenges to finding a rental property that will allow pets.

All information on this site is solely for the benefit off Shell employees and their families and regards non-contractual information. The comments and information presented on this website reflect the experience of the volunteers, and are not those of Shell Canada Limited. All information ©2013 Outpost Calgary, except where noted.

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