The First 5 Things You Need to do Once You Arrive in Calgary 

The First 5 Things You Need to do Once You Arrive in Calgary

Moving to a new city can be intimidating and overwhelming—especially if you’ve also just moved to a new country. To help you transition smoothly, we’ve included a checklist for newcomers to Canada with specific steps on what you should do first in Calgary.  

1. Find Accommodation 

If you’re new to Calgary, the first thing you need to do is find a residence. During your first few days in the city, you may need to book a hotel room while you get set up. Ideally, though, it’s best to make long-term accommodation arrangements prior to arriving in Calgary.  

Most newcomers to Canada opt to rent a unit in an apartment building or a secondary suite in someone’s home. As a student, you may also be eligible for student housing. The style of housing you choose and where it’s located will affect the price, so make sure you find something that fits your budget.  

According to data from Zumper, the median rent for a one-bedroom in Calgary is $1480, while for a 2-bedroom, it’s $1700.  

2. Set Up Utilities   

Some utilities may be included in your rental agreement, so make sure you check with your landlord before setting up any new billing accounts.  

Utilities you may need to set up include: 

  • Cable/internet  
  • Telephone  
  • Water  
  • Electricity  
  • Heat  
  • Gas 

3. Apply for a Social Insurance Number (SIN) 

To work in Canada, you’ll need a social insurance number, commonly called a SIN. Not only do you require this number to get paid, but you also need the SIN to access various government programs such as employment insurance (EI) benefits and pension plans.  

To apply for your SIN, visit for instructions. Here you’ll be able to fill out your personal information and choose whether you want to apply online, in person or by mail.  

Contact an ABES advisor today to get the support you need to adjust to your new home in Calgary.

4. Apply for An Alberta Health Card 

Alberta Health Services (AHS) is a provincial agency which provides healthcare services to residents of Alberta. To access this healthcare system, you must register for an Alberta Health Card within three months of arriving in Alberta. Your Alberta Health Card covers basic health care services such as doctor’s appointments and emergency room visits.  

Visit for more information on applying.  

5. Contact an Immigrant Serving Agency  

Immigration agencies can help you get set up in your new city as well as provide you with the resources you need to succeed. These agencies may also offer English classes and support group sessions.  

In Calgary, there are several non-profit immigrant serving agencies, including: 

  • Calgary Catholic Immigration Society (CCIS) 
  • The Immigrant Educational Society (TIES) 
  • Calgary Immigrant Women’s Association (CIWA) 
  • Centre for Newcomers (CFN) 
  • Immigrant Services Calgary (ISC) 
  • Jewish Family Service Calgary (JFSC) 

Need assistance with getting set up in your new Calgary home? Reach out to an ABES advisor today to get the support you need as a new Canadian student.