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All Canadian bank accounts must be opened in person at the institution. Original and valid identification is required to open any account. Photocopies are not accepted. A foreign representative is required to present a letter of employment from his/her mission which states that they are a diplomat, the number of years they plan to stay in that post and their salary.


amily members of foreign representatives, who are employed in Canada, are required to present their Social Insurance Numbers (SIN) for income tax purposes. Information on how to obtain a SIN card is available at www.servicecanada.gc.ca; type “SIN” in the search box.

A bank might legitimately refuse to open an account, for example, if it could not verify an applicant’s identity documents or if they suspect potential wrongdoing. Applicants who are rejected by a financial institution may contact the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada.

Children of diplomats are able to open bank accounts. These bank accounts are typically free of banking fees. Accounts without fees for diplomats may also be available, although banks will require you to keep a certain amount of money in the account. The amount will vary by bank, so foreign representatives should make an inquiry pertaining to fee-free accounts with their banking institution.

Chequingaccounts are transactional and deposit accounts. This is a basic account for business or personal use. A customer can deposit or withdraw any amount of money any number of times, subject to the availability of funds. These accounts are not opened for the purpose of earning interest or for savings. Transactions with chequing accounts are done with cheques or bank cards, called debit, client or access cards. These cards are used for cash withdrawals as well as making purchases in most stores through Interac Direct Payment. The money is taken directly from the bank account when the card is used. Some banks have introduced convenience cards that combine the features of a credit card and a debit card, allowing customers to make online purchases, reservations and other transactions traditionally only done with credit cards.

Using personal cheques in Canada is much more common than in many other countries. So it is not unusual if a landlord asks to be paid by cheque. Cheques can also be used to pay for things like school trips or utilities, but they are rarely accepted for retail purchases. If a foreign representative needs to cash a cheque that is in currency other than Canadian or American, there can be a 30-day wait period for the cheque to clear.

Savings accounts let customers earn interest on a deposit. They are intended to grow in value rather than provide money for frequent withdrawals. Each bank offers a variety of savings accounts with different minimum balances and interest rates. The official website of the financial institution will provide more detailed information.

Joint chequing or savings accounts refer to accounts that a customer shares with another person, such as a spouse or child.

Line of Credits are unfortunately not available to non-residents.