How to open a TFSA

How to open a TFSA

You can have more than one TFSA at any given time, but the total amount you contribute to all your TFSAs cannot be more than your available TFSA contribution room for that year.

To open a TFSA, you must do both of the following:

  1. Contact your financial institution, credit union, or insurance company (issuer).
  2. Provide the issuer with your SIN and date of birth so the issuer can register your qualifying arrangement as a TFSA. Your issuer could ask for supporting documents.


If you do not provide this information or provide incorrect information to your issuer, the registration of your TFSA can be denied. If your TFSA is not registered, any income that is earned will have to be reported on your income tax and benefit return.

Types of TFSAs

There are three types of TFSAs that can be offered:

Banks, insurance companies, credit unions and trust companies can all issue TFSAs.

For more information about a certain type of TFSA, contact a TFSA issuer.

Self-directed TFSA

You can set up a self-directed TFSA if you prefer to build and manage your own investment portfolio by buying and selling different types of investments. For more information, contact a TFSA issuer.

Who can open a TFSA

Any individual that is a resident of Canada who has a valid SIN and who is 18 years of age or older is eligible to open a TFSA.

Any individual that is a non‑resident of Canada who has a valid SIN and who is 18 years of age or older is also eligible to open a TFSA. However, any contributions made while a non‑resident will be subject to a 1% tax for each month the contribution stays in the account. For more information, see Non-residents of Canada.

You cannot open a TFSA or contribute to one until you turn 18. However, when you turn 18, you will be able to contribute up to the full TFSA dollar limit for that year.


Julie turns 18 on May 13, 2023. She will not be able to open and contribute to a TFSA until that date. However, from May 13, 2023, she can open a TFSA and contribute up to the full 2023 TFSA dollar limit.


In certain provinces and territories, the legal age at which an individual can enter into a contract (which includes opening a TFSA) is 19. In this case, when the individual turns 19 and is able to enter into a contract in that jurisdiction, the TSFA contribution room for the year an individual turns 18 is carried over to the following year.

Non-residents of Canada

You could be considered a non-resident for tax purposes if you meet any of the following conditions:

Even if you no longer live in Canada, you could have residential ties in Canada that are enough for you to be considered a factual or deemed resident of Canada. In these cases, the regular rules for opening a TFSA still apply.

Residential ties include:

Other ties that can be relevant include:

For more information on residential ties, see Income Tax Folio S5-F1-C1, Determining an Individual’s Residence Status or call the International Enquiries for Individuals and Trusts at one of the following numbers: 

1-800-959-8281 (from anywhere in Canada and the United States)

613-940-8495 (from outside Canada and the United States) 

We accept collect calls by automated response. You may hear a beep and experience a normal connection delay.

If you become a non-resident of Canada, or are considered to be a non-resident for income tax purposes:

You can contribute to a TFSA up to the date that you become a non-resident of Canada. The annual TFSA dollar limit is not prorated in the year of emigration or immigration.

If you make a contribution, except for a qualifying transfer or an exempt contribution, while you are a non-resident, you will be subject to a 1% tax for each month the contribution stays in the account. You can also be liable for other taxes. For more information, see Tax payable on non-resident contributions.

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