Landing in Canada as permanent resident

Obtaining Confirmation of Permanent Resident (COPR) is among one of the final steps towards your journey to become Permanent Resident of Canada. However, don't let your delight of becoming canada immigrant turn into mist by not planning for the landing procedure. Getting COPR is not the final step, however crossing port of entry (POE) is last and mandatory step.

There are certain pre-requisites that need to be taken care of by the potential immigrants or Permanent Residents (PR).  Read also, below reponses to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) to clear any doubt.

Definition of Landing

Landing is explained on CIC website as "involving final interview with an immigration officer at port of entry or local CIC office in Canada, during which applicant becomes permanent resident. This happens when person signs Confirmation of Permanent Residence (COPR)".

Soft Landing

You may have heard the term 'soft landing' though not official term and hence not used by CIC. However, it refers to the practice of landing for brief time period and returning to your home country for specified period.

Once you become Permanent Resident, you can travel outside Canada as and when you please provided your PR card is not expired or lost. In the event of which, you might have to obtain Termporary Resident Card from Canada embassy in your home country.

As per the rule, you can stay for 3 out of 5 years outside Canada either continuous or in breaks, which implies that after becoming Permanent Resident you must be physically present in Canada for two out of 5 years. Read detailed rules here.

Steps to land in Canada

Regardless of difference between terminology used, after getting your Confirmation of Permanent Residence (COPR) you have to be in Canada with in given deadline mentioned on COPR that usually coincides with expiry date of your medical checkup i.e. one year since your medical exam was conducted.

You will be given a checklist or instructions to follow along with COPR. It is better to make separate folders for each section or requirement to manage your documents.

Step-1: Plan in advance


Last date of landing is mentioned in your COPR document which usually coincides or precedes  expiry date of medical exam. Don't linger on and delay your flight until last date to avoid emergency situations / unplanned delays. 

Plan and book your flight in advance as it eventually will also lead to savings on your flight budget. Depending on your arrival airport and total travel duration its advisable to have brief transit to avoid jet lag. However, keep your transit time within or less than two hours. Transit flight also saves your pocket.

Step-2: Gather all your documents

The most important document is COPR that you have to carry with your before landing in Canada. In addition, you should consider carrying 

(1) Valid Passport

(2) List of Goods (to declare and to follow)

(3) Personal Identification Documents such as Marriage / Divorce Certificates, Birth Certificates

(4) Education Certificates, Professional Certificates

(5) Photographs,

(6) Bank Statements

(7) Trade License

(8) Health Records

(9) Bank Statements etc.

Never forget to make photocopies. Speaking from personal experience, no one from immigration department will ask you to provide any of these documents but to be on safe side should carry them with you as you may be asked to provide any of these. Immigration staff behaved nicely and professionally and the process was unexpectedly smooth and quicker albeit long queue of immigrants at Toronto airport. 


Step-3: Choose an address in Canada

At Canada airport, new comers have to go through separate counter of immigration, where you will handover your COPR and Passports / Travel document. You will be asked to provide an address within Canada where you want your Permanent Resident Card to be dispatched. This has to be a residential address and should not be of some hotel or temporary accommodation.

For those who does not have residence in Canada, you may choose any of your relatives' or friends address for PR card to be shipped.

Short Term Stay in Canada

PR card usually arrives in 45 to 90 days depending on the month your landed in Canada. Just in case you do not have long-term stay in Canada (less than 90 days), then unfortunately the only option for you is to request your friend or relative to dispatch PR card through courier service.

However, it contains inherent risk that PR cards may be lost during transit, therefore, most shipping companies does not provide similar services, nor it is recommended by immigration office Canada.


Step-4: List of Goods to declare

You are supposed to prepare two lists, one for goods that you are taking with you at the time of your arrival and second list is for goods that you are expecting to carry in future travels. Consider mentioning maximum items on list of goods, to avoid any possible tax. Anything mentioned on the list and possessed by you before your arrival or once your become resident in Canada is tax-free.

Refer Canada Border Service Agency website to know kind of goods you can bring to Canada and personal exemptions.

Prepare at least two copies of both lists and its advisable to prepare & fill in advance before landing. All items you are brining to Canada or will bring in future must be mentioned in your lists, including clothes, household, jewellery etc. However, for clothing or household you can club items under single line item such as clothing and mention reasonably justified amount for all items together. 

Goods to declare and to follow must be in your possession at the time of your landing whether you are bringing them to Canada or not, implying anything purchased after landing is not accounted for in these lists. 


Step-5: Cash / Funds to Declare

After going through immigration counter, you will be asked to go to Customs Counter where you have to submit your 'Lists of Goods to declare'. Its better to take one copy with you as you may require it in your future travels.

Cash above CAD $10,000 needs to be declared in advance to Customs department otherwise you may face trouble or inquiry by Customs, even seizure of funds by customs authority.


Step-6: Get your SIN Card and Health Card

Visit Service Center Canada to apply for SIN card and Health Card. Social Insurance Number (SIN) card is issued within five minutes. You will be given a SIN number. Keep this confidential and as your bank account and various government facilities required SIN number for processing. SIN Card can also be obtained while at airport.

Timing for issuance of health card and start of medical insurance depends on province in which you landed. For Ontario eligibility period is three (3) months while for Alberta it can be obtained immediately as soon as after landing.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

#1- Do I have to land in Canada with all family members

No - Principal applicant must land before dependents or at the same time with dependents before expiry of landing date mentioned in COPR. 


#2- Can I land at any airport

You can land and complete immigration process by landing at any airport, regardless of what was mentioned in COPR or original application. However, there is an exception for Quebec. You can land but to complete immigration process and gain permanent residence status you have to travel to another province outside Quebec unless you have CSQ - certificate of selection issued by Quebec. 


#3- How long can I stay in Canada

You can stay and leave as you please. However, to maintained Permanent Residency status, you must stay for at least two out of five years from the date of landing in Canada. Read the rules here.  


#4- When is Permanent Resident Card issued

PR card is usually posted to the address given by you to immigration officials within 3 to 6 months. 


#5- Can I give address outside Canada for PR card

No- the address has to be within Canada. PR card is never shipped to address outside Canada

Comment below to share your landing experience or ask questions to clear your doubts.

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