Congratulations to you and your family on receiving your Confirmation of Permanent Residence ( COPR) in Canada.   To help you with this transition, we have outlined below what you should do next and what to expect at the airport.

Your passport will be stamped with your immigrant visa and you will be given a Confirmation of Permanent Residence (COPR) document.  This document is very important and must be kept in a safe place, as you will need to refer to it from time to time as a permanent resident.  You will also need it to also apply for citizenship at a later date.

Preparing for Departure from your Home Country

  1. Each family member must have his/her own passport stamped with an immigrant visa and a Confirmation of Permanent Residence.
  2. Check the documents received from CIC to ensure that there are no errors. Pay specific attention to the spelling of your name, date of birth and passport number.  If there is an error you should notify CIC immediately to have the document corrected before departure.
  3. Locate all important original documents and at least one certified copy of each document for each family member such as:
    1. Birth certificate
    2. Marriage Certificate
    3. Baptismal certificate
    4. Divorce Certificate (Decree Absolute)
    5. Court Orders/ Formal Orders
    6. Adoption records
    7. Death Certificates of spouse or close family members e.g. parents
    8. Medical records, immunization/ vaccination booklets/ records, prescription and a letter from your doctor if you are taking certain medications
    9. School records: copies of certificates, degrees, transcripts (sealed copies)
    10. Certificate of membership from professional organizations
    11. Letters of good standing from professional organizations
    12. Letters of Recommendation from former employers and teachers
    13. Driver’s licence
    14. Recommendation from your motor vehicle insurance company about your driving experience and claims record (NB not all insurance companies in Canada recognize these records, but you should take the letter of recommendation, just in case you are able to use this record)
    15. Cash or Certified cheque, draft, and traveller’s cheque for any amount of fund you wish. Just remember you need to declare the amount you are taking in if it over CAD$10,000.00
    16. Make a detailed list of the items you plan to take on the plane, or plan to ship at the same time or at a later date to Canada. Ensure that you know the fair market value of these items. You should have at least 2 copies of this list.
  1. You can choose to make several trips to bring your personal or professional items to Canada. Or you may choose to ship them, the choice is yours. The key is to declare your intentions when you first land and to keep a detailed list and have a good plan for dealing with shipment of goods at a later date.
  2. Scan a copy of all important documents and ensure that you store this information in a safe place. If your documents are lost, stolen or destroyed, it is good to have an electronic version to refer to.
  3. Chose a departure date that is memorable to you as you will need to refer to that date on several occasions when completing official documents in Canada.

What to bring on the plane?

  1. Passport
  2. The complete package received from CIC
  3. All official/ important documents
  4. Certified cheque, securities, bonds, stocks, drafts, travellers cheque or cash

The above items should be kept in your handbag or carryon luggage and not left in your check on luggage.

Before you land in Canada, the flight attendant will give you a customs declaration card.  You will need to complete the information accurately.  You will need to record the full address of where you intend to stay.  Pay attention to the section that requires you to declare if you are bringing funds in excess of CAD$10,000;  if you have unaccompanied bags or if you are bringing meat/ meat products, fruits or vegetable.  You are allowed 1.5L of rum. Ensure that you declare everything that you are bringing with you.  You do not have to list the items shipped, but you may refer to the list in hand and provide the detailed list to the CBSA officer.

What to expect at the airport

When you alight from the plane you will be directed to Immigration section at the airport/port of entry.

You should have your passport, declaration card and your Confirmation of Permanent Residence in hand.  Expect the officer to welcome you to Canada and examine your documents to ensure that they are correct. And that they are not expired.  He/ She  will ask you a few verifying questions.  The questions will be similar to those asked in your application for permanent residence.

Usually you are directed to another officer thereafter to complete the landing process.  So expect at least 2 screening/ interviews with a Canadian Border Security Officer.

 Be prepared to answer additional questions such as:

  1. How did you receive your permanent residence?
  2. What was your occupation?
  3. What is your intended occupation?
  4. Who are staying with?
  5. What is your relationship to the person you are staying with?
  6. What is your intended address and telephone number?
  7. How long do you intend to stay in Canada?
  8. Have you been convicted or any serious crime in your home country?
  9. Have you visited any country with any serious diseases within the last 3 months?
  10. Are you suffering from any serious illness?
  11. Have you ever been to Canada before?
  12. If so, when? How long? Were you required to leave?
  13. How much money are you bringing?
  14. How many bags did you bring?
  15. Will you be shipping any other items? Ensure that you have a list of items you plan to return for. It is better to list them and change your mind about bringing them, than to not list them and not able to bring them in duty free at a later date.

Be calm and answer the questions truthfully and clearly.  If all goes well you should be out in a short time.  Relax, these officers are usually kind and welcoming especially  if you are organized and honest.

You can also find out what to do in the first few weeks when you are in Canada by following this link.

( Excerpt from article published in the Jamaican Gleaner : April 20, 2015)