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Credit to the original poster – By DSK
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Someone’s Landing Experience
Landed at Toronto on 26th October. Primary applicant with no dependents
I had booked British Airways in the first week of September. It is a decent airline. Good food and staff. Had a 6-hour layover at Heathrow Airport – London, out of which I spent 3 hours in Aspire Lounge at Terminal 5 for free. Guys, most of us do have Credit Cards back in India and almost every good bank credit card also has free complementary ‘Priority Pass’. Of-course one has to apply for it. Please do get these cards made coz they can be extremely useful in long layovers. I got free food, slept in special sleeping pods and had a shower also at the Lounge.
Coming back to flight – choosing the seats is also another crucial issue. Please web check-in in advance coz at airports we really don’t have much of a choice until we want to shell out a couple of extra bucks. I was lucky enough to get/chose the aisle seats for both flights (Delhi to London and further London to Toronto) on the first row near the exit gates. Benefit – ample leg space. Almost all flights have a good in-flight entertainment system. I saw few episodes of Two and a Half Men. But I slept through most of the two flights. Even if you can’t sleep just close your eyes. This is important coz it will take some time for your body to get accustomed to the Canadian sleeping time pattern.
2) Pearson Airport
Landed at Pearson Airport at 4:00 pm. Talking about Declaration card which was handed out to me during the flight. I filled that but it was of no use as once I disembarked the aircraft, I was led straight to the automated Kiosks where the same declaration was done again, but in just 2 minutes. So filling out the declaration card on the plane was of no use. Nevertheless, do fill it coz it can still be asked for.
3) Immigration Clearance
Next went to the Immigration counter. There was no rush and had to stand in line for just 5 minutes. Went to the immigration officer and told him that I am here to do my landing as a new immigrant. He asked about the amount of money I was carrying along with me and other things later on. Then he drew strange markings( standard for them) on the kiosk declaration slip and directed me to special Immigration counter for new immigrants.
4) New Immigrants Counter
Here again, I had to stand in line for approximately 10 minutes. I was asked to go to counter number 2. I went there and the lady officer asked me my purpose of visiting Canada. Told her that I am here to immigrate. The very next question was again – how much money was I carrying along. She then asked me another few standard questions like previous criminal record, address, dependants etcetera. She wrote the answers to these questions on the CoPR and signed it herself and made me sign it as well. The PR card was applied here as well. Note – kindly retain your copy of CoPR even if you get your PR Card.
5) Service Canada Counter
Next, I was asked to go to a Service Canada counter where the Welcome to Canada and other handouts were given. The guy there was super amazing. My SIN was generated in just 2 minutes but I chatted with the guy for approximately 20 minutes. He also gave me tips on the basic things which I would be facing in near future and also how to deal with those. Simply amazing.
6) Baggage Counter
Next, I went collected my baggage. I had 5 suitcases/bags with me. 2 * 23 kgs check-in baggage. One additional check-in bag of 23 kg which I paid for (BA charged me Rs 10630 for it, booked it online) Cabin bags – I had two cabin bags one laptop bag, which had all other things stowed in it. Total weight if that bag was around 11 kgs, which is allowed by BA. BA offers the travelers to take another bag of certain specified dimensions, weighing up to 23 kgs as well. I fully utilized this option and took another 20 kgs in this additional cabin baggage.
7) The CBSA Counter
The baggage reclaim service guys on seeing my E- Kiosk Declaration slip guided me to the special CBSA counters. Here again, there was no rush and was called to the CBSA counter number 2 in just 5 minutes of waiting. The CBSA officials can be cold as they are responsible for ensuring that nothing inadmissible according to Canadian law comes into Canada.
Here I was again asked about the money I was bringing into Canada. The officer noted it down. Then I showed her the Goods Accompanying list which she scrutinized minutely. The handed over the Jewelry appraisal form and Goods to follow list. She stamped both the lists and calculated the total worth of all the items and entered the details into the system as well. Made me sign few documents as well. Kindly note – it is your responsibility to check the information they’ve entered in the forms and into the system as well. Mine had a mistake and promptly pointed out to her for which she apologized and rectified it. I was handed out a system generated form and other stamped documents back to me.
Kindly note it is the prerogative of the CBSA officials to make you open your luggage and check the contents. It is the part of their job to ensure no inadmissible thing comes in. So even if your luggage is asked to be opened for inspection, don’t fret over it. Before packing the luggage go through the CBSA’s websites for rules and regulations regarding things admissible or not admissible in Canada. This will help a lot. I saw a lot of people’s luggage being checked and asked the CBSA lady official if mine was also to be checked she smiled and answered No and that they already know what is in my luggage. They scanned the luggage comprehensively previously. So the in-person scanning is fairly random. The rule is the person who is nervous usually gets called out.
The lady official escorted me out of the CBSA area towards the arrival area of the airport and that’s all folks. Once you reach this area, you are free to sit down for a moment and relax or eat something – whatever. They also have a free phone facility which can be used to call anyone anywhere in the world for free. I used it to call my relatives in Toronto to inform them about my arrival and also my family back home. I couldn’t use WhatsApp or other online calling tools to call using the free wifi service of the airport. Maybe they have a restriction of some kind.
Took a Taxi to Scarborough area, which is around 20 miles from the airport. To take a taxi too one has to stand in a queue. Got a dose of things to be done in a systematic manner at the airport itself. Uber network doesn’t work in the airport so, I had no option other than to take a radio cab. Ask them for a fixed price quotes rather than metered one as it can be costly. My driver was a desi guy and agreed to take me to Scarborough for $59 and waived the extra charge for extra luggage. (Yes, taxi’s are expensive here.)
But the guy was a nice person and if one is comfortable talking with strangers, please make the most out of the opportunity. He told me few do’s and dont’s, which are unwritten and unmentioned anywhere vis-a-vis the people here, transit etc etc. He even gave me his phone number for any future help or assistance for things other than commuting in a taxi.
Finally, I reached my relatives place at 7:45 pm and that’s all folks! Living the Canadian Dream!
Phewww . That was a long one. Good luck to you guys. Make the best of the this great opportunity.
PS: Pardon me for any lexical error as i am still jet lagged and most importantly it is 5:00 AM here. Adapting to Canadian sleeping pattern can take a while!!