As I was mentioning earlier, I completed my Landing yesterday(1st April 2010) at Ambassador Bridge, Detroit-Windsor but the Experience was something I would not relish. Well I had planned everything well in advance on all the documents and arranged them as required , I was infact complimented by the customs officer as very well Organised for getting these done which saved both of us a lot of time, infact my customs clearance including stamping all Goods to accompany list other customs doc etc took a mere 10 mins.
Well let me start from the beginning,
I drove to the Ambassador Bridge post at 5.45 pm, the CBSA person at the gate took all my documents and asked my purpose of visit and I mentioned to complete my Landing for PR.
CBSA : Is this your car
CBSA: So you are Importing the car as well?
myself: Not now as I am leaving back to US after completing my landing
CBSA:If you are leaving back why are you landing now, come back when you are moving for good
myself: I have a job in the US and cannot now right now but my PR Visa is expiring and hence need to land
CBSA: OK, (gives me a Yellow slip)go to the immigration block(pointing to a nearby building) park your car give this slip to an officer there and proceed to the Immigration office inside, submit your papers there, the officer there will take this further
myself: Thanks(I was kind of nervous after this discussion)
After parking my car I was waitingfor a CBSA Officer, an elderly officer who looked like a senior officer came to me,
CBSA: are you being helped sir?
Myself: No, infact I was looking for someone to take this yellow slip and complete my Landing as PR.
CBSA: OK, I can help you with that, is this your car?
CBSA: Where are the import documents? Need the original title as well?
Myself: I am not importing the vehicle now, I am completing my landing and going back to US.
CBSA:but after completing your landing you will become a PR and you cannot drive in Canada with a US plate? You will have to turn back and go immediately, anyways this is what customs will mention to you, but for now pls take all your papers, passport, your valubles from the car lock the vehicle and proceed to the building, there is the immigration on the left and customs on the right as you enter, first finish your immigration and then go to the customs, they will complete your landing process.
Proceeded to the immigration, was waiting and an officer called me, I must tell you that this guy was the best of all CBSA officers I met, he was so curteous as well as informed that from the time I went to the counter to complete the immigration took only 20 mins (saw there were other officers including a lady officer who were haggling other PR's who were waiting, and I could tell that they were not happy and were cursing and swearing at the waiting room.
Myself: Good evening officer
CBSA: Good evening, can I get all the passports of the people along with yours who will be landing today, I will also need the COPR papers?
Myself: gave the documents requested
CBSA: Where are you proceeding from here and can I know how much funds you are carrying?
Myself: I am proceeding to Toronto and will live with my cousin(showed the PR Card request form which I preprinted filled with my cousins address) for a couple of months and I have USD2000 & this is the bank statement for the balance of funds that I will transfer to a Canadian bank later.
CBSA: ok, pls wait I will enter all the details in the system and will call you, you don,t need the PR Card form as this COPR form first page with the photo will be sent and your PR Card will carry this photo, anyways I will take the address from the form you provided and later shread the photocopy, now if you can pls wait till I call for you.
Myself: ok officer, thanks (after about 10 mins called me, very fast, other officers were talking between themselves and on an average took atleast 25-30 to complete this stage)
CBSA: can you pls sign this documents at the places I am showing, pointing to my wife, he said Maam can you sign your papers as well, and then he mentioned to me to sign the papers for my kids on their behalf.
Myself: did everything mentioned, and he asked us to wait again. After 5 mins called me back again.
CBSA:Congratulations, you and your family are PR's of Canada now, welcome, pls take these passports and the copy of COPR forms, you will need these if you need to enter Canada by road before your PR Card arrives which would be approx 5-6 weeks due to the holidays from today to Monday. If you need to fly into Canada pls apply for a Travel document at the nearest Canadian consul to your home. Take all the goods accompanying list and to follow list to the customs they will take care of it.
Myself: Thanks officer, have a nice day
From there went to the customs and got all my Goods to follow list stamped, they took one copy and gave me another copy, he also filled the Personal effects accounting document and stamped the yellow slip given outside and asked me to go to my car and give the slip to the officer there and proceed.
I went outside with all the documents and the yellow slip, here is where from all my problems started.
The guy who came to my car was the same guy who was initially at the gate, he recognized me and said, “so you are going back to the US now right?”
Myself: I am staying for the night at Windsor and will be leaving tomorrow morning as I have driven a long way today and like to take rest before proceeding back.
CBSA: but you told me you are going back today? You can cross over the bridge and stay in Detroit and take rest. You are a PR of Canada now and cannot drive a US Plate vehicle registered in your name in Canada until you complete your import, do you want to import your vehicle now?
Myself: No, although I own the vehicle I need to export it from US before importing into Canada and I don't have any paper work for that to do now. By now he went and called his supervisor who was sitting a couple of feet away from us(Presume he wanted to impress her with his investigations), she came and said that I have to turn back into the US right now.
CBSA(Supervisor): Sir you have 2 options one Import the vehicle now and drive into Canada you have 45 days to change your plates, if you do not want to import now I will enter the details into the system you can still drive into Canada but when you bring this vehicle into Canada for good you will have to pay all the duties which will be a lot, 2nd option drive back to the US and bring again into Canada when you are ready for import, pls note that I am also entering these details into the system and you will be stopped at any port of entry and your vehicle will not be allowed to enter unless you import at that time so don't try to enter through any other port at a later date or time, I am informing you this in advance just in case you don't have a bad situation later.
At this stage I was already tired and had enough of this B** S***. I just wanted to go back to the US as it was getting late.
Myself: Fine I will go back to US now
CBSA(Supervisor): Ok take this white slip(she din't even show me what it was, stapled a white form and struck it in my windshield) show this to the US border agent, I have just mentioned you are returning into US without entering Canada since your vehicle was not going to be imported into Canada.
Myself: ok, Thanks(didn't want to even say this but did not want to get into any further issues)
Drove over the bridge into the US Side and met the CBP Guy at the gate, was a cool guy
CBP: Took the white sheet and our passports and went through and asked me,”so decided to move to Canada for PR? How come you did not get your vehicle exported from US or Imported into Canada?
Myself: explained the entire story of landing and was not prepared to complete the import right now
CBP: ok, are you aware what needs to be done to export your vehicle from US and import into Canada when you want to do it later?
Myself: Yes officer.
CBP: Great, you guys have a nice weekend, have a safe drive(didn't bother to even check the vehicle, which most of the others were going through)
Thus I entered into Detroit exactly 3 hrs after I crossed into Windsor, bad experience.
Now coming to the questions for the seniors Qurox, PMM, Rocky 272727 or any others I have may have missed out,
1) Was the CBSA correct in not letting me enter Canada if I owned a vehicle that was registered in the US after I am a PR of Canada, even though I had the vehicle in the To follow goods list? If so can I enter Canada in a rental car? What would be my chance of refusal to drive a rental car with US plates in Canada in case I decide to go to Canada after a month or 2?
Seniors, pls help me, I am totally confused why CBSA did not allow me to drive a US registered vehicle just because I am now a PR of Canada?
This would help me to understand and plan in case if I need to make a trip at a later date, and what is the best possible solution to this.