Ok guys here it is my landing experience :
At the Atlanta airport I was ask at the kiosk for my Canadian Visa, after the boarding passes we're printed we check the bags and we're asking to show our I-94, I show my I-797 (My H1B paper ) and I was told that I need to show that again. When we land on Dallas, TX. At the moment to board the airplane I was ask to show the form again but this time they detach the I-94 from my H1B form and they keep it.
On the flight they give us a declaration form to fill and sumit to customs at landing.
When we land, we walk to customs and make a line, 2 persons in front of us but we wait almost nothing so when our turn came the officer greeting us with a big smile and ask ...”Good afternoon..wich is the purpose of your visit to Canada?... To live here....(I said) .....Ok Good Welcome to Canada passports please......
He review the passports and stamp the declaration form that we fill on the plane and ask us if we have good to follow, I said yes, then he instruct us to go to inmigration and welcome us again.
On inmigration we wait no more than 5 minutes when a lady call us, she ask again the reason for our visit to Canada and I said I'm doing the landing, she ask for our passports and COPR, she ask if we have any problems with the police before and how much money we bring, I said 25,345 and she said “I'll put $25,000 on the CORP” but she never ask me for any bank statement or other way to proof the funds, the she told us to sign the CORP and she staple the form to our passports, then she ask for a address and she mention that our PR cards will come on the mail in around 60 days, she welcome us again (note 3 times already) and told us to go to customs.
So we went to pickup our luggage and walk to customs, another lady ask for our declaration form that the first officer stamp, then she ask for the list and ask the total amount of both list, (list of good to follow and the list of goods we bring with us) after adding both list she stamp them and gave me back one copy and again welcome us. So as soon we land and go out from the plane and do all the paper work it take 1 hour, remember we're family of 4 with 2 little ones.
The next day we went to service Canada to get our SIN number for each family member, we just show our passport and gave the address that we gave the day before to inmigration, she check our names and again welcome us to Canada, next stop to open the bank account, because I have the funds on RBC Banks I went to the first one closer to home, the lady, (yes hard to believe but all the people we're talking to do anything were women except for the very first officer) open the account for us, she just ask for our SIN and Passport and one address, we don;t gave her any money at all and give us provitional checks and debit cards and again welcome us to Canada. Later on the day I call a 1 800 number and transfer the funds from USA to Canada with no charge and the funds were there inmediatly.
The next day I rent and apartment and they ask me for 3 months of rent in advance because I don't have a job and that's pretty much it...hum...yes the person who rent us the apartment was a woman and again welcome us to Canada.
So on Monday we're going to register us for the health insurance card, change our drivers licenses and take my little one to the school board of Calgary to have her have a English test to enroll her on her school that lucky me is crossing the street, and this test is mandatory to every kid who is not born in Canada even if you born in the USA, rules are rules.
Ok I think I cover everything, next week I'll post the rest of the process.
Good luck to everyone and don't give up, this country is full of blessings. Cheers!
Ok guys this is my Customs Experience:
On Monday the moving company (www.upack.com
) call me to announce that my container was arrive and I need to go to Custom to clear it, they email me the forms and a copy of my list of goods to follow with a bar-code, (when I contract their services one of the requirements for them is to have a copy of my visa, passport and list to of goods to follow).
On Tuesday I went to the customs office with all the info the moving company sent me plus all the passports and the list of goods to follow that they stamp me at the airport.
When we arrive we wait about 5 minutes and (yes you guess another lady) I show the papers that the moving company sent to me and the ones at the airport, she began to sort the papers and ask us if we are planing to bring more goods at the future, we said no, then she gave me a form to fill, mainly this form came with around 20 questions with yes or no for answer, and the question were about if we bring, food, tobacco, arms, meet (including cat or dog food), etc. after signing this form she mainly ask the same questions again to see if we're lying I believe, she also ask about any recently purchase, we don't have anything new but I ask why and she said that anything that we purchase in less that 6 months has to paid import tax.
After she finish to stamp all papers and the release form to the moving company, she send me to the cashier, this (nope it wasn't a lady this time) guy stamp more copies, he keeps one and gave one for me, then return to the officer and she gave us our passports and in all 4 she stamp "No more goods to come" and again she said "Welcome to Canada".
Then we went to the terminal to see our container (about 20 minutes driving) and we just show the release form from customs and that's pretty much it, lucky us that we saw a couple of guys in a truck picking up a mattress in a big truck and we ask if they can bring our stuff too and they agree, so I have already all my stuff at the apartment.
So I close the container on Monday Jan 4 and I have my stuff at home on Jan 12, not bad. :-)
Health insurance and driving license will come later as soon as I do that errand.
Ok this now my Health Insurance Card and Driver License experience:
Here in Alberta the offices of AAA (Alberta Automovil Association) offer the services to register for your health insurance card and driver license, but only to his members, lucky us the lady who receive us she is an active member so we went an ask if we can do it using her membership and they agree.
1.- Health Insurance card: I just fill the form and show our passport w/corp and a copy of the leasing contract, she (again another lady) input the computer and 3 minutes later she told us that the cards will be on our mail in one week.
2.- Drivers License: She ask for our GA drivers license and our driving record, she fill a form and then she told us to go and do the eye test, nothing different that the one we do in GA, after that she gave tha papers to a guy that he finished the process of filling our temporary driver license, taking a picture, (they keep the drivers license from GA) also we paid the fee of $130 CAD for both licenses for 5 years, yes I know more expensive than in the USA, and that was pretty much it, we'll got our official license on the mail also in a week. we got the class 5 license that means we don;t have restrictions, I hear a case of a guy who came from the USA and let his driving license expire and they gave him a class 7 one, means he can't drive alone he need to drive with someone who have a class 5 license for 2 years period, different rules of course different country.
The whole process take about 40 minutes, and yesterday Friday I got on the mail ours SIN (Social Insurance Number) on the mail, so now I complete the process to register and have all the paper I need here, the next step is start hunting for a job, the things here are in a different pace than in Atlanta, here people is more relax and more family oriented, people go home and eat with the family and return later to continue to work. :-) so far super very good this country has treat us.
Questions? please have them I'll do my best to answer them.
Peace! Ok guys, this my personal experience on this first 3 months on Calgary on finding a job:
1.- I start opening and account in Workopolis and Service Canada, also reading the Calgary Herald and The Sun, and I sent my US resume (keep and eye on this I said sent, not SPAM) to the jobs that look interesting to me. I found out that for example in the banks if you apply to all the positions the system will block you for 6 months, so remember..DO NOT SPAM YOUR RESUME!!
2.- On March I enroll to a 3 weeks course on resume writing, interview preparation, cover and thank you letters and business cards, I extra highly recommend this course, they simply change completely my resume and cover letter, also I found out that:
a) 95 to 99% of people coming to Canada even if they have a high degree in Harvard, Germany or the ones you liked, they'll have a hard time to find a job on their field because the lack of Canadian experience.
b) The more certified are you the better, here even the guys who walk dogs need to be certified, so depends on your profession get certified when you get here.
c)Volunteer here is a big thing, you'll get more interviews if they saw that you have volunteer, here is 2 types of that, the informal one and the formal one, this is the want you need to fo because they gave a certified for the hours that you volunteer, also if you volunteer on something related to your career you can add that to your resume and that counts as a Canadian experience.
The institution where I got the course was:http://www.ccis-calgary.ab.ca/
And don't get the name miss lead you, this organization have nothing to do with religion, they talk to everybody regardless of that, they have many ways to help you, like the mentor program, I just enroll on this one and they'll found a professional who will coach me for 4 months on how to get a job in my field, how to gain Canadian experience, etc. and the better part of all is that is free. Also they gave me a list of about 500 links for websites to find jobs on each area like engineering, accountant, etc. great list!
3.- In the last week of the course on CCIS I found out by this organization:http://www.immigrantservicescalgary.ca/
About a job fair by Home Depot, and I went and pass the screen plus 2 more interviews so this is my first job in Canada and my survival job. My CCIS counselor told me to keep looking to a job related to my career and get certified, so also I went to the CGA Association of Alberta and gave them my school grades, in the next 2 weeks they'll told me if I need IQAS or not, also they'll mention the courses I need to take to get my CGA, this can be done in approx. 1 to 2 years, but you don;t have to wait until the end, as soon you become a member you can put that you;re a student in your resume and get more interviews and also is common for the employers to paid for the courses.
So don;t just stick with one association, all of them offer different things, if all of them offer the same the government will shut them down, take advantage of all the wonders that the system offer to you as a new immigrant and don;t lose your focus.
To finish: Be open, shoot high but Don't come with high expectations on it as a quick or easy search it's better to be realistic and be surprise with a good opportunity, because it's possible however most people has to start from scratch and build their self's up, and be patient, remember that you're coming to another country and don;t expect to have the same life style since day one.