Hi Friends & Fellows
i am now in Canada. i have landed day before yesterday at Pearson International. i flew from London Gatwick by Air Transat. here is my experience from beginning to end. you are most welcome to ask me any question and i will be more than happy to answer them. ok, here we go:Few rules and loopholes
- ok, before i start about the pre-landing & landing experience, there is one very important note about the money u take out from the UK. the Customs rule in the UK orders whoever leaving UK and going outside the EU to declare any cash taken by a single person to be declared in a form if carrying more than 10,000 Euro (please note this is not GBP but this is EURO). make sure u declare this amount, otherwise if the Customs in the UK ports find u without this form they might penalize u and make some hassle. the form (Form C9011) is in the following link:http://search2.hmrc.gov.uk/kb5/hmrc/forms/view.page?formid=216&record=LWg0eueTds8
however, if u want to avoid filling this form, u can take the money in ur debit card (debit card money doe not need to be declared). or if u think that u r permanently going out of the UK and has already closed all ur bank accounts in the UK, u can take the Prepaid Travelex Cash Passport Card. In this card u can take any amount u like and u don't have to declare with customs. the good thing about this card is u can withdraw the cash once u r in Canada from any cashpoint and u can withdraw up to 3,000 C$ in one day. the link is below, however u can call Travelex for any query:http://www.cashpassport.com/1/en/uk/
- another thing is that if u r unfortunate like me (where u have to carry lots of luggage like me), u can use a courier to send ur goods to Canada (may be one or two days before ur flight) to ur relative/ friend's address. it takes only 1 day for the goods to go to Canada from UK and they r cheap compared to all the hassle u will suffer at Air Transat's desk for over luggage. now, u can send as many cloths and books (in our case we had lots of study books as we r thinking about getting a Canadian degree) to Canada and they r tax free for new immigrants. u can see the following link and contact them to send the parcel to Canada. they charges 3.70 GBP per kg:http://www.eastendparcel.com/PRE-LANDING
-now, our flight was at 9am. Gatwick Airport was far from the place we lived. hired a cab to go to the airport at 5 in the morning. reached to Gatwick at 6am.
-it was only me & my wife. but as u all know, when u r a family (as opposed to being single), the luggage weight goes through the roof. we had altogether 100 kg between two of us---that's 7 year's of family life in the UK. but Air Transat follows strict luggage policy. no matter how much u request or cry they won't consider anything. their luggage allowance was 20 kg per person for main luggage and 5 kg per person for hand luggage. so, we were only allowed 50 kg for two of us. let me tell u this (in case u don't know) Air Transat charges 11GBP per extra kg of luggage. what i did was a bit of cheating but i had no other way but to take those little things that we thought we will need in Canada and we will feel the pain of spending valuable savings for little things when in Canada we won't have any jobs for first few months. we had 2 of our friends came to see us off. the Air Transat Check in Staffs asked us to reduce the luggage weight by 50kg. i asked my friend to stay out of sight of the Air Transat staffs. our hand luggage was big enough to fit in those little but weighty things. we said ''sorry'' to Air Transat and also told them that we will reduce the weight. took all the stuffs out of the luggage, literally made the main luggage 40 kg for two of us, made the hand luggage 5 kg each, left the extra things with our friends and got the luggages checked in by Air Transat. as u all know, they took our main luggage out of our sight but they always let u hold on to ur hand luggage. we came back to our friends who were waiting with our left stuffs. put them back in to our hand luggage (as i told before the hand luggage was spacious enough). by the time we finish with the luggage problem, it was already 7:50.
-said ''good bye'' to our friends. went to Gate for the boarding and there was no problem with our excess weighted hand luggage
. the plane was not that big but the in flight condition was nice and clean.
-Air Transat's in flight entertainment system and food was really good. the crews were really understanding and helpful. the flight was for around 8 hours.
- if u r flying from UK, just before ur flight reaches the sight of Canadian borders, the Captain will draw ur attention to view Greenland. make sure u see that coz it's lovely---a whole island covered in snow all over it----when u see it, u will feel different.
- before the landing, the crews will hand u over the Customs Declaration card for Canadian Customs (CBSA). make sure u fill this card and keep it unfolded. LANDING
- now, here is the easiest and loveliest part---The Landing Experience.
- Our flight touched the Canadian Soil around 5:30 in the afternoon. just before the landing, we had few snow flakes falling down---it was lovely.
- compared to Heathrow or Gatwick, we felt Pearson was a bit quiter (but hey, who cares).
- we came out of the air craft. the passage towards the Immigration and Customs were very clean, tidy and again very very quite. When u will walk thought this passage u will get a feeling that Canada is really a country built by immigrants. u won't see many white Canadians in the airport passage.
- we walked for about 10 minutes to reach the first border control desk. well, it was no hassle. the person at the desk asked us for the Customs Declaration Card given to us in the flight. we handed it over to her. She asked us if we r coming to Canada for the 1st time and as immigrants. we replied ''yes''. she said ''welcome to Canada'' with a very big
- then she pointed us to the Immigration room which was literally behind her. we went to that room with 7/8 visa officers serving . we went to the visa officer and submitted our COPR forms. please ensure u have got the correct Canadian Address to give to the officer. and also, ensure u do not sign the COPR form before u hand it to the officer. visa officer was really friendly. she asked us about the Canadian address and who was the principal applicant. no question about the funds yet!!!! and no more questions---all quiet. after 5 minutes she told us that everything is done and she welcomed us to Canada! she pointed us to the welcome desk for new immigrants which was attached with the visa section. one important thing, here the visa officer will give u the copy of ur COPR form---make sure u keep this copy safe as ur passports as when go inside Canada and start applying for bank accounts, job, SIN (Social Insurance Number), u will need ur passport and ur COPR copy. without this copy u will face real hardships.
- we went to the welcome desks. the 1st person there welcomed us again to Canada and told us where to find information for new immigrants and then pointed us to the 2nd desk. the person there welcomeds us really cordially to Canada and gave us lots of books and leaflets about Canada, new immigrants, Govt. services. she gave a brand new bag (lot like a ladies bag when u go outside) to keep all those paperworks. Oh, one important thing she told us---when u r in Canada u can dial 211 from ur cell or from any phine to reach services for new immigrants and it's totally free!! i have used this service once after entering Canada and I can tell u they r really friendly.
- after that, we went to luggage area to collect all our luggages. after that just before we were about to exit the luggage area a Customs employee asked us to go though the tunnel where Customs check the luggage for taxes. we were really scared and was thinking that we might have to pay for the CDs and TV that we just brought with us. but we were totally wrong. no hassle here as well. the Customs officer just asked us whether we were new immigrants and were coming for the 1st time to Canada. we said ''yes''. he said ''welcome to Canada'' (we were really surprised to see those people greeting us with real welcome smile in their face---what a lovely place to come). now, here the Customs officer asked us if we had any money with us and this is the 1st time that anyone asked us about the funds. we said how much money we were carrying. also, he asked us if we have sent any goods or if there are any goods to follow. we saiud ''yes'' , we also asked if there were any forms to fill in but he said ''no''. he just asked us when we were expecting the goods. we said ''tomorrow'' . he just took our copy of the COPR form that the visa office returned to us as Proof of Landing. then he told us that we were free to go. no question about jewellery as well. no tax and no silly questions at all.
-we walked through the passage and saw our relatives waiting for us. not only that the beautiful, most welcoming, most wealthy, most friendly, most prosperous, most promising and most of all our new found land was waiting for us.
this is it!!!!! this is Canada!!!! our (may be within a few weeks/ months time it will be yours as well) Canada!!!!