Hi, Finally, your years of planning and hard work paid off and you got your COPR. Congratulations!!! Now, you must be excited to see your dream come true and eager to move to your final destination. You must be reading forums, searching in internet or talking to friends in Canada to plan your next big step. If you are a family person and planning to move with family then definitely you need to plan your transition more carefully. People and Govt. are very helpful here and you’ll find great assistance to settle down. So no worries, you made right decision and you will do good Recently, I moved with family to Regina, Saskatchewan thru SINP program and would like to provide advice based on our experiences. Hope this will be helpful to those who are planning to move to Canada. If you are planning for soft landing then some of the advice will not be applicable to you so feel free to ignore them. 1- You can land in Canada just before expiry of COPR. However, I would strongly recommend to don’t wait for last minute to land. It is better to land at least 15 days before expiry of COPR. Following are few reasons: I. Private institutions (e.g. bank) may deny their services if COPR is expired and ask you to produce valid residency status. PR card may take 50-60 days if everything goes well. Change in address or photo request will cause further delay in getting PR card. II. Govt. institutions may take additional time to provide the services (photo ID card, Driver license, medical/health card etc.) as they need to verify your residence status with CIC before issuing any document. CIC will not expedite your PR card processing or issue any letter in this scenario so calling CIC will not help. III. If you can’t come in well before COPR expiry date then just be mentally prepared that things might be delayed but eventually you’ll get the services. So no need to be panic. Make your transition fun and enjoy the time. IV. Make sure you have at least 4 hrs of layover to connecting flight as immigration may take 2-3 hours and you may miss your next flight. General flow is: Fill immigration/custom form(in flight)à Collect luggage àClear customs à Go to immigration à Wait for PR landing process completion à Get COPR signed and stamped à Go to next flight (in case you have connecting flight). Your next flight may not be in same terminal or port à Check-in your bags (assuming your bags have checking tags for final destination)à Go thru securityà on board to final destination. It is simple process but time taking so just relax and explore things around you. V. No need to say - carry cash, multi currency card with decent balance on it. VI. Have a scanned copy of all the documents, just in case. VII. Get your old driver license(s) and driving history records VIII. Get your car insurance history records IX. Don’t bring anything which may cause problem in custom so please go thru border security website for more detail. You can find everything here so just focus on initial few days supplies. So don’t put too much pressure on you and don’t compromise your kid’s favorite toys with house hold stuff. 2- Once you land, do following things in given sequence: I. Get SIN number for all adults (you can delay for minor as it is needed only if you will be saving money for education and looking for Govt aid). SIN will be asked in most of the places. You may get SIN during immigration (depend on Airport, week day and crowd) but if not then visit Canada service center in your city. Make sure always carry your COPR, passport, kids birth certificate, bank statement etc. II. Get phone connection. Mobile services are costly here and vary from one province to another. Keep in mind, initially you need a really good plan and later you can change it to meet your minimum requirement. E.g. data plan to access internet, Google maps, bus routes, searching apartment, calling job consultant etc. III. Buy monthly transit/bus pass if you are not staying in walkable distance from the places where you’ll be visiting frequently in first month. IV. Open bank account or activate it in case you have already opened before landing. You need access to money as soon as possible. Most of the time, bank gives appointment to activate/open bank account. If appointment is not available in few days then ask for appointment in other branch. It’d be wise if you can book an appointment from you home country before landing. i. Clearly understand terms and condition of your bank account as banking is costly here and you need to pay all kind of fees which you may have never experienced. ii. Apply for credit card as well. Apply separate credit (not add-on) for your spouse as credit history is very critical here and you need good credit history to get the services which includes even getting rental apartment. iii. Make sure your spouse is joint account holder or open a separate account for her as most of the Govt. benefits are credited in kid’s mother bank account. iv. If you are depositing more than 10,000 CAD in single transaction then bank may ask you to prove that money belongs to you. There are Govt. laws which mandate bank to prevent money laundering. So bring all the evidences e.g. source bank account statement showing your name, address and the amount you transferred etc. 3- Find an apartment or home. Before start looking for an apartment/house, list down your must meet requirements and plan accordingly e.g. security, school, commute, grocery store, public transport, lease term, furnished/unfurnished etc. I. It is better to have 15 days temporary arrangement to stay. Finding right apartment may take longer than you anticipated and you don’t want to keep changing hotels in between. II. Better to call the leasing company and walk-in to their offices. Don’t depend much on email communication. It might be hard to get month-on-month lease so plan accordingly. You will give this address everywhere so changing home would be challenging and costly too. III. If you are doing lease transfer then be clear on apartment condition and security deposit. You don’t want to pay for mess created by previous owner. IV. Once you finalized the place, must sign lease immediately and get a copy of lease agreement. Don’t wait for move-in. This will be your one of address proof. V. Update new address in CIC so that you’ll get you PR card in your address VI. Update bank with your new address (if applicable) and get void cheque /statement with bank seal and sign. This will be your second address proof. Most of the places, two address proofs will be required. VII. Apply for internet services in your apartment as it may take few days to start the services. Till that time, you have to use your mobile data plan. You are lucky if internet is included in your rental. 4- Visit Open Door Society in your city. They offer wide range of services at no cost to you and they are very resourceful. This will provide platform to meet with new comers as well and build your own network. Following are most common services offered at Open Door: I. Job search II. Resume and cover letter building III. Many trainings including English language assessment IV. Credential assessment V. Kids school admission VI. Child benefit application filing VII. Volunteer work opportunities 5- Once you have two pieces of address proof then apply for following things: I. Health/Medical card : If possible apply in-person. It takes minimum 30 days to get your card. Please keep in mind, you have to pay for medical expenses until you get medical card. You may get reimbursement of your medical expenses. Please ask health office or look in their website for more detail. Please note, medical is not completely free (e.g. prescription, dental, eye glasses are not free). So please understand the benefits clearly. Once you get your health card, find and family doctor and register yourself with him. II. State ID card or driver license: Apply for yourself and your spouse. If you have valid DL from USA/Europe and some other countries (check province website), then you can get DL without test. You may need to provide driving history record. Also note, your car insurance history records may help you to get cheaper car insurance. III. Kid school admission: Open door will help you on this process. Your kids may go thru screening/test to understand where they stand with respect to Canadian schooling system and especially english language proficiency. Please note, it has no impact on school admission or the class/grade in which they will go. School wants to know if your child needs assistance in any specific area. So don’t put pressure on your kid to prepare for test. IV. Child benefits: Here Govt. provides financial assistance to families with kids. Open door will help you on this process. 6- All these things take around 2-3 weeks so you will be very busy in your initial few days. Once you are done with these initial arrangements then you are almost settled and then toughest part starts – getting a job. I’ll share my experience soon on this. 7- I strongly suggest you to engage with society and learn and respect the local culture which will be vital in your transition. Few tips: I. Join your local library II. Go to a park or fair or any social gathering/festival. You can get flyers in library. III. Give back to society – volunteering, freelancer etc. 8- For any doubt or help, seek advice from Open Door Society. They will be happy to help you. Feel free to ask any question. I’ll be happy to help you.