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  • Comprehensive Guide for Newly Landed Immigrants to Canada

    By gabs9

    I am a newly landed immigrant and had many questions before I landed into Canada and was finding it difficult to get all answers in one place and so thought of writing it down for other newcomers based on my own very current real experience in Canada.

    1.Before you land into Canada by any Airlines, crew would give you the Custom Form which should be filled in by you before you reach immigration counter at Airport. Only 1 form is required to be filled-in per family. You can fill up the form on the plane and keep it ready. It is also better to have a list of gift items with their value in CAD$ that you are bringing in Canada for declaration at the customs. You need to mention it on the form that you are carrying currency worth more than CAD $ 10000 as settlement funds.

    2.You must keep handy the following items before you reach the Immigration counter for each family member:
    Passport with Immigrant Visa stamped and which should be within the validity period;
    Confirmation of Permanent Residence (COPR);
    Custom Form completely filled in (1 Form for whole family);
    Proof of Settlement Fund (TC and Currency) Normally Immigration officer casually ask you to show fund and does not count it to be exact.

    3.Initially you will line up in the general immigration queue where the immigration officer would just look into your Passport and would stamp your Custom form and passport. He will then direct you to immigration office which is towards the right side of the immigration counter.

    4.At the newly landed immigrants counter, you will need to show your Passports, COPR and need to provide a valid mailing address (complete address with ZIP code). Immigration offer would fill in the address on the COPR form and would ask you to sign. With a black pen on the marked space which is at the bottom of the form. Each family member has to sign. their form individually. Immigration officer would also ask you to show settlement fund carried by you and would mark same on the COPR form of the principal applicant.
    After completion, he/she would give you the third carbon copy of the COPR form to you for keeping it safe with you.
    This would complete the PR (Permanent Residence) card formality and card would be sent in mail to your Canadian mailing address within 4-6 weeks.
    If you are returning earlier before picking your PR card, you can do so and people at your local mailing address can make it reach to you in your country.

    5.At the exit point of Immigration office, you will be handed over an information book named: Welcome to Canada What you should know. This is a good book to have a basic orientation about Canada and so go thru it at your convenience back home.
    You will also be given forms to apply for SIN (Social Insurance Number) card and health card and which can be filled later back home.

    6.Next day you can reach the nearest SIN card office to your place to apply for SIN card.
    At the SIN card office, you will have to go with the following things:
    Completed SIN card form;
    COPR form third copy;
    Mailing address in Canada.
    The person at the counter will verify all the documents and would inform you that SIN card would be mailed to you within 3-4 weeks.
    More details about SIN card can be had from the following URL:

    7.Next you can go to open a Bank Account. You can open a bank account in Canada with zero balance. This bank account would help you in getting you an official letter (Bank statement mailed to your local address in Canada) which will be useful to show as proof of your residence. Try to find details about all kind of bank account and any hidden clause like Minimum balance, withdrawal charges etc..

    8.If you are arriving in Ontario State, you will not be provided health coverage for first 90 days and so you must carry your Overseas Mediclaim from India for that period. You can also buy Medical coverage in Canada for that period but that might be costly for you.
    Next, You can go for applying for a Health Card. You need to carry the following things:
    Completed Health card form;
    COPR form third copy;
    Proof of address (Bank statement / some other public office received mail, etc.)
    More details about Health card can be had from the following URL:

    9.Next, you can take some driving lessons form some private driving school and then apply for a driving license. You may need to have the following documents to apply for a driving license:
    COPR form third copy;
    Proof of address (Bank statement / some other public office received mail, etc.);
    Driving license from your home country - It is better to carry an International driving license from your home country.

    More details about Driving License can be had from the following URL:

    10.Commuting in Canada: For the first few days to travel within Canada, it is better to commute thru Bus/Trams/Subway train and for which you can buy a daily / weekly / monthly pass.
    If you wish to buy daily tickets on the TTC bus, you have to tender exact change. The fare is CAD $ 2.75 per person.
    You can buy these passes from the Subway stations. A weekly pass in Toronto costs about CAD $ 30 and provides you unlimited travel for 1 week. The weekly pass validity starts from every Monday and ends on subsequent Sunday and so please buy it accordingly for maximum use. This pass is transferable and so you can plan trips accordingly to save money for friends and family. You can check more details at the following website for travel within Toronto:

    11.Finding your lost contacts in Canada: You can use the following website to find lost contacts in Canada by just putting their first and last names:

    12.No contacts in Canada?: If you have no contacts in Canada, it is no problem as you can look for a guest house which will charge you a reasonable amount and can also arrange your pick-up at the Airport. One such Guest house address is as follows:

    The useful links in this website can provide almost all important information links related to official websites (SIN /Health/ Driving license, etc.), career information and job agents.

    This guest house is run by very professional Chinese couples and they are really very helpful for anything. This guest house is located in east side of Toronto and is very well connected. Walmart, No Frills and some other shops are located in Agincourt Mall which is just 5 minutes walk from the guest house. You can find almost all everyday use stuff in this mall.

    You can also give their Guest house address as your mailing address and they can mail it back to you at your home country if you have already returned.

    It would be a good idea to bring some basic utensils with you for making Tea, Rice and vegetables and some cutleries (plates, spoon etc.) as guest house do provide these utensils but they are shared and if you are pure vegetarians, you might have some issues with sharing those utensils. You can bring some spices from back home for first few days. Otherwise, these are also readily available in any Indian store but it will cost you in CAD $.

    13.Cheap Calling Cards: If you wish to make any call back home, you can do so by buying a local calling card: TOP10 etc. which is easily available in any store run by Indian, Pakistanis, Bangladeshi, etc.( There is one in Agincourt mall).This card costs CAD $ 2.5 and you can make calls for about 30-35 minutes with it to India.
    If you make calls using this number, It does not display any number and so it might be possible that your relatives in US might not pick or answer these calls as it shows Caller Unknown and so best way is to call and say your name first rather than asking: Is it Mr. ., etc..

    14.Validation of International Academic Credentials: If you are educated outside Canada, it will be a good idea to get your Academic credentials validated by a Canadian organization for employment and further education. WES is one such organization and its URL is:

    15.Should / Should not you quit your job in home country? This is a a difficult question to answer but it is always better to take leave from your present employer for about 1 month to assess if your experience would count in Canada or not. Most of my friends told me that experience earned abroad is not counted here and we have to start all over again from scratch. I guess it would be better for people who are at Managerial levels in India to not to quit the job and come over here as it could pose a great risk of career and some frustration.
    I guess it would be better for people at managerial levels to earn some international certifications so that their chance for getting the job gets better without a compromise on the position to a greater level.
    If you are ready to start afresh, there would definitely be opportunities provided you have that risk appetite.

    !! WELCOME TO CANADA A very beautiful and safe country which takes care of its citizens very well !!


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