After weeks of tearful despedidas and goodbyes, we were off to our greatest adventure both as individuals and as a married couple.
On the 17th of June 2017, we flew from Manila to Toronto via Philippine Airlines. It was an 11 hour flight to Vancouver, with a two hour layover there before the final four hour leg to Toronto. It was really a pleasant experience despite traveling for a total of 17 hours. The only complaint we had was not being allowed to leave the plane during the layover in Vancouver. I would’ve preferred to be in the airport to walk around and maybe grab a bite to eat, but it was interesting to see how the ground crew serviced the plane in between flights.
Once we arrived in Toronto Pearson International Airport, we followed the arrows leading from the plane to immigration. There were no special lines designated for new immigrants, residents or foreigners. It was just all one big line for everyone.
At the end of the line, an airport staff directed us to an immigration counter that was available and I guess that’s where we officially began our landing process. The immigration officer asked for our passports and the customs declaration card and asked if we were both doing our initial landing into Canada. He then made some marks on the declaration card and told us where to go next.
(Note that for the customs declaration card that will be given to you on the plane, you should still put your address in your country of origin).
Airport staff pointed us into a big office where the secondary immigration process will be done. We landed at about 8:00 PM and there were surprisingly only a few other people doing their landings. We were then immediately called by one of the immigration officers and handed her our passports and our Confirmation of Permanent Residence. After going through the documents, we were asked a couple of questions about being convicted of any crime in the past and if we had kids. We answered no to both and she made us sign off on those answers. She also asked what our address was in Canada and we gave her our address in Charlottetown. Lastly, she asked how much money we’re bringing in and just took note of it.
It was all very quick, painless and might I even add, friendly (well, it’s Canada after all). She reminded us of our residency requirements and even advised us on how to be able to travel outside the country for emergencies if needed before the arrival of our PR cards. Finally, she congratulated us for completing our landing and welcomed us into Canada. More or less, it took just 10-15 minutes.
Next we had to claim our bags and off we went to Customs. Since our customs declaration had special markings on them (courtesy of the 1st immigration officer), we were directed to another area of customs reserved for new immigrants and people/bags that require secondary screening. This is where Forms B4 and B677 come into play (read about how to fill up those documents here). We gave both forms to the customs officer, but he didn’t even glance at our list of accompanying goods. What he wanted were just the list of goods to follow and the currency declaration. He wrote some notes on them and after about 5 minutes, asked us to go to the cashier to get a receipt. There was no payment to be made since a new immigrant’s goods to follow are non-taxable. It was just basically documentation that we submitted the forms and to certify which items we will be bringing into Canada on a later date. Please remember to have two copies of the B4 forms and B677 form because the customs officer will keep one. You will need your copy stamped and make sure to bring this along with the receipt you got from the cashier when you’re picking up your goods to follow.
After giving the customs officer one copy of the goods to follow and currency declaration, he walked us to the exit and into our new lives as Canadian Permanent Residents! 🙂
And that completes our landing experience. We’re actually already in Charlottetown right now trying our best to settle in. We’ll try to talk about Toronto and Charlottetown in our next posts, so watch out for those! Moving to Canada will be a daunting task for anyone and If there’s anything you want to ask, feel free to leave a comment below and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can!