Immigration can seem daunting, with its mountains of paperwork and uncertainty of timelines, but if you arm yourself with as much information as possible, it will find the process much simpler.
Both Ferne and Nina have personal experience with international moves to and from Canada, both with their own families and for clients, so let them share their wisdom with you.
First, before you do anything else, go to the official Canadian government website on immigration.
Everything you’ll need is there.
Find the answers to frequently asked questions, and search contact details for your closest Canadian consulate. If time is of the essence for you, you can also check average processing times to see how long it might take to get your visa.
You can get some Canadian money from your bank before you enter Canada, so you don’t have to worry about cash machine availability.
Don’t bring plants across the border, both for your own sake – it’s illegal – and for the sake of the Canadian ecosystem they are not allowed.
Always cooperate with a smile. It makes both your life and the border guard’s life so much easier.
Bring a change of clothes in your carry-on luggage, in the unlikely event that your bags decide to take a vacation without you!
Arrange in advance for an airport limousine (Ferne and Nina will be happy to arrange this for you), especially if you’ll be arriving during a busy time of day. Toronto airport limos will agree on a flat fare with you when you book, so you know exactly how much you’ll be paying (tipping is a normal convention and is usually 10-15%).
If you have pets, make sure you speak with the airline beforehand to arrange passage for them. It’s also a good idea to call your destination airport – most likely Pearson – and find out about their animal handling policies.
If possible, try to cross at one of the less busy border crossings. Peace Bridge is lovely and all, but the line-ups can be fierce. Plan a less busy time and day. The weekends are prime crossing times.
Fill up your tank soon before you get to the border, in case you end up idling for a while.
If you have pets, keep them in a crate or a cage while you are being inspected. Make sure to present their papers to the border guard.
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