Nice post Vikram,
Some things I’d like to add based on my recent experience.
One of the reasons to give your medical exam after the ITA and not before is that you get more time on your PR visa to do your landing. For me, I gave my medical in Dec 2016, submitted my application in December, but my application got canceled so I had to reapply (ITA + documents) and got my PR in August 2017 which gave me only a few months to do my landing as the PR visa was going to expire in Dec 2017. The PR visa cannot be renewed/extended under any circumstances.
At the port of entry they have kiosks where you will have to select “To Immigrate” as your reason to visit. It will also ask you some basic customs questions, the most important of which is “whether you are bringing > $10,000 into Canada”. If you are, you should select Yes, else select No. You can bring as much $$ as you want tax-free, however you have to declare it if they’re greater than $10,000 (this includes any cash, or cash equivalent such as money orders, travelers checks etc.). Then the machine will automatically take your picture and print out the customs forms. Then they will direct you to secondary immigration where the immigration officer will ask you basic questions and may or may not ask for proof of funds. However, it’s advisable to have ALL the documents that you submitted while applying, on you, just in case they ask for it.
Note that the primary applicant can land alone, or the primary application + secondary applicants can land together but the secondary applicants cannot land before the primary applicant so plan your travels accordingly.
The landing confirmation document, also known as Confirmation of Permanent Residence (CoPR), is THE MOST IMPORTANT document ever! People in Canada have told me that not only is it required while claiming citizenship as your record of landing date, they can ask for it anytime during your lifetime, in case you ever need to prove anything related to your date or landing etc. “Treat it like your birth certificate and don’t lose it” is what people told me.
Most people will land, stay for a few days and then come back to plan their future, same as I did. In this case, it’s better you apply asap for PR Travel Document after returning (you cannot apply for it from within Canada). It’s damn easy. I got mine within a week after submitting the application. You need to do this through the Visa Application Center (VAC). Please visit the Canada VAC website https://www.csc-cvac.com/en-us/selfservice/cvac_application_processing for more details. I got a multiple entry PRTD valid for one year. Note that PR TD is only required for boarding a commercial carrier like plane, train, bus etc. You can drive across the border with your CoPR, however it doesn’t hurt to have PRTD. When I went there second time (via airline) they only checked my PRTD at the port of entry and let me in without questions.
I got an email a couple of months after landing that my “photos were not per specification” so I had to send new photos. This put my PR card application back in the queue and took another 61 days to process This is a common problem as Vikram mentioned. Sometimes they’re too old, sometimes all information is not written on the back per specification etc. So make sure you don’t keep too much time gap between application and landing. Also, sometimes people get married, or have kids after applying but before landing. In this case their “circumstances have changed” and CIC requires you to notify them of such major changes (you will read this in the letter you get when you get your PR visa + CoPR). However, I’m not well-versed in how this process works under such circumstances or if it affects PR status/landing date in any way, so if possible, make life-changing decisions after landing .
Edit: got my PR card today. Note that it took them around 60 days to send me a email saying my photos were not upto spec and then another 60 days or so till I got my card in hand (a friend mailed it to me). So if your photos are not per spec, your PR card application gets put into the back of the queue.