Just back from an exhausting 1 week Canada trip, thankfully everything went well as expected.
PR Landing experience -
We (me and my wife) did our PR landing at Peace bridge US-Canada border on 21st May, the border officer asked us couple of questions like length, purpose and place of stay, he then checked our CO-PR document and passport and got us in, he said we are all set and free to go, we had to re-explain him the purpose of our visit and request him to let us complete PR card formalities, it appeared that he misunderstood the purpose of our visit. He handed us a token and told us to go to the immigration office next to the border booth. We waited 1 hour for our turn, the officer called our name and requested for the CO-PRs, passports and an address where we want our PRs to be delivered, then he asked us to sign the CO-PR document in front of him and congratulated us ! He then asked whether we got good to follow list(which we had), we handed over the list and were told to sign on the related forms and then we were all set with all PR formalities, it was a big relief and joyous moment ! We then went to Canadian service center in Toronto downtown and got our SIN.
Sample GTF forms - https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/0B_9sxUTiiwEjN1Mwd3dVckV5dWs
Following experience may be non-related to this forum but I think it’d help folks who are in the same boat
H1B stamping experience -
It was my first H1B stamping, so I was little bit nervous. My appointment was at 8 am on 22nd May at Toronto US consulate, I reached at 7:30 am. There are 3 different counters one needs to visit.
1st Counter - Asked for my DS 160, passport and Canadian immigration document(I forwarded my CO-PR)
2nd Counter - Biometric - took my finger prints and picture
3rd Counter(visa interview) - I was asked for passport, H1B approval notice and Canadian CO-PR. I was asked following questions -
- How long I have been working at current organization
- When did I land in US for the first time
- What was my thesis topic during my masters in US, then VO asked me to explain my thesis (I was surprised on this one) but I think I handled it pretty well.
- Enquired about my Canadian PR, asked about my future plans, whether I plan to stay in US or Canada(Again surprising but perhaps logically expected) - I answered I haven’t figured out yet, I’d advice on being honest about this
- Salary and nature of work at current organization
After all these questions she said the golden words - your visa is approved!
My visa appointment was on Wednesday and they took 3 days to dispatch the passport to Canada post and there was a weekend in between when Canada post is closed, I had to extend my stay by 2 days, which was little frustrating as staying in Toronto is pretty expensive.
TL;DR - The PR landing experience is pretty smooth, all you need is CO-PRs, passports and goods to follow list. Make sure you reach early to avoid any traffic at the border. If you plan to get your H1B stamping done in Canada then make sure you keep some buffer days when planning your return leg, also be ready to get grilled on Canadian PR and future plans questions from US visa officers.