Like many others on this forum, I had a long due dilemma of whether to go for a soft landing or not. I exchanged a couple of emails with IRCC(via a webform) where they clearly responded with whatever was posted on their website i.e. don’t travel if it’s non-essential work. Thanks to wonderful people who shared their experiences in this forum! I finally took a risk of soft-landing. To my luck, it was worth it. I am finally a Canadian PR holder.
I wanted to share my experience here so that it will help others. Before I start please understand, given that IRCC has clearly stated on their website not to make a non-essential trip to Canada, the CBP at Canada port of entry have all rights to return you back without approving your landing. Someone explained it in a better way here: Soft landing experience US-Canada land border - Oct 2020
My COPR was expiring on Dec 3. I followed a suggestion made by someone on this link: Soft Landing at Peace arch crossing, WA on 23rd Oct'20
I planned my itinerary in the exact same manner. Booked a flight for Seattle, WA, took a rental car, and drove to Bellingham WA. I stayed in a hotel in Bellingham for that night just be fresh the next day in the morning. The Peace Arch crossing was 25 mins from my Hotel. I left the hotel at 7 and reached Peace Arch at Canada CBP at 7:25 AM. Although Google map was showing that route as closed until Dec 17, fortunately, it wasn’t. I had carried all the possible documents which I submitted when applying for PR, in case they need to verify.
The officer at the Canada border, took our passports only and asked me simple questions:
- Where do I live?
- Why am I here?
- Am I panning to stay or return back immediately?
- Did I had any covid related symptoms in the last 3 weeks
- Security questions.
After that, he gave us a yellow slip back with our passports, asked us to park in parking spot 3, and then walk back into the building for further assistance.
The staff in that building was very welcoming and often asked us if we are excited about this, or if we want to roam around the building to get the feel before turning back(which they later denied since it will require us to quarantine for 14 days). They took my Passport COPR and did some paperwork after validating the info.
Surprise 1: Although I carried the GTF list they denied to stamp it, claiming that when I actually move to Canada my goods list might have differed and it would make sense to stamp it at that moment.
Surprise 2: I carried my friend’s address who lives in Canada for getting my PR card delivered to them. The officer told that they can’t deliver the card to another’s address and they will instead get it delivered at my address here in the USA.
We were asked to be seated while they completed the paperwork. Overall it took 35 mins inside the building. Once everything was done, the officer called us and greeted us on becoming the PR of Canada, while handing back our passport which had stamped COPR attached to it. They also gave each of the PR holders a mini Canadian flag They informed us that we will receive the new PR card within a couple of months and meanwhile we can use this one-time visa stapled in our passport to travel to Canada.
After that, the officer and her colleague walked us out to show us the direction back to the USA.
AT the US port of entry, I was asked for Passports only.
At this point remember to roll down your (front as well as rear) car window all the way down, so that they can see inside. Officer asked simple questions:
- Where do you live?
- What were you doing in Canada?
- What’s your status in the USA?
- Who do you work for?
The time from us reaching the Candian border and reaching back to US border was 1:20 hrs