My CoPR expires around December 2020 and I am currently in the USA on a stamped H1b. I had to either move permanently or do a soft landing. So had decided to do a soft landing at the land border Peace arch crossing (US- Canada border ).
Experience at Canadian Border:
Arrived at Seattle airport on 23rd Oct 12:10 AM and got a return rental* from Seattle Airport then drove to Bellingham, WA. Stayed the night at Bellingham, WA. The Canadian border is about 20 min drive from Bellingham, WA.
Documents I had carried for Canada:
- Goods to follow
- any declaration
- Address for shipping your PR card.
Arrived at the Peace arch crossing border at about 8:30 AM on 23rd Oct 2020. The officer at the checkpoint had some straight forward questions:
- Purpose of your visit? (get my PR)
- requested my documents (CoPR, Passport)
- Are you planning on staying? (plan to leave immediately after the paperwork)
- and security check questions
- If this my personal car? (to which I said it’s a rental car)
After the above questions were answered he handed over my documents back with a yellow slip, then instructed me to go inside the building where the CBSA officer took my documents and requested me to sit down and wait. In about 20 min officer had finished doing the formalities and said my PR card will be shipped to the address given and my CoPR is valid for re-entry.
I had initially said, I plan to leave immediately because of covid restrictions, so the office walked out of the building with me and helped me take a u-turn and go back to the US border.
I was very transparent about my intent to do a soft landing and return back to the US immediately. So my overall experience at the Canadian border was pleasant.
Time taken from the time of crossing Canada border to returning back to US border: 25 min.
Experience at US Border:
At about 9:00 AM, I arrived at the US border. I had stamped H1b and all documentation were up to date.
The officer requested documents:
- Stamped visa
After checking documents, he requested me to for 2nd round of check and get a new I-94. Had to stay in my car while another officer arrived and 2nd officer had questions like
- purpose of the visit?
- what was I doing in Canada?
- how long do I intend to stay in the US?
After answering the above question officer took my documents for verification inside the building. In about 30 min officer came back requesting a $6 service fee for I-94, gave my credit card since they did not take cash. After completing that transaction, the officer came back with a new I-94 on my passport and allowed me to cross the border.
Time taken to cross the US border was about 45-50 min. The overall experience wasn’t bad, just it took time. Probably they were busy and I was in my city on the same day.
Things to keep in mind:
- Neither at the US or Canadian border, no one talked about essential/non-essential travel.
- While taking rental do mention you are going to cross the border.
- Give only those documents that are asked. They will ask for documentation by themselves.
- Be transparent, they have people coming in all the time. If you are not doing anything wrong, not to be worried about.
- Be well-rested while going to the border, the time taken could vary based on how busy they are. In my case, I was first in line.
- I think, try going at normal morning hours like between 7:30-10:30 AM
All the best!