Soft landing + AVR experience @Windsor POE (Detroit-Windsor Tunnel) - Sep 18,2021

Thanks for this amazing community which gave me knowledge & confidence to do my soft landing. Now it’s my turn to share.
I and my wife both are on H1B. Both of our visas were expired (mine- H1B , wife’s -H4. she got H1B in 2020 and never had H1B visa on her passport). We have valid I797. We have a baby(US citizen) who was born this year and not on our PR. Both of us live & work in Detroit. We gave Covid test on Wednesday Sep 15,2021 @CVS and received results on Friday Sep 16,2021. Filled details in ArriveCAN app on Friday and got the receipt. We decided to complete Soft landing on Saturday Sep 18,2021 early morning and reached tunnel around 9:00 AM. Whole process took 2 hrs ( Soft landing on Canada-side + AVR on US-side) for us.

Documents carried -

  • COPR
  • Covid Test Results
  • Covid vaccination cards
  • Goods to follow list
  • Passports (Old & new)
  • Vehicle Title (Since I’ve my car in GTF list)
  • ArriveCAN digital receipt
  • Supporting docs ( Medicals, IELTS scores , PCC etc)
  • I-797 approvals (Current & old)
  • Payslips (recent 3 slips), ID cards

Canadian Border
Canadian process was really smooth. I will post just summary and main questions-

  • [1st officer] Why did you wait so long to complete landing? (Context - Our COPR is expiring on Sep 24,2021. ) Ans- I told him because of COVID and travel restrictions I wasn’t sure.
  • We were guided to close-by building where we were told to park car in a parking -spot and wait.
  • [2nd officer] asked why we are not permanently moving? I told him I am planning to move by Dec and am searching for job. Took our COPR, Goods-to-follow list, Passports, Canadian address and went in side.
  • Came back after around 20 mins. Made us sign on COPR and other docs and again went inside to get back our Passports
  • Told us our PR card will be sent to Canadian address which I gave
  • Surprisingly we didn’t even get down of our car for the whole time. Officers came and took required docs during the whole process

US Border
We took a U turn after completing Soft landing and drove towards US.

  • [1st officer] Asked us our passports and details about authorization to enter US. Handed him our passports and told him we are on H1B. I mentioned that our visas on passports are expired. He checked our passports and gave yellow slip. Pointed us towards Customs & Immigration building and officers were there pointing to a parking spot where we should park our car. They asked us to leave all our electronic devices in the car and go into the building.
  • Inside this building, setup is like VAC centers in India. They asked us to sit in hall and told they will call us.
  • [2nd officer] Since me & my wife both are H1B 2nd officer told us she will call us 1-by-1. We went one after another gave our passports, I797s. Took all of our 10 finger-prints. She [2nd officer] verified/filled our details in computer for around 20-30 mins. After that she gave our passports back and stamped our passports with US entry stamp. She mentioned they were not handing paper I94s like before now and I have to check online or can tear I94 in I797 and use it.
  • We went back to our car where it was parked. Officers over there have completely checked our car and said it is ready.
  • I asked them directions for exit and made our way back into Detroit, US.

I felt process at Windsor POE is really smooth both at Canadian border & US border. I hope this helps and gives confidence to people who are thinking of doing soft-landing.