I successfully completed the PR landing requirement at US-Canada land border. The process was smooth and everything got completed in an hour. Thanks to folks on this site for sharing their experience which helped me make this decision.
- Official instruction: The current instruction on site clearly says that " You must be coming to Canada to settle permanently (you cannot come to Canada and leave to go live in another country, even if it’s temporary)". Hence the immigration officer does have some discretion to deny the entry.
At Canadian border: The Canadian border is indeed closed for non-essential visits and when I was entering the border, I was the only one in that 15 minutes period. Officer did ask me why I am coming now when I don’t plan to stay. I also told him I plan to return today itself. He gave me a yellow slip and asked me to park the car and go to the next building.
In Canadian immigration office: 30 mins process and usual questions were asked. Submitted GTF list and they attached my signed CoPR in my passport and told me that it can be used to cross land borders .
At the US borer: I had valid H1B stamped on my passport. He asked me how long I had been in Canada and the purpose of the trip. Once I explained to him that I just took a U turn after completing the PR application, he immediately completed the check and allowed us to enter the US.
I just want to highlight all the points to consider before visiting the border. It might help you plan better.
- At the Canadian border: Immigration officer can assume that your visit is non-essential and ask you to go back to the US. They can also ask you to quarantine for 14 days and ask for 14 days plan. I had planned for 14 days quarantine. I had an airbnb selected but not booked. I had taken a rental car which can be returned in Canada.
- At the US border: Again the US immigration officer can assume that your visit is non-essential and deny entry. Even my employer immigration lawyer recommended me to fly back instead of using US land border as H1B holder being essential can be contested at the border.
- Limbo state: I am not sure if this is a possible scenario but I thought about this as well. In case Canada refused to let me in, and asked me to go back, I would have to go through a US border check (as there is no way to simply turn back to US road). If the US also refused to let me in, then I could get in a limbo state. I felt that this is highly unlikely to happen and hence I was ready to take that risk. As a backup, I had researched some Vancouver immigration firms for assistance.
I wanted to complete my process because the steps involved in the expired CoPR entry are not clear and I feel some uncertainty is involved in it. So I wanted to get this thing done before my CoPR expiry. Canadian immigration officers were very professional and cooperative. Hope this post helps others to make informed decisions.
Disclaimer: This post was aimed to share my own experience. Please do your own research and follow official instructions before making any decision.