Soft Landing Questions(From US)

Firstly, thanks for this website and its members- it answered all my doubts regarding applying for PR. I have gotten my PPR for me my wife and my child. We live in the US and our medicals expire in June 2019. We are looking to do a soft landing before that and return back to the US. Below are my questions.

  1. We plan to return almost immediately and have no one in canada to send our PR cards to. From what I have read, that’s ok and we ll just have to either land by car or get a PRTD for our eventual settlement move. Any concerns with this? Or is this fairly normal.
  2. As we don’t plan to settle in canada on our soft landing do we still have to produce a goods to follow list? I have seen conflicting information regarding the same.
  3. We plan to move a year or so after(finding jobs, selling house in US etc) Is it ok to be upfront to the immigration officer about that?
  4. I am on a H1b in the US- any other gotchas? (around visa status, re-entry, taxes etc)

I have similar questions, so it would be good to know about it if someone has gone through with this

  1. Fairly Normal. Try to find someone in Canada; will make things easier if you have the PR card.
  2. No. Only accompanying is needed if not moving, although if you wish you can get goods to follow done now.
  3. NO. Only answer what is asked. If they ask you say you will move there as soon as you wrap up things in the US; this is normal.
  4. If you’re landing in Toronto and coming back from there, Toronto as a US CBP pre-clearance (so immigration/customs to US happens in Toronto itself). Here. and any other airport for that matter, things will be same as entering the US from anywhere. I haven’t faced any issues at PoE.

Thanks, that’s helpful. Especially relieved about the US CBP pre clearance. That will help skip the insane lines at sfo.

There may/may not be a line at pre-clearance, depending on when your flight leaves. Arriving early always helps.

  1. I did a soft landing and didn’t have a goods to follow list. When I came back with my goods after 6 months, I was told it is not possible to do that process except your first landing. I talked with multiple officers at Toronto airport and at the custom offices for vehicle import as well (got my vehicle separately from the US). I was told at the airport that they allow 24 hours in case of some emergency, (eg. someone got sick at landing and can come back the next day to file the document.) If the goods to follow list is not submitted at the time of first landing then it is the officer’s call on whether they can allow no taxes when you are getting your stuff.
    I and a couple of friends I know from the US missed submitting the list and got lucky when we came in later. However, if you have time and know roughly what to bring then it will be better to be sure and not take chance on the officer when you come back later. :slight_smile:

  2. If you are coming via the airport you will any way mention about your travel plans in the immigration document. Upon asked by the officer how I plan to get my PR card, I had told him that I will discuss with my attorney to extend the stay to get the PR card.

  3. Remember to declare any funds you are taking back. I had some funds in form of traveler’s check as proof of funds for initial landing and had to declare the same and fill up extra documents as it was more than 10k USD. Please consider arriving early at Toronto airport as all the US entry related formalities will be done here.


For Q.1 – I have also heard folks do the UPS mailbox option when you absolutely have no friends/families who can receive the card for you. The UPS service can send the contents of your box directly to you anywhere in the world.

We are at least a few months or a year away from doing any of this (considering that we are just getting our application submitted post-ITA). Would be interested to hear from anyone who availed of the UPS option and their experiences with it.

Thanks for the insight. Your point 1. was good to know for future travelers.

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I did a soft landing recently. I was in Canada for a couple of days and came back to US. My H1B visa had expired but was able to enter using the “automatic revalidation” rule.

  1. I took the goods to follow list since I read online that I cannot submit it later. I had pictures of all the jewelry I would be taking. I was worried that I didn’t have the serial number of some of my electronic devices (laptop, cell phones etc.). But the customs official didn’t seem to be concerned about the serial numbers.

  2. While returning, the US customs office asked me to provide all the previous I797 H1B approval forms since my visa expired in order for me to use “automatic revalidation”. Other than that, the reentry was smooth.


Hello Guys,

I just got my CoPR & Canadian Visa this week. I’m currently in USA, working on F1/OPT. I’m planning to do a soft-landing in Ontario this weekend, either by flight or by Car. I’m planning to come back in 2days & for the PR, I will give my friend’s address who stays in Canada & he will courier me once he gets it. I have few questions if you can answer them:

  1. What all documents are needed to carry with you when you’re going there first time?
  2. How much time does the PR card take once applied?
  3. Is it wise to give Goods to follow list now itself?
  4. As I’m looking to go for 2 days, I will be hardly carrying any money as I have US credit cards, so will it work if I just show them my financial proof of US bank & tell them I’ll carry money/transfer with me once I’m moving permanently ?
  5. Also, can you provide me with list of things to complete once you land there for first time? like (PR Card application, SIN no., opening a bank account (which one though?)etc.)

Thank you everyone for helping each other out.

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Thanks for sharing your experience,
Did you drive your own vehicle or rental into Canada during landing??
Also, are pictures of all the goods mandatory??

  1. Carry all the documents you applied with for the PR, for the landing. Especially the proof of funds (make sure they have atleast the min required balance in case they ask for it). And your US immigration documents obviously, to come back.
  2. 2 months give or take. 4, if your photos are not valid and have to re-send them.
  3. Yes! Someone else mentioned on this forum that the goods of list brought during the actual moving process was not accepted as they said it had to be done during the first landing itself.
  4. Completely fine. Show only what is asked during the landing interview.
  5. PR card application happens during landing. SIN number has to applied in “Service Canada” office either at airport, or one closest to your accommodation. Check for hours of operation. Bank account should take no more than few hours. Look for cheapest rates in terms of savings account, credit card fees etc.

Thanks a lot! Although I’m seeing in some forums, that the officer at the Canadian border doesn’t allow you to apply for PR Card because she knows that you’re only here for 2 days etc.?

I would like to know on how to get this done. Should I just tell him/her that I’m going to lease an apartment with my friend who stays in Canada & eventually move everything once I’m done with quitting my job & that PR card is necessary for me.

Regarding the goods to follow list - when I did my settlement landing a few months after the first landing, the officer was initially reluctant, but allowed me to get the form stamped after I showed him an email from the CBSA. Attaching the original text of the email - I suggest that you contact the CBSA as well, ( ), in case you don’t have a goods to follow before your first landing. ( preferably contact them and get a reply before you land, just in case rules change )

Original response from the CBSA ->
“Clarification on Memorandum D2-2-1, #9 and #10

A settler describes all who enter Canada with the intention of establishing a residence for the first time and for a period of not less than 12 months. Persons entering Canada to become Permanent Residents without the intention of residing immediately in Canada are not considered Settlers to Canada since they do not have any intention of remaining in Canada at that time, and will live outside Canada for an undetermined period of time. Therefore, under customs legislation, these persons are considered visitors to Canada, even if they are Permanent Residents for immigration purposes.

Before you settle in Canada, you must prepare two copies of a list, preferably typed, detailing all household and personal goods you are bringing into the country. Your list should describe the goods, giving such details as the value, make, model, and serial number of each item, particularly high-value items. Please note that we require the current value of goods, not the replacement value. The list should be divided into two parts, showing which items are accompanying the owner at the time of arrival and which items are to arrive at a later date as “goods to follow.”

For general household items such as books or clothing, a group listing and overall value is sufficient (e.g., kitchen utensils – $000). Since jewellery is difficult to describe accurately, it is best to use the wording from your insurance policy or jeweller’s appraisal and to include photographs that have been dated and signed by the jeweller or a gemologist. This information makes it easier to identify the jewellery when you first enter Canada, and later if you return from a trip abroad with this jewellery.

When you arrive in Canada you will have to give your list of goods to the border services officer, even if you do not have the goods with you at the time. Based on the list of goods you submit the officer will complete Form B4 or BSF186, Personal Effects Accounting Document , for you, assign a file number to your B4 or BSF186 form, and give you a copy of the completed form as a receipt. You will need to present your copy of the form to claim free importation of your unaccompanied goods when they arrive.

Memorandum D2-2-1, Settlers’ Effects - Tariff Item No. 9807.00.00 , provides information about the B4 or BSF186 forms for people settling in Canada. It can be found at:

Should you require additional assistance with your inquiry, we recommend that you contact the Border Information Service (BIS). You can access the BIS line free of charge throughout Canada by calling 1-800-461-9999. If you are calling from outside Canada, you can access the BIS line by calling either 204-983-3500 or 506-636-5064 (long-distance charges will apply). If you call during regular business hours (8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Monday to Friday, except holidays), you can speak to an officer by pressing “0” at any time after you have made a selection of either English or French.

Thank you for contacting the Canada Border Services Agency.


Thanks @karthik.kannappan.k for the detailed response! I did get a similar response from CBSA saying that GTF is only required when landing as a settler (as defined in the memo).

My application is still in process. But I want to plan my soft landing. I have my wife and a kid with our medicals due to expire in second week of December 2019.
Please provide your suggestion how should I plan for soft landing.

Me: F1 status studying doctorate and working on CPT. F1 visa expired in 2018 from my masters. My company is applying for my H1b visa. I am hoping to use automatic revalidation.
My wife: Currently on F1 status but has F2 visa stamped as she initially visited US as F2 dependent. _Will she be eligible for automatic revalidation? _
My kid: My kid is a US citizen.

Options I could think of:

  1. Use automatic revalidation option (Are we both eligible? If so, is it a safe option?)
  2. I and my wife go for stamping in Canada (Both for fresh F1 stamping)
  3. If I get my H1b processing is completed (I might need H1b stamping and F1 for my wife)
  4. Go to India for stamping. If something goes wrong, then plan to move to Canada directly.
  5. Leave US permanently and go to Canada directly with my goods

I know there are many permutations here, and thats why I need help here.

AFAIK, you’re perfectly eligible for AVR. Not so positive about your wife’s situation unfortunately as her status has been F1 and her visa was F2. She won’t be able to re-enter as an F1 as she doesn’t have F1 visa.

This means USCIS had changed her status from F2 to F1 after which she must have started going to school (please correct me if this is wrong). Based on this, she won’t be able to avail AVR facility with her expired F2 visa.

Thanks for sharing. I too have an expired H1B and have a I797 of current employer who is a vendor-client type. I am planning to do the soft landing in Windsor, ON via Detroit bridge. I have a total 6 I797s since 2011. I suppose I will carry all 6 with me to be safe! The company lawyer said automatic revalidation should go smooth. Can you please list the other questions the US border officer asked? Thanks!

In 2013 a good friend was in a similar situation where he was on F1 OPT and was allowed back in Detroit from Windsor by car but he was taken to their interviewing area where he waited for a while and then was interviewed and finally allowed in. Your wife is most likely not going to be able to avail the automatic revalidation. You should definitely ask a good lawyer about this for sure to understand risk.

Some additional details.

  1. I flew to Canada and did the landing at the airport. I am not sure about driving.

  2. When I was there, it heavily snowed. I cancelled my rental reservation and used Uber. The Uber charges are reasonable.

  3. The US border agent was initially confused about my expired visa. After I mentioned “automatic revalidation”, he called his supervisor to confirm the procedure. The only questions he asked me were a) Have I traveled outside the US after my visa expired ? I said no. b) Did I maintain valid status between now and when my visa stamp expired and do I have the I797 approval forms that prove my legal status during that period ? I said yes and after he checked the I797’s, he let me in. It would be worthwhile to take a printout from the state department website regarding automatic revalidation.

  4. I had a copy of my employment verification letter and 2 months of pay stubs with me even though I wasn’t asked for it. My lawyer told me to have it.

  5. I had snow boots and snow pants and they were handy for the weather.

  6. I think pictures are mandatory only for jewels. The Canadian customs agent specifically asked for it. They didn’t ask for pictures of other stuff (xbox, laptop etc.). It was merely a cursory look.

  7. I applied for SIN at 9.00 PM at my airport since the service canada office was open.