Soft Landing Questions(From US)


Landed in vancouver last sunday.
immigration is so chill and relaxed compared to US.
the line was short. immigration took around 20 minutes.
proof of funds was not asked.
everything went super smooth.
asked me if i had goods to follow. i didnt have one mostly because i don’t have anything significant ill be bringing across the border. i wasn’t sure if i was going to bring my car over but just added it to the list regardless.

applied for SIN next day. that took about 10 minutes.
im spending two weeks just trying out working remotely and exploring the city while im not working.

so far im in love with the city. its very multi cultural and its perfectly livable.
i could see myself living here long term.


Congratulations! We are eyeing Vancouver as well.


I have been living in Toronto from last December '18. Before moving to Toronto, I was in the US for ~5 years. Comparing to the US, I found Canada is lot better in terms of immigration, work culture, colleagues etc. Here, people are very Canadian friendly and they aren’t workaholics. Moreover, it’s more diversified. Just in my meetings, I have people from Itali, South America, New Zealand and UK

For long term, I’d say Toronto, Vancouver and Calgary are nice places to stay.

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I am doing my soft landing in Vancouver and will return back to US in 5 days. I would highly appreciate suggestions on the following:

  1. Apart from SIN, what other official documents should i apply for (Health Card, etc.)

  2. Which bank would you suggest to open account with (in terms of benefits as well as getting credit card mailed to US address and start building history while still in US)

  3. Can i visit local job agencies and submit Resume in person and which one would you recommend

  4. Is it worth renting a car compared to Taxi fares for 5 days. Also, is there a weekly pass i can purchase for public transport?

  5. Which area would you recommend i book my hotel to get the best feel of the city I want to eventually migrate to

  6. Any place you would highly recommend i should visit on my first visit to Vancouver (tourist spots/local market/restaurants/shopping / etc.)

  7. Any red flags/ things i should definitely avoid or be careful of (neighborhoods/ scams/etc.)

  8. Literally anything you wish you knew before your own first/soft landing

I apologize for so many questions and again thank you in advance for all your time and help!

  1. SIN is the only thing thats a must. rest of them can be done anytime.
  2. Im going with RBC (credit card will be mailed to US address and first year there are no fees)
    3)Depends on you.
    4)Depends on where you stay
  3. Vancouver downtown but i had a friend in north vancouver. North vancouver near lonsdale quay market is an excellent place. everything is nearby and walkable. you can take seabus to downtown. i didnt need to rent a car.
  4. east vancouver is sketchy i heard. stay west of gaslamp town. visit stanley park.

Thanks for all the tips! I think i will sign up with RBC as well.


Wonderful, thanks @Bala . The US border agent not knowing auto reval is common is what I have heard and that you have to mention it and show the printout.


I just completed my soft landing at YYZ a few weeks ago after sitting on my CoPR since August. It was nice to have all that time to decide when and how I was going to land. :slight_smile: I’m back in the states now looking for jobs in southern Ontario while continuing my employment here. I did my goods to follow at the time of landing, despite doing a soft landing. I wanted to avoid any hassle down the line when I move later this year.

I landed on a Saturday afternoon. On my customs form, I left the “for visitors” and “for residents” sections blank since I didn’t really know which applied. I forgot to check the “I have unaccompanied goods” box since goods to follow count as unaccompanied goods. The CBSA officer asked why I had done that and I apologized for not realizing that’s what it meant. CBSA seems not to care much about goods accompanying. I had a list ready to go but was only asked about goods to follow, for which I had an excel sheet with all the items I was planning on bringing with me, as the email in karthik’s post above describes. I put a total at the end for everything, which you should do. I had my car on my list and had initially included the value of the car in the total, but the officer advised me that for customs purposes, the car value needs to be excluded. I don’t own any expensive jewelry, but I have a lot of electronics, so I made sure they all had serial numbers listed. The officer looked through my list briefly, filled out a BSF186 for me, generated a receipt for $0 taxes paid, and stamped my passport and CoPR when he was done.

It was a weekend, so I wasn’t able to get my SIN at the airport. Fortunately the place I was staying had a Service Canada right in town, so we went on Monday. I went first thing in the morning and the whole thing took me less than ten minutes. Probably helps that it was a fairly rural location and it had just snowed the night before so people were reluctant to go out. :stuck_out_tongue:

I am waiting until I move for good to open a bank account, exchange my license, etc. My next big project is figuring out how to properly export/import my car and aligning that with the big move.

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Thank you for your detailed explanation. I have few questions. Were you able to apply for your PR card or did the officer say to you that apply when you move here permanently?

About the goods list, Is it okay If I just have the excel sheet with no serial nos. for laptops, gadgets etc. Same thing for goods to follow list (would excel work)? - I am not required to fill out any BSF forms before hand right?

I’m flying early thursday morning from US to YYZ, stay there till Saturday to finish all the documentation process, & then come back to USA. After that, I am planning to visit India in few weeks for a month or two & once my friend mails me the PR card to India, I’ll fly back to Canada.


Yes, I’ve since then been able to link my PR card application to my CIC account. You don’t have to actually apply for a card yourself; the officer will initiate the process when they sign your CoPR. The officer I had asked specifically for an address where I would expect to be in Canada to receive my PR card. I never mentioned that I was returning to the states; all I ever said while going through the process was that I was becoming a PR.

You are not required to fill out a BSF186 before you land, but you have the option to if you are comfortable enough (see “settler’s effects list”). I was not, so I just provided my excel list. The officer used my list as it was and re-stapled everything to the receipt he gave me. Serial numbers are specifically requested, so I would suggest including those. I don’t know how they respond if you don’t have the serial numbers, but I would not chance it for something valuable.

Have fun in India. :slight_smile:

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Hey! @basavanagudi, me and my husband, plan to land in Vancouver in two days. We intend to stay for around 4 days and return. I have a few questions wrt to your landing experience and immigration interview.

  1. What did you tell or planned to tell if the officer asked you your intended number of days in Canada?
  2. Did you have accompanying goods? Did you fill out both those forms/carry an excel sheet with details of what would follow?
  3. Did you carry any funds with you? Do you have to declare the money you have in a US bank account?
  4. On the personal effects document, did you check the settlers box or the visitors box?

Any response would be super helpful.


This is so much useful and detailed information @northern…thank you!

I have a couple of questions - What is applicable for the soft landing - ‘for visitors’ or ‘for residents’? Also, any idea as to whether you need to declare any jewellery on your person, under goods accompanying?

Did you carry any cash? If yes, did you carry Canadian $ or USD?

We are going to Vancouver in two days for our initial landing and any help at this point would be super useful. Thanks!


Hi @Piyaali ,

  1. They did not ask me. had they asked i would have told the truth. two weeks.
  2. Nope. I didnt carry any sheet with me. They asked if i was going to prepare a list and i asked them to add my car and laptop. rest of the stuff i dont care.
  3. i did not carry anything. you dont have to declare the money you have in us bank or anywhere. you should have proof of funds just in case they ask (min 12k for single and probably more for married folks)
  4. i dont remember filling that document.
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When I was filling out my customs form, I actually left both the visitors and residents sections blank because I wasn’t sure. It’s kind of a grey area. I was not asked to correct it at any point, though, and I think 3 different officers looked at it.

I brought like $200 CAD with me and $100 USD (for the return). The officer who was signing my CoPR was concerned when he asked me how much I was carrying, because I asked if he meant cash and I answered honestly when he said yes. He said as of August (when my CoPR was issued) I had xx amount in my funds, and I explained that it was in a bank account that I still had access to and that I could show him my updated PoF if needed. He said he didn’t need to see it and mentioned something about he’ll just put a certain $ amount in the computer and that he just needed to know how much I was bringing with me. I didn’t get the entire picture but I seem to be a PR with a SIN now so…???

Honestly, at least in Toronto, I don’t think they’d ask about jewelry on your person. I could have been wearing a diamond necklace and I don’t think they would have cared. I had a game console and all its games and accessories packed in my bag and they didn’t bat an eye, even though I had a list of goods accompanying prepared. I would still err on the side of caution and have a list with you if you will be wearing/bringing anything valuable, but wouldn’t stress it too much.


So I completed my Soft PR Landing at the Toronto Airport. Here is how my experience went:

  1. As soon as you land at the airport, you’re being asked to go to the Kiosk, the Kiosk prints a receipt after you answer few simple questions about PR/Citizen etc. Then you take that & your passport to the first immigration checkpoint. They check your Visa and Receipt & let you through.

  2. Now you go the Border customs & immigration office room, which was fairly empty when I reached there, there the officer asked for my receipt, CoPR, Passport/Visa. They ask you few questions on what you do ? what is your job experience, How much money are you bringing with you(I was just bringing 1000usd cash & rest I showed him a copy of proof of funds which I was going to transfer later)? etc. The officer asked me on how long are you going to stay? - I said 2-3 months. He said when you come here for sure, then go to the cic website for your PR card & I somehow convinced him that I’m going to stay here until I get my Card even though I wasn’t going to. Therefore, I gave my friends address where I was gonna stay. They signed both CoPR’s, kept one & gave me one & applied for my PR. Time taken :25 mins

  3. The office then points you to go to the service canada area which is right next to it. It took me around 20 mins to get my SIN no.

  4. Now when you exit the office area, you enter to an Immigrant goods checking area where you give an excel list of goods brought right now & goods to follow. They print it in their forms & give a copy of that form to you. Took me around 30 minutes even though I was first in line.

  5. With all done, I went to the closest Bank of Montreal (Bmo bank) to open a checking account since they are the only bank who have a scheme for new residents where you don’t have to pay a monthly charge/(or to keep a min. balance ) to keep your bank account for a year. I carried 1000USD cash & I deposited that into my account. The good thing is that they give you a debit card for your account on the spot itself. Time: 45-60 mins

  6. I had a rental car, so I went to the Service Ontario office in Downtown Toronto as that is the only office in Ontario who can transfer your US Drivers licence to Ontario without you needed to give any road test except the eye test. I had driving history of around 1.5yrs in NY & then around 2yrs in Kentucky. I took my Kentucky driving history record with me, however the office was more concerned to pull out the NY drivers history from his system rather looking at Kentucky’s. Ontario has levels of driving licence G1,G2 & G, each with some restrictions except the G licence. I was lucky to get mine transferred to a Full G licence which will be mailed to me in 4 weeks to Canadian address. Waiting time to the counter:40 mins. Time for processing: 50mins

  7. I stayed at my friend’s place for 2 days, roamed around the city. While coming back to US, the immigration officer looked at my F1 Visa, asked for my I20. He somehow guessed/knew that I was there for Canadian PR. Asked me about my plans after returning back to US etc. No new questions other than what we face all the time.

FYI: Canadians are slow as compared to Americans/Indians in terms of processing work but one thing is for sure that they do their work thoroughly & not half-minded :stuck_out_tongue:


Thank you @Prag

Does anyone else faced this problem where office wasn’t willing to initiate the PR card application on first/soft landing ? This is bit of a concern to me. I’m planning to do mine next month, should I be prepared to convince the officer to get my application started there itself ?

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@Prag, when you transferred your US dl to Ontario G , do you have to relinquish your US DL or you can keep both ?

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Yes, you do have to surrender your US DL.

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Just wondering why would you surrender on a soft landing ? You would need your US DL for rest of your stay in USA, right ? Unless you are surely on USA for a short duration .


Yes, I’m just here for a month & then I’ll be moving to Canada.