Gaining Permanent Residence in Canada

Advertisement: Its important to have a good immigration attorney when attempting to become a legal citizen of a particular country. For all of your other attorney needs when you move like a banking lawyer check us out.

I've decided to reorganise this page to make it more useful. The original Immigration Diary can be found here.

I often considered the idea of emigrating to Canada, and originally wanted to live in BC. I didn't start thinking seriously about it until January 1999, when I decided I wanted to be with my Canadian girlfriend in Montreal.

This page is the result of my immigration process, and hopefully provides useful information for any potential immigrants. It is broken down into the following sections.

DISCLAIMER: I am not a lawyer, or an immigration expert, the following information is purely from my own personal experience. Seek professional advice if your case is not straight forward.

General immigration info

Here are some useful sources of information for emigration to Canada:

This is the paperwork you will need for your application: Once your application is processed, you will receive forms for your medical examination. You will be provided with a list of recognised doctors. Here is what happened on my medical exam:

First my weight was measured, and I was given an eye test (with my glasses on). From there I was ushered into the radiography room for my chest x-ray, and then into the consultancy room for my interview with the doctor. He put me at ease and asked me all the questions on the form, as well as some small talk to check that I had all my faculties. He then proceeded to prod and poke me in various places while I did some heavy breathing. At the end of all that, he wrote 'Fit and healthy male' on the back of the medical form, which was great to see.

Finally I was asked to provide a urine sample, and a nurse took a blood sample. They told me the results would be sent off within 4 days.

My interview was waived, so I can't offer any advice on that area.

Information specific to moving to Quebec

Quebec has it's own immigration process. If you are planning on landing in Quebec, you must have a Certificate of Selection, before you can apply for federal landed resident status. Quebec Immigration is well worth visiting. Unfortunately most of the site is in French, but my limited French, and the Altavista Babel Fish helped a lot. Here you can get the forms for the preliminary application questionnaire: You should also contact your previous employers to get references. You will need them. If your preliminary questionnaire is approved, you will receive an application kit. It will be in French, so be ready to translate. You will need to provide the following in your application: I've webbed my translation of the application form here. Apparently the New York office is the fastest, so send it there, but be prepared to explain why you sent it there!

My experiences

My immigration process went something like this: On 19th October 1999, I went to Canada to go through the landing process. Here's how it went:

My plane landed at Montreal Dorval airport in the middle of the evening. After the usual long walk, I arrived at passport control, and handed over my passport and all the forms. The lady there checked my passport and then sent me into the Immigration office. There was no queue, so I went straight up to the counter and was greeted by a friendly man. He separated the various parts of my visa, and stapled my copy into my passport. He then directed me to go left into the customs office, then left again into Quebec Immigration. As I left the counter he welcomed me to Canada.

I missed the customs office completely, and ended up in Quebec Immigration, where a man, after establishing that I didn't speak french, arranged a meeting with an immigration official for the next day. He also gave me a pack containing literature about living in Quebec, and welcomed me to the province.

I wandered back the way I had come, and eventually found the customs office. I was ushered into a small room containing one desk, and asked to take a seat. After entering some data into the computer, the customs official asked me what goods I had with me, and what I was having shipped. I gave him the lists I had prepared before leaving England, which he seemed happy with. He stamped them both, fed the value of my goods into the computer, and printed off a goods receipt, which I will need to bring with me when my goods arrive at customs. He also gave me some customs literature, and welcomed me to Canada.

All that took no more than 15 minutes, then I was out into the baggage reclaim area, slightly dazed, and apparently a Canadian permanent resident. After collecting my luggage, I went out to be greeted by Jen, who had a big bunch of flowers for me, with the three flags of Canada, Quebec and Montreal.

Things to do before you leave for Canada

There are some important things to do in your home country before leaving for Canada, which are easily overlooked:

What happens after landing?

First of all, some of the important things: And some more enjoyable things: Some people have reported PIDS (Post-Immigration Depression Syndrome), but I can't say I ever felt that. I expect if you're emigrating on your own, with no-one at the other end to look after you, it could be a bit daunting. My girlfriend took very good care of me in the first few weeks, especially with dealing with the language problem!

Information for immigrant IT consultants

I work as an independant IT consultant, and I know a lot of immigrants are in the computing field, so this is some advice on being a self-employed consultant in Canada.