It’s with a lot of emotion that I am writing this post today. Yeah, I’m officially a Permanent Resident. It is mandatory if you decide to stay and work in Canada permanently.
Attention! it is a process that will require preparation, patience, and money LOL. So brace yourself.
Attention: this process does not apply to Quebec as they have a different one. Also, I will not elaborate on the PR criteria because it would be far too long.
The 3 websites below have helped me. You will find useful information about the express entry process.
In my case, I applied via the Canadian Experience Category. I had to prove:
- That I had at least 1 year of experience in a category 0, A, B
- That I met the language requirements in French, English or both
- According to the CIC website, there are no specific requirements for education, but joining diplomas significantly improves your score
For example in my case: 28 years old, single without children, with a master’s degree, more than a year of experience in one of the categories 0, A, B in Canada, result between C2 and C1 on the French test and a Canadian sister (yes it helps), I had a score of 491.
Before getting in the pool. You will have several steps :
- Step 1: Determine eligibility
The first step is to determine your eligibility on the CIC website. You will just have to fill out a series of questions and the system will tell you if you are eligible or not.
- Step 2: Take your language test to prove your language proficiency
You will be asked for the results of your language test when creating the profile. You can choose between French, English or both. I chose French strategically because it is an advantage to be a French speaker in Ontario. Be careful you must take your test with a government-approved agency. You can find the list here. I took my French test (TEF CANADA) on April 25, 2018 while on vacation in France. The test is valid for 2 years so no stress. Why did I spend it in France? Simply to save money. I paid 220 euro (330 CAD) whereas in Canada is 440 CAD. It takes about 4 – 6 weeks to get the results. Advice:
– Don’t neglect the French test even if French is your mother tongue, because very good results will allow you to have a good score. And yes one point can change everything.
– Think of the delays, some centers may have quite long delays for appointments
- Step 3: The Assessment of Diplomas
When you have foreign degrees, you must have them evaluated and recognized by a government-approved agency. I used WES to get my diplomas recognized. I was lucky because my university is used to international ERASMUS students. They were very responsive and sent the requested documents very quickly.
If your establishment is slow to do so, don’t hesitate to insist.
You can get into the pool without having the WES results but keep in mind that once you are removed from the pool, you will have 60 days to attach all the requested documents. It is therefore recommended to do so beforehand.
The WES application is about $200 and the shipping cost is not including.
Once the fees are paid on the WES website, you will receive all the instructions on how to send the documents. When WES has received the documents you must wait to receive the mail summarizing the assessment of your diplomas.
WES received my documents at the end of October and the final report came on December 03rd.
NB: you will also need to provide all your addresses over the last 10 years and all the countries you have visited also over the last 10 years.
Believe me, it was a real headache, especially because I traveled quite a bit…
Getting into the basin
Once the system has declared you eligible you can then register into the pool. At this point, there are no documents to provide, just the application to fill out. I registered in the pool on December 05th and was pulled on December 12th.
The invitation to apply
There is a draw about every two weeks and Immigration chooses a minimum score to get for the draw. In my draw the minimum score was 445 points, and I had 491 points. So it all happened very quickly. Once removed from the basin, the information recorded at the entrance to the basin must be followed up with proper documentation.
- The medical exam
It was December 12th, 2018, the deadline was getting closer. I had only six months left before the end of my PVT. So I had to move fast. I was able to get an appointment for Saturday, December 15th.
All the centers in Toronto were full so I went to a center in ETOBICOKE. You can find a list of licensed doctors here.
On the day of your medical exam a tip, take a book, charge your phone, and get ready to wait.
Medical visit price: $200
- The documents to provide
I can tell you I was ready! All the documents were scanned and stored on my computer. I had looked at all the forums, the immigration site and thanks to my friends who already had PR, I knew how to prepare. Here are the documents I was asked to provide:
- a PDF Diploma – WES Report that was not asked of me but which I added
- a PDF on proof of PR/Citizenship of my sister
- a PDF on the proof of kinship with my sister
- a PDF with police certificate from all the countries where I lived for more than 6 months
- a picture all the requirements are here
- a PDF for the passport
- a PDF for proof of medical exam
- The employer letter that must meet specific requirements here.
NB: I did not have to show any proof of funds because I am applying via the Canadian Experience Category as it is not mandatory.
Application submitted: December 29th
Fees paid: $1040
Once the application submitted, I had to wait….. January, February, March, I saw the months go by and I began to panic. So I had to think about plan B: the Bridge Visa.
OHHHH my God, this was the worst application for me as it was impossible to have clear information on the subject. You have to answer a series of questions and if you do not give the right answer the system does not give you the Bridge Visa Application. I was going crazy, luckily I got good help with this article here if you want to see it. Thank you Astrid 😉
I also had quite a few worries during the application:
- Number 1: I found myself paying twice the bridge fee. I made one payment by mistake directly on the site while this section was reserved for those who would send the application by paper. Then a second payment by submitting my application online. I was able to get reimbursed for the expenses paid in error.
- Number 2: Following the application of the bridge, the confirmation letter did not mention anywhere “bridge”. So I panicked again and called all my friends who had gone through the bridge (by the way thank you guys).
- Number 3: I realized that I had to stay here in the country otherwise I would lose my implicit status and therefore the right to continue working. Yes, I see you smiling, it’s worrisome especially when we have trips planned head….
Bridge Visa Application Date: March 26th, 2019
The “ready for visa” email: the passport application
On April 25th, 2019, I received the “ready for visa” email. It was 9 o’clock I was at work, I was shaking, I could not concentrate for the rest of the working day. I wasn’t expecting it 4 months after the application.
- This email arrives in my personal inbox but can end up in spam so keep an eye on your email.
- Your CIC profile won’t be updated right away.
I followed the instructions given in the mail. I sent the copy of my passport – 2 photos – 2 envelopes Canada Post with tracking number
Advice: Take a picture of the two tracking numbers.
The large envelope is for sending the documents. The small envelope will be used by the immigration to send back your PR confirmation.
I was monitoring the second tracking number every day to see if my PR confirmation had been shipped. On Friday, May 10th, I received a notification that my letter was sent (yes I had put an alert on the Canada Post App). On the same day approximately at 9 PM, my CIC profile was updated and changed to “approved.”
What a relief! Monday, May 13th my PR confirmation was in my mailbox.
The activation of PR
The PR confirmation comes with a letter suggesting the activating process. Living in Canada, there are two options:
- Book an appointment at the ETOBICOKE Agency
- Go directly to the border by land or air
To put it in context, it was May 13th and my PVT had expired since May 8th. I really wanted to activate my PR as soon as possible.
And the appointment at Etobicoke could take longer. So I decided to go to the Niagara border.
I read a lot of negatives comments on activation PR at Niagara. I advise you to monitor on this site for opened days.
For example, when I checked for Niagara, the site mentioned open on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday.
So I went there on Thursday, May 16th around 9 AM. I crossed the rainbow bridge without even making sure the Flagpoles service was opened. To me, there would have not been a problem because it was Thursday.
So I crossed the border. When I returned to the Canadian side, I saw a notice “FLAGPOLES CLOSED”. I started to panic. Then I talked to a very nice immigration gentleman and explained that my PVT had expired and he agreed to process my activation. Two hours later, he returned with my documents and told me “Congratulations you are now a permanent resident.” I was relieved. Thank You GOD !
What to do next?
- I went to Services Canada to receive the new SIN number as the old one had expired. It is a requirement an up to date SIN to your employer and to your bank
- I renewed my health card by going to service Ontario
- I called immigration to cancel my visa bridge and process my refund fee of the $255 (again thanks Astrid). You will have to be patient because the refund takes about 16 weeks.
On June 07th, 2018, I received my PR card.
My last advice: you will hear a lot on immigration about what to do, be sure to diligent and refer to the official website of CIC.
Above all things, keep in mind that each case is different.
Good luck friends!
The Canadian adventure continues.