Things to Prepare Before Flying to Canada

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The wait is over. You’ve just been granted immigrant status to Canada after months of preparations, submission of application and waiting. Now, the next step is to prepare for your imminent departure to Canada.

After securing passport, immigrant visa as well as the Certificate of Permanent Residency issued by the Canadian Embassy, one must begin to think of the appropriate departure date to Canada. This must however be well before the deadline set on the immigrant visa.

At least two (2) months before leaving, a migrant must be able to create a checklist of things he needs to work on or things he need to consider doing. These things might take time and effort to complete so a plan and a schedule should be made to be able to attend to all of them early and avoid stress of cramming and having to beat deadlines.

RESERVATION AND BUYING OF PLANE TICKET

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As soon as a migrant decides on the departure date, he must reserve and buy the ticket. The earlier he transacts with the travel agent, the more options he will have on fares and flight schedules. The usual practice is for the travel agent to reserve the dates and allow the client to pay at a later date to confirm the reserved tickets. There are no added costs to making early reservations so one can always do it for convenience.

Fares
For first-time immigrants, a consultation with a travel agent regarding plane fares can be a good move. Some one-way tickets to Canada are available on discounted price. A return ticket however may not have the same discount.

aircanadaConnecting Flights
One must consider enough time when having connecting flights. At least five (5) hours between the estimated time of arrival at the port of entry and the estimated time of departure of the connecting flight. Ample time is necessary to go through an immigration process for first-time immigrants. The interview process itself usually takes about half an hour and there could be long waiting line before one gets interviewed.

Too little time for might cause one to miss the connecting flight. Too much time allowance might cause one to get bored. Between missing a flight and getting bored, he would definitely choose to get bored every time.

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PREPARATION OF SETTLEMENT FUNDS

A migrant must prepare the necessary settlement funds (show money), in the amount required for his family’s size. Preferably it must be in Canadian dollars. To verify this, one must have to check at the official website for Canada immigration.

If family members are landing on separate dates, as this is allowed provided that the principal applicant must always be the first to land, he must bring with him the entire settlement fund amount as required for the whole family. As soon as the amount is entered into the system, family members arriving at a later date are no longer required to show proof of settlement funds.

It is prudent to have much of the amount as a bank draft, issued by a Philippine bank with a relationship to a major Canadian bank. Bank draft can be issued by the Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) which has on its list the Bank of Nova Scotia as depository bank in Canada.

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The bank draft may need about two (2) weeks to clear, so it is also prudent to enough Canadian dollars for that duration.

ATTENDING SEMINARS

Pre-Departure Orientation Seminar
PDOS (Pre-Departure Orientation Seminar) is conducted by the Commission on Filipinos Overseas. It is a half-day affair and is being held only at the CFO Manila Office along President Quirino Avenue for immigrants to Canada. Schedules and other information regarding this seminar can be found at the CFO website

A sticker is placed on the passport after attending the seminar. It will be checked by Philippine immigration at the airport. PDOS is a Philippine government requirement and one is not allowed to leave the country without the PDOS sticker.

As there are no reservations of slots and scheduled seminars tend to be always full, one must come early and to get this done.

This seminar proves to be helpful and thus there can be no loss of time or effort for attending it.

Canadian Orientation Abroad Seminar
The Canadian Orientation Abroad (COA) is an optional seminar conducted by the Canadian government through the International Organization for Migration (IOM) at the Citibank Tower in Makati. The seminar is free-of-charge is more on what to and what not to expect in settling at a new home in Canada and less about the process of landing and immigration.

The seminar could be helpful in managing expectations. It may help prepare immigrants for the challenges ahead in their new home. It is recommended that one must attend.

GATHERING OF DOCUMENTS

Gathering of Education Credentials
The Philippine Educational System has some setbacks as it compares with the Canadian System. As patterned after the American system basic education in has 10-11 years. The Canadian education system on the other hand as patterned in the British System has 12 years. Because of the difference, education credentials with the Philippine System have to be assessed and translated into its equivalent in the Canadian system before obtaining a value.

Philippine PRC credential does not have bearing in Canada. If one’s profession is regulated in Canada, he has to pass through credential assessment and, in addition, take a province’s board examination.

As a necessity, one must have to gather and prepare the following education credentials for every member of the family:

Original diploma and grade transcripts for high school, college and other advanced degrees. If the diploma is not in English, provide an official translation to English (usually the school can provide this translation).

For married members, the NSO-issued Marriage Certificate helps explain differences between the name on the passport and that on school records.

As assessments may be necessary depending upon a profession of a family member, these additional documents needed:
An official certification from your school that English is the medium of instruction for the course you graduated from.

If already available, certifications on English proficiency by IELTS or TOEFL

School-issued course descriptions of every subject taken and shown on your official transcript, may be required if you choose to undergo a special assessment to apply for membership in a regulated profession.

Preparation of Other Official Documents
The following official documents must come in handy as they may be needed from time to time:

Original and copies of Birth Certificates (NSO-issued), especially for the children of school-age.

If you intend to drive in Canada, get an LTO Certification on your driving record (years driving, no bad record, etc.) notarized by the Department of Foreign Affairs. No kidding. The DFA attaches a certification with a gold seal with a red ribbon on the LTO certificate, attesting to the validity of the LTO certificate. You apply for this document at the LTO, and get the document from the DFA. Takes about a week. Without this document, you may have to live with a Learner’s Permit (equivalent to our Student Driver Permit) for a full year before you are allowed to take a road test exam for a driver’s license.

Original and copies of your employment certificates, in case you have to prove work experience.

Original and copies of all other relevant training you may have attended, apprenticeships you have undergone, and certifications you may have earned. Internationally-recognized certifications in particular, may prove helpful.

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