If you were to ask anyone about what the scariest part about travelling or moving abroad to another country is, they’d most likely tell you that “going through customs is the worst.”
It’s quite easy for any seasoned traveller to see why customs-related processes are the most avoided: they’re confusing, and those facilitating them are intimidating—what’s not to avoid? Regardless of where in the world you end up travelling to, however, it’s worth noting that you’ll still have to handle going through a few rigorous checks along the way.
As someone who is intent on moving to another country in the near future, it’s even more justifiable to see the process of going through customs as a stressful and scary one. Even when you have everything in order and duly noted down, it seems like a few seconds in front of the scorning stare of a customs officer can make it feel like you’ve never prepared before.
Unfortunately, the same intimidation that comes with customs processes and being judged at the gate isn’t exactly unheard of even in the nicest and light-hearted country in the world: Canada.
Navigating the ins-and-outs of the process for a smoother time
After you’ve gotten over the jitters of finally landing in the Great White North for the vacation-cum-relocation of a lifetime, you’re bound to face the different immigration officers at the gates before entering.
With a mix of emotions that consist of excitement, exhaustion, curiosity, and hopefulness, going through your first interaction with the CIC can be understandably nerve-wracking. Thankfully, going through a series of questions and awkward long pauses doesn’t need to be the most painful or unbearable experience in the world because coming with the right expectations can help.
If you’ve got a trip to Canada coming up, here’s a quick guide to what you’ll eventually deal with at the immigration gates:
1. Expect to be asked for your supporting documents
Often, the part where many people are turned away or held for a bit more questioning is during the process where travellers are expected to hand over their documents. Fortunately, you won’t have to get caught off guard because we’ve got you covered with this quick checklist of what you’ll need to provide:
- Proof of accommodation
- A copy of your return flight ticket
- Proof of medical aid cover for your stay
- A copy of your Canadian job offer (if you are visiting on a Young Professionals, International Co-op Internship, or immigration program visa
- Other supporting documents you may be asked to provide (such as proof of funds)
2. Get ready to be interviewed
The main thing that most first-timers to Canada fail to understand when they prepare themselves for the customs process is that it’s a mini-interview disguised as something else.
Generally, first-time visitors or migrants are asked a set of generic questions that range from the casual “what are your plans?” to the straightforward “do you have a criminal record anywhere in the world?” Regardless of what you’re asked, it’s critical to remain calm and tell the truth because doing the opposite will result in a snowball effect of issues!
Also, don’t forget to be polite while answering and asking so that you can get on the good side of your assigned officer!
Admittedly, the idea of going through Canadian customs as you land for the first time in the country can be quite nerve-wracking, at the very least. Nevertheless, keeping this guide in mind and ensuring that you remember all the key details will help ensure that you don’t run into any unwanted situations along the way!
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