I received Canadian Immigrant Visa in May 2015 and the validity of this visa was one year from the date of our medical tests. It is a requirement that persons holding immigrant visa must land physically in Canada within this one year period to avoid losing the opportunity of becoming permanent resident of Canada. Therefore I had to plan my visit along-with my family members before May 2016.
I was working in an MNC in Bangalore as a Software Project Manager. I owned a 3500 sq ft villa in outskirts of Bangalore where I was living with my family – wife, a daughter studying in 8th grade and two adorable dogs – a Labrador (7 yrs old) and a Doberman (4 yrs old). The life was going smooth and we were pretty much in our comfort zone. During the same time I also started a Woodworking and Patio Furniture business with the support of my wife. See the of our business that has been taken over by a new company. Both of us really worked very hard and this business was an instant hit. It was running at its full potential and I was looking for investors so that I could scale up this business. Therefore I kept postponing the plan of visiting / moving to Canada. At a point, I even started thinking of losing this opportunity because we were doing well in business. But my friends and colleagues, Bhushan and Rohan insisted that I at least visit Canada, do a short landing, complete the documentation formalities and then come back so that I keep this PR option alive for next couple of years.
I thought about it but still delayed the visit till the last moments. Finally, I booked my tickets to Edmonton, AB in April 2016 where my Friend Amit used to live for past several years. I planned for a short-landing of about a week in Amit’s home. I was also excited to meet my old friend Amit after about a decade. This was also the first time in last 7 years when both my wife and I had to travel out of Bangalore together because we never left our dogs alone. So this time, my wife requested her parents to visit us for about ten days and while we were away, they took care of our dogs.
Then the big day came when three of us, my wife, my daughter and I left for Edmonton. This was the first time in past 7 years when we were travelling together and that too to Canada. We were more excited for international family trip and to meet my old time friend than for becoming a Canadian PR. Amit was also very excited because this was the first time one of his friends in India was visiting him in Canada. We took a Lufthansa flight from Bangalore to Frankfurt and Air Canada from Frankfurt to Calgary and then to Edmonton. It was a long journey of about 27 hours. Since Calgary was the first airport in Canada where we landed, we had to go through immigration formalities in Calgary airport. I had all my documents in one folder that I was carrying.
I had travelled several times to US in the past on business visa and therefore I was expecting an arrogant immigration officer at Calgary airport too who would ask a lot of questions such as purpose of travel and where we are going to stay etc. So when our turn came, we headed to one of the officer and I started to pull out my folder. She then politely asked whether I was a new immigrant to which I replied, yes. She then directed us to another office on the back side which is dedicated for PRs. We were second in the queue and there were about 4 desks that were already busy. When our turn came, we headed to one of the desks where the officer greeted us and said “Welcome to Canada”. By now, I started changing my perception about the Canadian immigration officers. The officer asked for our COPR forms and passports. The immigrant visa was single entry visa and the officer crossed the visa with black sketch pen and put some seals on our COPR forms. It took about 10 minutes at that desk and we were done. Since the Calgary airport is not as busy as Toronto’s or Vancouver’s, the entire process i.e. from exiting the aircraft till clearing the immigration took about 45 minutes.
We took our luggage and checked in again to Edmonton. We roamed around at the airport for some time and then took flight to Edmonton. It was a short flight of about 35 minutes and we reached Edmonton finally where my friend Amit was waiting to receive us. When we reached home, we received a warm welcome by Amit’s wife and kids, a Champagne bottle ready to be opened and a cake ready for cutting followed by Johnny Walker Black Label bottle and an awesome dinner. We
had a blast that night and next several nights daily. Though it was summer, the temperature varied between 4 deg C during the night to 14 deg C during day time.
This was one of the best times of my life when I enjoyed to the fullest. On a couple of occasions another friend of Amit and Amit’s sister and brother-in-law also joined us. Amit’s brother-in-law was the first one to move to Toronto way back in 2001 followed by Amit who moved in 2002. They lived in Toronto for about five years and then moved to Edmonton. We had discussed on different aspects of Canadian life and advantages / disadvantages of moving to Canada.
After six days of wonderful stay, it was a time to say goodbye to my friend. It was tough because till that point, I was completely uncertain whether I’ll be back and move permanently. I told him that we’ll keep thinking about it and also keep him updated.
Our first flight back was from Edmonton to Calgary. For some reason, all three of us got seats on different rows. While my daughter sat next to the cabin crew lady on the first row, I sat somewhere on the back side and my wife in another row. It gave me some free time to replay the discussions during past few days in my mind and to do some mental financial calculations. When we all reached at Calgary airport and met, I told my wife that I made up my mind to take the plunge and move to Canada as early as possible. I have summarized The Reasons That Made Me To Re-Think & Take Plunge in a separate page.
While my daughter sat next to cabin crew they had some conversations during half an hour flight. The lady appreciated about my daughter’s ability to converse and command over English language.
From Calgary, we took flight back to Frankfurt and then to Bangalore. We reached home early morning where our dogs welcomed us.