We decided to go to the CIC office in Regina after all. I had thought they would send a letter assigning us a day and time to come. Instead, they called us and worked around our schedule, and even rescheduled when I learned that Eric had a conflict at the original appointment time. So we thought it made sense just to get it done rather than deal with it at the border at the end of a long travel day.
The CIC office was in a government building in downtown Regina. We handed over our passports, as well as the forms that were sent to us by the consulate in LA. The woman helping us asked for our Saskatchewan provincial nomination letter, which we did not have with us. I just said we hadn't been told to bring it, but we had sent a copy of it with our original permanent residency application. I guess that was OK, because she kept on processing us. We answered a couple questions about whether we had a criminal record, or had ever been refused entry to Canada. We got another stamp in our passports and she wrote an immigration number under it. She said they would send our forms on to an office in Nova Scotia where they make the permanent residency cards, which we would receive in about a month's time. Even though she printed out and gave us our Confirmation of Permanent Residence forms, she said we couldn't cross a border without our permanent resident cards! At that point, we thought "Oops!" and explained our planned trip to Minnesota in a month's time. She said we needed to show our PR cards to get back into Canada, but we could call the Border Services office to check. She said she wouldn't have gone ahead with processing us if she'd known about this planned trip. Well, after we got back to Caronport, I called the Canada Border Services Agency right away, and they said it was no problem and that showing the forms was adequate. Our cards may be here by then anyway, but Eric is presenting at a conference in Minnesota so if he had needed to cancel, we would have had to give plenty of notice.
Another advantage in finalizing our permanent residency in Regina is that Service Canada is located in the same building, and we were able to apply for permanent Social Insurance numbers today. Again, the CIC worker had said we would need to show our PR cards, but Service Canada said that the forms were good enough.
We then walked a couple blocks to the Vital Statistics office, where we applied for permanent Saskatchewan Health cards. It was great to get all three of these tasks done in one morning. It gets wearisome constantly sending copies of passports and birth certificates to various agencies, and was a relief just to do it in person.
Now, I need to figure out what agencies need to be informed of our new status. So far, I can think of Briercrest (Eric's employer), the Canada Revenue Agency and the specific offices within it that handle GST credits and child tax credits, our banks. Anyone else?
It's a great feeling to be done with this! We already love Canada but now we can feel even more welcomed and settled here than we already do.
Three ways, not just two
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