Well yesterday we did a border run. We had done a little research and using the Vancouver local buses it appeared that we could get nearly all the way to the peach arch, the border crossing, and sort out the last stage of my application for permanent residency. So we took a bus to White Rock town center and changed to another more local bus. The driver informed us that no the bus didn’t go to the peach arch, but he would drop us as close as possible. OK that sounds fine to us. “Head that away, turn right at the main road.” He says.
We get to the intersection which in reality is an overpass and the motorway to the states. Now what? There are no signs telling us how far it is and we can’t see the border. There is no footpath. We deliberated for a while, wonder, and then discarding, the idea of maybe getting a hitch from a passing car. I don’t know how many people would pick people up right near the border and give them a lift. It seemed a bit dodgy, so we decided to set off on foot. We headed down the side of the motorway, beside the ditch and then on top of a grass and blackberry strip. Thankfully we came to a “Border 800m” sign so realised that we weren’t so far away.
story continues with some photos after the jump
– Border Billboard (Peach Arch, British Columbia)
This was a pretty funny billboard on the last stretch to the border crossing.
This is the strangest border crossing I have been to yet, but in hind sight it is the only land border I have crossed that has border control. The Canadian and US border posts are divided by a Peace Arch monument in a regional park. It sounds a bit strange but when walking past the line of cars waiting to cross the border, we passed people playing lawn bowls, throwing frisbees, photographing the arch etc. All a bit strange.
So we bypassed the waiting cars, the one bonus of being on foot, and after a brief line up were processed for “Around the Flagpole” as the US immigration call it. Theonly problem? they didn’t give us any paper work. So after traipsing back through the peach park to the Canadian side we had to return to the US side to get said paper work.
This time we got there at shift change and after dealing with the ever so patronising, condescending, customs officer who was now running the show (was he ex. Greyhound?) we got our slip and wandered back to the Canadian side.
Such a palpable difference at each immigration building. Completely different vibes. The US side is all too loud, brash voices, patronising and general little man/parking attendant syndrome. The Canadian side was positively friendly and actually polite, rather than the shitty mock politeness we had just experienced.
After the short formality of completing the residency paper work I was a Canadian Resident! Just like that! To top it all off I was given a little Canadian flag to wave. No really. There is something about a flag. I just do not like what they represent, but I dutifully posed for a commemorative photograph.
– Canadian Resident with Flag (Peach Arch Park, BC/US Border)
It’s official. I’m in. we’re unstoppable now!
We walked out a different way than the motorway we came in on, and feasted on wild blackberries until we couldn’t eat anymore.
Yesterday I registered for my Social Insurance Number (“SIN” – I love that abbreviation) and received it on the spot. So I guess I am eligible for bank accounts, and employment any time from now.
So I guess that is the end of two chapters in our story.The completion of a plan originally formed 3 years ago, the ability to come and go freely between Canada and New Zealand with the ability to work. It has been a long process but relatively painless (but not inexpensive!). Were not sure of the NZ requirements, but the Canadian ones require that I be in the country for 730 days in five years, non consecutively is OK, and I can apply for citizenship after only 3 years.