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I will be traveling to Montreal to spend 2½ months this January. It will be an exploratory trip, to get to know Montreal, Quebec, Ottawa, etc. and live Canada in its worst season, since I'm going to submit an immigration application. If I begin to think that I can't handle living in Canada I would just cancel the process.

Currently I'm working as a freelance programmer and with my general profile I believe I can show a good bond with my country. But because of the time I'm going to spend and the fact I'm a freelancer I believe I will face trouble with Immigration and fear they will not allow me to enter Canada.

Would you have some tips to avoid this kind of trouble at Immigration?

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    I don't see how this question is travel-related. It might be better suited on expats, in any case it is missing information on your nationality, the type of visa you intend to use and if you intend to work while in Canada. – mts Jan 14 '16 at 9:54
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    I'm a freelancer too, and this kind of questions pop in every time I apply for a visa (for short stays). If you take proving your funds, bonds to the country, and other general tips for a freelancer to get his/her visa approved, I'd think this falls into Travel,SE. – Ayesh K Jan 14 '16 at 11:05
  • How are you going to be supporting yourself while you are in Montreal? – DJClayworth Jan 14 '16 at 17:52
  • Sorry for the lack of info. I'm from Brazil and I have a visitor visa, and I have enough money to sustain my self during this time. I've already been in Toronto before for 15 days – André Luiz Jan 14 '16 at 21:53
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If you already have a visitor visa, trouble at the Canadian immigration checkpoint is very rare. To be safe, I'd follow the following points:

  • Don't mention anything about immigration plans unless you are explicitly asked about them. Focus on the purpose of the current trip - to visit various Canadian cities.
  • Have a very clear answer to "when are you going to leave". Ideally a printout of a return ticket.
  • Have ample funds (with printed proof of funds) to cover your stay here, not just a credit card.
  • Have a very clear answer to "where are you going to stay in Canada", ideally with printed proof (hotel reservations, invitation letters from friends, etc).
  • Ideally, have visitor's health insurance from a Canadian company (with a printout of proof) showing the same end date as on your return ticket
  • Doing freelance work while on a visitor visa in Canada technically counts as working, and would be a violation. It's best not to bring in anything related to your work. When someone turns on your laptop, the first thing they see should be a typical consumer laptop with family photos, not a work environment.
  • Ideally, as a backup only, have proof of employment back home, proof of ties to back home, etc. - all the documents you used when applying to the tourist visa
  • Do not carry any suspicious items with you: copies of resumes, any personal items or documents that you would not need for a short trip, anything related to looking for work or applying to schools

Here's the strategy for dealing with Canadian immigration officers:

  • 1st stage of screening (it's rare) may happen either right on the plane or right after you get off the plane. This stage only catches the most serious violators (e.g. people without a visa, human trafficking, etc), just answer everything truthfully and you have nothing to worry about here.
  • 2nd stage of screening always happens. It's when you line up to talk to an immigration officer. Be 100% truthful with this officer but be brief - do not volunteer any extra information or documents that the officer is not asking about! This is very important. In most cases, this will be short and simple, and you will just be stamped into the country.
  • In rare cases, there will be a 3rd stage of screening - the personal interview. Here, you should right away show your basic document package (proof of return ticket, proof of funds, proof of health insurance, proof of plans in Canada), be 100% truthful, and again do not volunteer anything else unless asked for.
  • There may be a customs screening step afterwards, but it's generally unrelated to immigration (unless customs finds something that's clearly not appropriate to a short tourist visit). Needless to say, be 100% truthful with customs too, if you have food - declare it (but it's best not to have anything on you that needs to be declared, to minimize the chances of being searched. This means no food, no alcohol over 1L, no gifts over $60, etc).
  • Thanks Eugene for the answer! During my stay I will also take the ielts test, since it's impossible to book the test in Brazil. Any extra tips for this? – André Luiz Jan 15 '16 at 8:38
  • Don't mention the test at immigration unless they specifically ask (which they won't). I don't have any tips for the test itself : ) – Eugene O Jan 15 '16 at 17:11
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    I made it through! The officer just asked to see my ticket back. – André Luiz Jan 20 '16 at 9:26

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