LaurenW

Settling Q & A

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LaurenW

My husband and I landed in Windsor, Ontario last year. We have been very lucky and have managed to buy a house and settle in very quickly and easily. In a PM last year I answered some questions and I figured maybe some other people could benefit from this thread. 

So see below the Q & A:

1.  When you arrived, how long was the process at immigration ?  This is stressing me out as I will already have 2 very grumpy little kids who have been on a very long flight !!  So am hoping to be out of the airport asap.

Immigration probably took us an extra 30 minutes to get the landing papers and customs goods to follow paperwork stamped. Its fairly quick and it goes quickly. We decided it was best to book at an airport hotel, that had a shuttle service, for the first night as it was a long flight and we rightly knew we would be too exhausted to want to travel far. 

2.  Out of curiosity, which airline did you fly with and where you happy ?

We flew Emirates as it was the cheapest. Emirates is a great airline but flight at over 26 hours (and that was short for Emirates) was killer if you have kids I would probably recommend you extend your stopover somewhere for a day so you can shower and eat and let them run riot somewhere that is not an airport. Most airlines let you break your flight up no charge too I have done this before on other routes. I probably not fly emirates on this route again purely because the connecting flight from London was not on Emirates but on the partner WestJet and it was basically crossing the Atlantic in the same plane you fly to JHB to Capetown in. There is no in-seat entertainment, food you had to purchase separately and the seats are less comfortable. But if you looking for an economical option the actual flight on emirates is normally great. 

3.  On your last post you mentioned you didnt have your PR card yet.  Have you received it now ?  Generally how long does it take to get these? 

4.  Why do you say it has been a nightmare to get the PR cards?

So with PR Cards we didn't have an address on landing so we had to send them an address later on a form we could fax. We took out a mailbox as we didn't have a permanent address. They then mailed us a month later to say our photos were not correct which was weird as we had not submitted photos as it was a fax so I duly posted off our photos (we used the same ones we sent in for our visas as we had extras). It been another month and no word. Eventually I found a number online and called only to find our photos were still wrong so we reposted new ones and finally got our cards at around 6 months after landing.

 If you travel by road though you can use your landing papers to get in and out of the US but if you need to fly you are stuck till you get your card. 

5.  I am so excited to hear you got a mortgage so quickly.  From what I had read, you need to build up a credit rating for about 2 years prior to being given a mortgage.  However, as a newcomer, is your mortgage very restricted, basically did you get the amount you wanted or did you get quite a low mortgage?

For the Mortage as I mentioned RBC was the best bank for all credit related things They have a specific programme to help newcomers and they were very nice to us. The other banks wanted us to put 30% down which was madness but with RBC it was only 10%. Bring a copy of your SA credit report with you (Transunion etc.). What may have helped was that my husband transferred with his old company to Canada at first so we had proof he had been employed for 5 years with them which may have tipped the scale in our favour. That and the fact I have a spotless credit history in SA and also kept my job with my old company as a remote consultant. Mortgage rates are pretty standard I think we are around 3.2% interest and we got the amount we applied for. We did buy quite conservatively down scaling from our last house in SA just because we don't know what our monthly expenses here and how much upkeep on a wooden house will be. It turned out to be the right move as everything is a lot more expensive than you think it will be and there are a lot of things we didn't budget for that have cropped up. 

6.  What did you do about accommodation when you arrived.

We booked an airbnb for the first two weeks and then moved to another one for the next month. It was a houseshare type wso sharing got old fast but was very economical working out to about $31 per night for the two of us. As a long term resident we just took over the lounge an kitchen :)

7.  Please tell me how to go about getting our driving records and credit records here in Johannesburg.  I have heard these are very important.

Driving records maybe see the threads on it on this forum thats what I did. But basically you need to drive to the RTMC in Pretoria and collect the letter fro m a guy called David. Took about 15 minutes once I was at the offices. Unless you have a spotless driving record don't bother to submit your old insurance letters to your new insurance as even one accident or claim regardless of fault in the last 2 years can mess up your record here. 

8.  Do you have any recommendations for furniture transport to Canada?

We used Peter at ITTA (international trade and transport agents) to get our items and Dogs to Canada. They were great and we spent about R26 000 for the  crates and R24 000 for 3 the dogs. We didn't bring much furniture and its worth knowing that when you buy rent a house it comes with a fridge, stove, washer and dryer. We were lucky ours also came with a dishwasher and microwave. Basically we had sentimental items, paperwork, my husbands gaming PC  (you need to replace the power source on PCS but with all his gaming stuff it was cheaper to bring it) and a few things like my le cruset that I didn't want to part with. We hit the dollarstore for all our utensils and IKEA for almost everything else except our bed which we wanted to be a Seally. IKEA was the most economical range of furniture that was solid wood (pine) as opposed to laminate woods stuff which doesn't last. We have started staining the pine now and its looking great. 

9.  Finally, the one thing I am most nervous about is getting my drivers licence over there.  You guys seemed to have done this with no hassle.  Please let me know how you do it, I have read you first have to do basically your learners again and then your drivers ?  How long does the entire process take.  I am petrified of having to do parrallel parking and alley docking over there on the other side of the road.... :unsure:

Finally driving.... Passing your learners is super easy (they call it a G1 or knowledge test). We got the book to study from at Shoppers Drug Mart for about $16 (they have a Shoppers on almost every corner its like clicks crossed with a small grocery store). You don't book the test you arrive early, take your pictures and hand in your experience letter and the write straight away. In Ontario you write at the Drive Test center its like an outsourced licensing department lines rival SA at this place but its unavoidable. You then book for your G test which can be a months waiting. Both my husband and I passed first time after a few lessons to learn parking. There is no alley docking. Parallel parking, three point turn and emergency stop is done on street in a back road which takes some pressure off). Its not as bad as you think it will be though. You just need a G1 to buy a car and then have someone with a G's license number for insurance (they don"t have any risk giving this and anything you do wont hurt their license).

I hope this helps some of you. 

 

 

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Perry

Haha, there's no way on earth I'm leaving my Le Creuset behind either. 

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Stefolive
On 6/6/2018 at 4:14 PM, LaurenW said:

My husband and I landed in Windsor, Ontario last year. We have been very lucky and have managed to buy a house and settle in very quickly and easily. In a PM last year I answered some questions and I figured maybe some other people could benefit from this thread. 

So see below the Q & A:

1.  When you arrived, how long was the process at immigration ?  This is stressing me out as I will already have 2 very grumpy little kids who have been on a very long flight !!  So am hoping to be out of the airport asap.

Immigration probably took us an extra 30 minutes to get the landing papers and customs goods to follow paperwork stamped. Its fairly quick and it goes quickly. We decided it was best to book at an airport hotel, that had a shuttle service, for the first night as it was a long flight and we rightly knew we would be too exhausted to want to travel far. 

2.  Out of curiosity, which airline did you fly with and where you happy ?

We flew Emirates as it was the cheapest. Emirates is a great airline but flight at over 26 hours (and that was short for Emirates) was killer if you have kids I would probably recommend you extend your stopover somewhere for a day so you can shower and eat and let them run riot somewhere that is not an airport. Most airlines let you break your flight up no charge too I have done this before on other routes. I probably not fly emirates on this route again purely because the connecting flight from London was not on Emirates but on the partner WestJet and it was basically crossing the Atlantic in the same plane you fly to JHB to Capetown in. There is no in-seat entertainment, food you had to purchase separately and the seats are less comfortable. But if you looking for an economical option the actual flight on emirates is normally great. 

3.  On your last post you mentioned you didnt have your PR card yet.  Have you received it now ?  Generally how long does it take to get these? 

4.  Why do you say it has been a nightmare to get the PR cards?

So with PR Cards we didn't have an address on landing so we had to send them an address later on a form we could fax. We took out a mailbox as we didn't have a permanent address. They then mailed us a month later to say our photos were not correct which was weird as we had not submitted photos as it was a fax so I duly posted off our photos (we used the same ones we sent in for our visas as we had extras). It been another month and no word. Eventually I found a number online and called only to find our photos were still wrong so we reposted new ones and finally got our cards at around 6 months after landing.

 If you travel by road though you can use your landing papers to get in and out of the US but if you need to fly you are stuck till you get your card. 

5.  I am so excited to hear you got a mortgage so quickly.  From what I had read, you need to build up a credit rating for about 2 years prior to being given a mortgage.  However, as a newcomer, is your mortgage very restricted, basically did you get the amount you wanted or did you get quite a low mortgage?

For the Mortage as I mentioned RBC was the best bank for all credit related things They have a specific programme to help newcomers and they were very nice to us. The other banks wanted us to put 30% down which was madness but with RBC it was only 10%. Bring a copy of your SA credit report with you (Transunion etc.). What may have helped was that my husband transferred with his old company to Canada at first so we had proof he had been employed for 5 years with them which may have tipped the scale in our favour. That and the fact I have a spotless credit history in SA and also kept my job with my old company as a remote consultant. Mortgage rates are pretty standard I think we are around 3.2% interest and we got the amount we applied for. We did buy quite conservatively down scaling from our last house in SA just because we don't know what our monthly expenses here and how much upkeep on a wooden house will be. It turned out to be the right move as everything is a lot more expensive than you think it will be and there are a lot of things we didn't budget for that have cropped up. 

6.  What did you do about accommodation when you arrived.

We booked an airbnb for the first two weeks and then moved to another one for the next month. It was a houseshare type wso sharing got old fast but was very economical working out to about $31 per night for the two of us. As a long term resident we just took over the lounge an kitchen :)

7.  Please tell me how to go about getting our driving records and credit records here in Johannesburg.  I have heard these are very important.

Driving records maybe see the threads on it on this forum thats what I did. But basically you need to drive to the RTMC in Pretoria and collect the letter fro m a guy called David. Took about 15 minutes once I was at the offices. Unless you have a spotless driving record don't bother to submit your old insurance letters to your new insurance as even one accident or claim regardless of fault in the last 2 years can mess up your record here. 

8.  Do you have any recommendations for furniture transport to Canada?

We used Peter at ITTA (international trade and transport agents) to get our items and Dogs to Canada. They were great and we spent about R26 000 for the  crates and R24 000 for 3 the dogs. We didn't bring much furniture and its worth knowing that when you buy rent a house it comes with a fridge, stove, washer and dryer. We were lucky ours also came with a dishwasher and microwave. Basically we had sentimental items, paperwork, my husbands gaming PC  (you need to replace the power source on PCS but with all his gaming stuff it was cheaper to bring it) and a few things like my le cruset that I didn't want to part with. We hit the dollarstore for all our utensils and IKEA for almost everything else except our bed which we wanted to be a Seally. IKEA was the most economical range of furniture that was solid wood (pine) as opposed to laminate woods stuff which doesn't last. We have started staining the pine now and its looking great. 

9.  Finally, the one thing I am most nervous about is getting my drivers licence over there.  You guys seemed to have done this with no hassle.  Please let me know how you do it, I have read you first have to do basically your learners again and then your drivers ?  How long does the entire process take.  I am petrified of having to do parrallel parking and alley docking over there on the other side of the road.... :unsure:

Finally driving.... Passing your learners is super easy (they call it a G1 or knowledge test). We got the book to study from at Shoppers Drug Mart for about $16 (they have a Shoppers on almost every corner its like clicks crossed with a small grocery store). You don't book the test you arrive early, take your pictures and hand in your experience letter and the write straight away. In Ontario you write at the Drive Test center its like an outsourced licensing department lines rival SA at this place but its unavoidable. You then book for your G test which can be a months waiting. Both my husband and I passed first time after a few lessons to learn parking. There is no alley docking. Parallel parking, three point turn and emergency stop is done on street in a back road which takes some pressure off). Its not as bad as you think it will be though. You just need a G1 to buy a car and then have someone with a G's license number for insurance (they don"t have any risk giving this and anything you do wont hurt their license).

I hope this helps some of you. 

 

 

Lauren did you immigrate through a company or did you do everything yourself? Also how did you know what all needs to be done to be able to immigrate?

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Nelline
13 hours ago, Stefolive said:

Lauren did you immigrate through a company or did you do everything yourself? Also how did you know what all needs to be done to be able to immigrate?

Have you researched on the CIC website? Everything you need to know is on there, remember each situation for every person is different so best to review you specific scenario there

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Sharma

Our experience with RBC was completely different. We had to put down 35% deposit. Similar to you, I still had my job back in Botswana. 

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JennyVee
On 6/6/2018 at 4:14 PM, LaurenW said:

7.  Please tell me how to go about getting our driving records and credit records here in Johannesburg.  I have heard these are very important.

Driving records maybe see the threads on it on this forum thats what I did. But basically you need to drive to the RTMC in Pretoria and collect the letter fro m a guy called David. Took about 15 minutes once I was at the offices. Unless you have a spotless driving record don't bother to submit your old insurance letters to your new insurance as even one accident or claim regardless of fault in the last 2 years can mess up your record here. 

8.  Do you have any recommendations for furniture transport to Canada?

We used Peter at ITTA (international trade and transport agents) to get our items and Dogs to Canada. They were great and we spent about R26 000 for the  crates and R24 000 for 3 the dogs. We didn't bring much furniture and its worth knowing that when you buy rent a house it comes with a fridge, stove, washer and dryer. We were lucky ours also came with a dishwasher and microwave. Basically we had sentimental items, paperwork, my husbands gaming PC  (you need to replace the power source on PCS but with all his gaming stuff it was cheaper to bring it) and a few things like my le cruset that I didn't want to part with. We hit the dollarstore for all our utensils and IKEA for almost everything else except our bed which we wanted to be a Seally. IKEA was the most economical range of furniture that was solid wood (pine) as opposed to laminate woods stuff which doesn't last. We have started staining the pine now and its looking great. 

9.  Finally, the one thing I am most nervous about is getting my drivers licence over there.  You guys seemed to have done this with no hassle.  Please let me know how you do it, I have read you first have to do basically your learners again and then your drivers ?  How long does the entire process take.  I am petrified of having to do parrallel parking and alley docking over there on the other side of the road.... :unsure:

Finally driving.... Passing your learners is super easy (they call it a G1 or knowledge test). We got the book to study from at Shoppers Drug Mart for about $16 (they have a Shoppers on almost every corner its like clicks crossed with a small grocery store). You don't book the test you arrive early, take your pictures and hand in your experience letter and the write straight away. In Ontario you write at the Drive Test center its like an outsourced licensing department lines rival SA at this place but its unavoidable. You then book for your G test which can be a months waiting. Both my husband and I passed first time after a few lessons to learn parking. There is no alley docking. Parallel parking, three point turn and emergency stop is done on street in a back road which takes some pressure off). Its not as bad as you think it will be though. You just need a G1 to buy a car and then have someone with a G's license number for insurance (they don"t have any risk giving this and anything you do wont hurt their license).

@LouwVrystaat some super helpful stuff here...

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Theron

My wife and I are landing in Toronto at the end of September! Can't wait! In the meantime, I've been doing a lot research on the 'day-to-day' stuff and how to prepare for it but something bugged me for a while now on the driver's license thing in Ontario.

I finally got to this post yesterday and realised (whilst saying some other words) that we need an RTMC confirmation letter for our driver's licenses. From what I could gather on this forum is that each province has it's own way of going about issuing of licenses even if a website says 'this is required' or 'that is required' but Ontario seemed to definitely want the confirmation letters (I'll confirm this once we have landed and gone through the process ourselves).

I thought I'd share my story here seeing as it is relevant to some of the points in the original post.

I sent an email to the RTMC last night (7 August 2018) using their general email address on their website (ctc@rtmc.co.za) giving them our full names, ID numbers and contact details. To my complete surprise they responded at 12:00PM today (8 August 2018) and said our confirmation letters were ready for collection. Say what? Yes! A turnaround time of less than 24 hours (it wasn't even 18 hours). The email stated that we must collect it from the Midrand offices which coincidentally is where I live, until September 2018 at least.

I drove out to the offices with our ID documents in hand, got there, waited for about 10 minutes after signing in and got the letters. There were no errors on the letters! 

So there you have it. One less document to get ready! 

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LaraDK

@Theron I have also found the RTMC to be fantastically responsive. Just a quick note about your post: 

1. Double check that the letter has a date stamp for the day it was issued. It was missing from mine - I checked my ID number and all other info but didn't notice the missing date stamp until I was at the front of the queue at the Drive Centre .... I had a new one couriered without a problem, but it means additional trips and delays.

2. You DO need that letter in Ontario if you want to skip doing the G2 test and proceed straight to the full G test. This saves both time and money. It will also lower your insurance premiums.

3. Not all Drive Centres are equal. Look at the reviews etc. before you choose which one to go to. And take a book and a snack - queues are Home Affairs level.

Best of luck with the move!

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Theron

@LaraDK

Thanks for the info and the tips! Our letters luckily do have stamps on so all seems good. 

Do you have any suggested Drive Centres that you can recommend we look at before going?

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LaraDK

@TheronI can definitely say avoid the one on Rylander!! They are a real mess. I am going to try the one in Oshawa this week/early next week and will report back. It is further out from Toronto, but I am hoping it will be like renewing your licence is SA - go to the smallest place away from the CBD ....

 

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Jeandre
On 6/6/2018 at 4:14 PM, LaurenW said:

My husband and I landed in Windsor, Ontario last year. We have been very lucky and have managed to buy a house and settle in very quickly and easily. In a PM last year I answered some questions and I figured maybe some other people could benefit from this thread. 

So see below the Q & A:

1.  When you arrived, how long was the process at immigration ?  This is stressing me out as I will already have 2 very grumpy little kids who have been on a very long flight !!  So am hoping to be out of the airport asap.

Immigration probably took us an extra 30 minutes to get the landing papers and customs goods to follow paperwork stamped. Its fairly quick and it goes quickly. We decided it was best to book at an airport hotel, that had a shuttle service, for the first night as it was a long flight and we rightly knew we would be too exhausted to want to travel far. 

2.  Out of curiosity, which airline did you fly with and where you happy ?

We flew Emirates as it was the cheapest. Emirates is a great airline but flight at over 26 hours (and that was short for Emirates) was killer if you have kids I would probably recommend you extend your stopover somewhere for a day so you can shower and eat and let them run riot somewhere that is not an airport. Most airlines let you break your flight up no charge too I have done this before on other routes. I probably not fly emirates on this route again purely because the connecting flight from London was not on Emirates but on the partner WestJet and it was basically crossing the Atlantic in the same plane you fly to JHB to Capetown in. There is no in-seat entertainment, food you had to purchase separately and the seats are less comfortable. But if you looking for an economical option the actual flight on emirates is normally great. 

3.  On your last post you mentioned you didnt have your PR card yet.  Have you received it now ?  Generally how long does it take to get these? 

4.  Why do you say it has been a nightmare to get the PR cards?

So with PR Cards we didn't have an address on landing so we had to send them an address later on a form we could fax. We took out a mailbox as we didn't have a permanent address. They then mailed us a month later to say our photos were not correct which was weird as we had not submitted photos as it was a fax so I duly posted off our photos (we used the same ones we sent in for our visas as we had extras). It been another month and no word. Eventually I found a number online and called only to find our photos were still wrong so we reposted new ones and finally got our cards at around 6 months after landing.

 If you travel by road though you can use your landing papers to get in and out of the US but if you need to fly you are stuck till you get your card. 

5.  I am so excited to hear you got a mortgage so quickly.  From what I had read, you need to build up a credit rating for about 2 years prior to being given a mortgage.  However, as a newcomer, is your mortgage very restricted, basically did you get the amount you wanted or did you get quite a low mortgage?

For the Mortage as I mentioned RBC was the best bank for all credit related things They have a specific programme to help newcomers and they were very nice to us. The other banks wanted us to put 30% down which was madness but with RBC it was only 10%. Bring a copy of your SA credit report with you (Transunion etc.). What may have helped was that my husband transferred with his old company to Canada at first so we had proof he had been employed for 5 years with them which may have tipped the scale in our favour. That and the fact I have a spotless credit history in SA and also kept my job with my old company as a remote consultant. Mortgage rates are pretty standard I think we are around 3.2% interest and we got the amount we applied for. We did buy quite conservatively down scaling from our last house in SA just because we don't know what our monthly expenses here and how much upkeep on a wooden house will be. It turned out to be the right move as everything is a lot more expensive than you think it will be and there are a lot of things we didn't budget for that have cropped up. 

6.  What did you do about accommodation when you arrived.

We booked an airbnb for the first two weeks and then moved to another one for the next month. It was a houseshare type wso sharing got old fast but was very economical working out to about $31 per night for the two of us. As a long term resident we just took over the lounge an kitchen :)

7.  Please tell me how to go about getting our driving records and credit records here in Johannesburg.  I have heard these are very important.

Driving records maybe see the threads on it on this forum thats what I did. But basically you need to drive to the RTMC in Pretoria and collect the letter fro m a guy called David. Took about 15 minutes once I was at the offices. Unless you have a spotless driving record don't bother to submit your old insurance letters to your new insurance as even one accident or claim regardless of fault in the last 2 years can mess up your record here. 

8.  Do you have any recommendations for furniture transport to Canada?

We used Peter at ITTA (international trade and transport agents) to get our items and Dogs to Canada. They were great and we spent about R26 000 for the  crates and R24 000 for 3 the dogs. We didn't bring much furniture and its worth knowing that when you buy rent a house it comes with a fridge, stove, washer and dryer. We were lucky ours also came with a dishwasher and microwave. Basically we had sentimental items, paperwork, my husbands gaming PC  (you need to replace the power source on PCS but with all his gaming stuff it was cheaper to bring it) and a few things like my le cruset that I didn't want to part with. We hit the dollarstore for all our utensils and IKEA for almost everything else except our bed which we wanted to be a Seally. IKEA was the most economical range of furniture that was solid wood (pine) as opposed to laminate woods stuff which doesn't last. We have started staining the pine now and its looking great. 

9.  Finally, the one thing I am most nervous about is getting my drivers licence over there.  You guys seemed to have done this with no hassle.  Please let me know how you do it, I have read you first have to do basically your learners again and then your drivers ?  How long does the entire process take.  I am petrified of having to do parrallel parking and alley docking over there on the other side of the road.... :unsure:

Finally driving.... Passing your learners is super easy (they call it a G1 or knowledge test). We got the book to study from at Shoppers Drug Mart for about $16 (they have a Shoppers on almost every corner its like clicks crossed with a small grocery store). You don't book the test you arrive early, take your pictures and hand in your experience letter and the write straight away. In Ontario you write at the Drive Test center its like an outsourced licensing department lines rival SA at this place but its unavoidable. You then book for your G test which can be a months waiting. Both my husband and I passed first time after a few lessons to learn parking. There is no alley docking. Parallel parking, three point turn and emergency stop is done on street in a back road which takes some pressure off). Its not as bad as you think it will be though. You just need a G1 to buy a car and then have someone with a G's license number for insurance (they don"t have any risk giving this and anything you do wont hurt their license).

I hope this helps some of you. 

 

 

Thanks so much for sharing - shed some light on a couple of things I was still concerned about.

I'll hopefully be landing early Oct, if all goes according to plan, and the intention would also be to stay in an AirBnb for about 2-3 weeks, until I can find an apartment to move into. Is it possible to rent an apartment there without having at least a couple of months worth of Canadian 'credit record/history'? I suspect, as most ad's list this, that they would need proof of income (payslips) and a clear credit record. Would the SA credit records suffice for an apartment lease? And how 'sticky' are most rentals regarding proof if income (since I suspect obtaining work in under a month would be wishful thinking :) ).

I also heard somewhere that one could get a 'clearance certificate' of sorts from the SA traffic dept. and then essentially have an equivalent Canadian license merely issued to you - is that true? Or do you have to go through the tests (as one would without previously having a license). I visited there recently and my SA license was sufficient for the rental company - might be a bit of a silly question, but if they accept the SA license, couldn't it be 'transferred', so to speak, to a Canadian equivalent? (as the SA license would inevitably expire) 

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Reibtseb
2 hours ago, Jeandre said:

Thanks so much for sharing - shed some light on a couple of things I was still concerned about.

I'll hopefully be landing early Oct, if all goes according to plan, and the intention would also be to stay in an AirBnb for about 2-3 weeks, until I can find an apartment to move into. Is it possible to rent an apartment there without having at least a couple of months worth of Canadian 'credit record/history'? I suspect, as most ad's list this, that they would need proof of income (payslips) and a clear credit record. Would the SA credit records suffice for an apartment lease? And how 'sticky' are most rentals regarding proof if income (since I suspect obtaining work in under a month would be wishful thinking :) ).

I also heard somewhere that one could get a 'clearance certificate' of sorts from the SA traffic dept. and then essentially have an equivalent Canadian license merely issued to you - is that true? Or do you have to go through the tests (as one would without previously having a license). I visited there recently and my SA license was sufficient for the rental company - might be a bit of a silly question, but if they accept the SA license, couldn't it be 'transferred', so to speak, to a Canadian equivalent? (as the SA license would inevitably expire) 

You will have to do a knowledge and driving test to get a full license. Your SA license is fine for 2 or 3 months, but by then you'll have needed to get a Canadian one. In BC, the knowledge test was ridiculously easy, and the driving test was stressful, but not bad since they know you have an existing license, and in my case at least, they just wanted to see that I know how to drive safely (no parallel parking, emergency braking, or pulling over).

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LidiaS77
Posted (edited)
45 minutes ago, Reibtseb said:

You will have to do a knowledge and driving test to get a full license. Your SA license is fine for 2 or 3 months, but by then you'll have needed to get a Canadian one. In BC, the knowledge test was ridiculously easy, and the driving test was stressful, but not bad since they know you have an existing license, and in my case at least, they just wanted to see that I know how to drive safely (no parallel parking, emergency braking, or pulling over). 

This is correct. If you come to live in Canada your SA license will be valid for 90 days only. During this time you have to do the knowledge and driving test to get your Canadian license, otherwise you will have to do all the tests from scratch as if you were a new Canadian driver which can take a couple of years. As far as I understand the reason why there isn't any parallel parking etc. is because that is part of the "Novice" test which is much harder. Luckily we get to skip that test and go to the final test (called "Class 5" in BC) which is much easier and just involves driving and reversing into a parking spot at the end.

3 hours ago, Jeandre said:

I also heard somewhere that one could get a 'clearance certificate' of sorts from the SA traffic dept. and then essentially have an equivalent Canadian license merely issued to you - is that true?

There are certain countries that can have their driver's licenses converted to a Canadian license without doing any tests but unfortunately South Africa is not one of those countries. The letter that you are referring to is also known as an RTMC Confirmation Letter. We never needed this letter for anything, neither to prove previous driving experience nor to buy a car and get car insurance. This is for BC specifically and might be different for other provinces. Another important letter is one from your SA car insurance that states that you have not had an at-fault claim with them. This might help to reduce your car insurance significantly if you do decide to buy a car.

Also, you don't need to get an International License at all, this won't be needed for anything in Canada.

Edited by LidiaS77

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LidiaS77
Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, Jeandre said:

Is it possible to rent an apartment there without having at least a couple of months worth of Canadian 'credit record/history'? I suspect, as most ad's list this, that they would need proof of income (payslips) and a clear credit record. Would the SA credit records suffice for an apartment lease? And how 'sticky' are most rentals regarding proof if income (since I suspect obtaining work in under a month would be wishful thinking :) ).

We were able to rent an apartment here without a Canadian credit record, but we were able to prove that both of us were still working for our South African company so we had a steady income. Different rental companies that we looked at had different requirements. Some insisted that we show "Canadian ties" such as a Canadian bank account (which is possible to open from SA already) and some (most I think) asked for a letter from previous landlords that says you always paid your rent etc. As far as I remember nobody really cared about our SA credit history, but it might still be a good idea to get a document like that as your experiences might be different.

I hope this helps! 🙂

Edited by LidiaS77

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JohanR
13 minutes ago, LidiaS77 said:

This is correct. If you come to live in Canada your SA license will be valid for 90 days only. During this time you have to do the knowledge and driving test to get your Canadian license, otherwise you will have to do all the tests from scratch as if you were a new Canadian driver which can take a couple of years. As far as I understand the reason why there isn't any parallel parking etc. is because that is part of the "Novice" test which is much harder. Luckily we get to skip that test and go to the final test (called "Class 5" in BC) which is much easier and just involves driving and reversing into a parking spot at the end.

There are certain countries that can have their driver's licenses converted to a Canadian license without doing any tests but unfortunately South Africa is not one of those countries. The letter that you are referring to is also known as an RTMC Confirmation Letter. We never needed this letter for anything, neither to prove previous driving experience nor to buy a car and get car insurance. This is for BC specifically and might be different for other provinces. Another important letter is one from your SA car insurance that states that you have not had an at-fault claim with them. This might help to reduce your car insurance significantly if you do decide to buy a car.

Also, you don't need to get an International License at all, this won't be needed for anything in Canada.

For Ontario, if you cannot show the driving experience via the official RSA government letter, you start as a new driver. Doesn't matter if you are 19 or 60, you will have to do G1(Learners written test) and after one year can get your G2 (Entry level License which does not allow you to drive on the highway alone). After one year you can go and do your full G license.

 

You do full driving test, parking, emergency stops etc.

Jeandre, if you are going to be in Ontario, get the driving record and be prepared for a full drivers test. You can then immediately after passing your G1 book for a full G license 

 

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LaraDK
On 8/8/2018 at 11:58 AM, LaraDK said:

@TheronI can definitely say avoid the one on Rylander!! They are a real mess. I am going to try the one in Oshawa this week/early next week and will report back. It is further out from Toronto, but I am hoping it will be like renewing your licence is SA - go to the smallest place away from the CBD ....

 

The Oshawa centre was much better! Staff were friendly, professional and efficient. It was quite busy (maybe 50 people when I arrived), but I was out of there in 20 minutes. Got my driving experience credited and booked my road test for the end of next month (about a 6 week wait for a test date at the moment).

Now just to sort out the PR card ... they keep asking for photos but won't tell me what is wrong with the ones I am sending that are exactly conforming to their specifications ....:huh:

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JohanR

On the rentals in the GTA (houses) if they have a issue with you not being able to show payslips,/ credit they may ask for more than the standard first and last month as a show of good faith. All depends on the landlord.

 

Not sure on the  apartments though but believe they are a bit simpler

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LaraDK

Re: rentals - they are not allowed to ask for more than first and last month's rent upfront. They can ask for post-dated cheques for the whole tenancy period, but the new law seems to imply that you do not have to agree to this. On the upside, my bank gave me 100 cheques when I opened my account - what a novelty!

I have just signed a lease, so been doing lots of research! Bear the following in mind:

  • Most landlords will want a credit report, so get a bank account set up asap so you can build up your score quickly.
  • You will also need tenant's insurance to cover your contents and personal liability (Can another forumite advise on cost? I am still waiting for quotes).
  • Most ads say they want payslips, employment letter, etc. I have found landlords to be a little more flexible in person, although I am not looking in the CBD so not sure if people are just more chill in the suburbs :D
  • Make sure to ask about ALL the extra costs, apart from rent. For example - utilities included? (sometimes shared with other tenants, like if you rent the top level of a house, and the other people are in the basement unit), is the geyser included (seems to be rented here on some houses, and on a few listings the tenant would pay the rental cost), and of course, if renting in a house, how much sidewalk is there? (You would be responsible for shoveling the snow).

Hope this helps!

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JohanR

@ LaraDk, Sorry I guess I should rephrase the 6 month rent as in you could offer more that the 2 months if that is the property you want. We looked at some really nice properties but as we did not have much on credit the landlord was not keen to sign. Even though we had sufficient funds to prove our liquidity

 

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JohanR

@ LaraDk, where did you lease?

 

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LaraDK

@JohanR  I rented in Pickering.

 

@Jeandre I also found what JohanR mentioned re: apartments being simpler to rent. Basement flats seem to be the easiest to rent at short notice. 

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Jeandre
17 hours ago, LidiaS77 said:

This is correct. If you come to live in Canada your SA license will be valid for 90 days only. During this time you have to do the knowledge and driving test to get your Canadian license, otherwise you will have to do all the tests from scratch as if you were a new Canadian driver which can take a couple of years. As far as I understand the reason why there isn't any parallel parking etc. is because that is part of the "Novice" test which is much harder. Luckily we get to skip that test and go to the final test (called "Class 5" in BC) which is much easier and just involves driving and reversing into a parking spot at the end.

There are certain countries that can have their driver's licenses converted to a Canadian license without doing any tests but unfortunately South Africa is not one of those countries. The letter that you are referring to is also known as an RTMC Confirmation Letter. We never needed this letter for anything, neither to prove previous driving experience nor to buy a car and get car insurance. This is for BC specifically and might be different for other provinces. Another important letter is one from your SA car insurance that states that you have not had an at-fault claim with them. This might help to reduce your car insurance significantly if you do decide to buy a car.

Also, you don't need to get an International License at all, this won't be needed for anything in Canada.

Thanks Lidia. I managed to get hold of the RTMC guys and request a driving record confirmation letter. Is the SA drivers license also only valid for a 90 day period in Ontario (and not until it expires)?

17 hours ago, JohanR said:

For Ontario, if you cannot show the driving experience via the official RSA government letter, you start as a new driver. Doesn't matter if you are 19 or 60, you will have to do G1(Learners written test) and after one year can get your G2 (Entry level License which does not allow you to drive on the highway alone). After one year you can go and do your full G license.

 

You do full driving test, parking, emergency stops etc.

Jeandre, if you are going to be in Ontario, get the driving record and be prepared for a full drivers test. You can then immediately after passing your G1 book for a full G license 

 

Thanks Johan. I'll be in Hamilton at first, early October, and in all likelihood remain in Ontario - GTA area. I'm assuming the full test would be similar to that in SA - in that you would need to use your own vehicle which the instructors drives along in? Is it also as 'silly' as the SA test with the 'K-53' methods of not crossing arms, checking every side street as you pass over it, 360-deg observation on pull away, etc? 

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Jeandre
17 hours ago, JohanR said:

On the rentals in the GTA (houses) if they have a issue with you not being able to show payslips,/ credit they may ask for more than the standard first and last month as a show of good faith. All depends on the landlord.

 

Not sure on the  apartments though but believe they are a bit simpler

I see the 'split basement type' apartments are quote popular - typically something I would look for at first. Would it be better, in this case with a 'lack of' credit history to rent directly from a landlord or rather use a rental agency/real estate company? I suspect one could, as a worst case if they're quite sticky with the credit history/payslips/etc, possibly 'prepay' a few months in advance, as a sign of good faith (albeit quite risky from my/tenant perspective)?

17 hours ago, LaraDK said:
  • Most landlords will want a credit report, so get a bank account set up asap so you can build up your score quickly.
  • You will also need tenant's insurance to cover your contents and personal liability (Can another forumite advise on cost? I am still waiting for quotes).

@LidiaS77 also mentioned setting up a bank account in the meantime, from SA - I take it RBC is the best bet for 'new comers'?

Is the tenant's insurance a mandatory requirement, or similar to the usual 'household contents insurance' in SA - ie: optional.

17 hours ago, LaraDK said:
  • Most ads say they want payslips, employment letter, etc. I have found landlords to be a little more flexible in person, although I am not looking in the CBD so not sure if people are just more chill in the suburbs :D

Could one use reference letters from SA rental agency's and possibly SA credit reports as supporting docs when you don's have payslips or employment letters? The intention would be to stay in an Airbnb for a few weeks until I find an apartment, however, I seriously doubt I would have found work in those first few weeks - would be great, but wishful thinking nonetheless. And remaining in an Airbnb for an extended period of time would break the bank, so to speak.

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LidiaS77
Posted (edited)
8 hours ago, Jeandre said:

Is the SA drivers license also only valid for a 90 day period in Ontario (and not until it expires)?

Looks like it's only valid for 60 days in Ontario. You can read the official rules here: https://www.ontario.ca/page/exchange-out-province-drivers-licence

8 hours ago, Jeandre said:

@LidiaS77 also mentioned setting up a bank account in the meantime, from SA - I take it RBC is the best bet for 'new comers'?

Is the tenant's insurance a mandatory requirement, or similar to the usual 'household contents insurance' in SA - ie: optional

We are with RBC and they're great. It is possible to open a bank account with them before arriving in Canada, but involves couriering certain documents and if you deposit money you don't have access to it until you arrive in Canada. We opened our accounts within a few days of landing and received excellent service and advice. We also bank with Tangerine. They offer good interest rates, low transaction fees, sign-up bonuses etc. but you can't transfer internationally (so has to go through RBC first in our case).

In BC the tenant's insurance is mandatory, but it's only something like $100-$200 a year for a 1 bedroom apartment (can't remember the exact amount). I'm not sure about Ontario. We are renting our apartment through Capreit and are very happy with them. We found them to be very helpful in the beginning and also one of the most willing to rent to newcomers who weren't there in person yet. Like I mentioned before though, we could prove that we had steady jobs.

Edited by LidiaS77

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LaraDK

@Jeandre it took me an hour or so to set up my accounts after I landed and a few days for the funds transfer to clear, so not a huge issue to sort it out once you get here. I also used RBC and they were great. 

Tenants insurance: i don’t know if it is legally compulsory but lots of landlords seem to insist on it and it is about $30 a month. It includes liability insurance (Ontario). Will be cheaper in a one bedroom flat - that was the quote I got for a main level rental (other tenants in basement apartment).

Bring references and the insurance reports with, although it did not lower my insurance premiums at all but the landlords liked the reference letters. 

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