Traveling from the Philippines to Canada: Flight and Immigration Experience | International Student
In April 2022, I flew from the Philippines to Canada less than two weeks from the start of my class. My family and I decided to book a direct flight because I’ll be traveling alone, and we don’t want to worry about the requirements of layover flights. We booked via PAL since they are the only local airline that offers a direct Manila to Vancouver flight.
Check out previous blog posts:
- What to bring from the Philippines to Canada | FREE Travel Checklist for Solo Female International Student
Sharing my Flight Experience + Questions and Documents asked by the Immigration Officers
Philippines: Check-in and Immigration Process, PAL Flight Experience
At the entrance of NAIA, I decided to ask for assistance to carry my baggage inside for the online baggage check-in through a porter. It costs 150 pesos. The guard at the entrance asked for my flight ticket confirmation before I was allowed to enter the airport. Then I went through an x-ray and put all my baggage inside the x-ray (the porter personnel helped me with this).
At the Online Check-In Bag Drop counter Line, the staff asked for proof of my online check-in. Once verified, he gave me a ‘Declaration release and waiver (for flights to and from Canada)’ to sign.
At the Online Check-In Bag Drop counter, the staff asked why I was traveling to Canada and requested the following documents:
- Travel Tax
The travel tax was not included in my flight cost, so I had to pay it in person. It costs 1,620 Php (they require the exact amount only). Then I went back to the staff to show the receipt. After that, she gave me the boarding pass. As I still had time before boarding, I went out of the airport to see my family for the last time.
When it was time for me to board, I went to the passenger’s entrance, did the x-ray for the second time, and went directly into the immigration as I had already done my check-in. Note that once you enter the immigration, you can no longer exit the airport.
The guard at the immigration gave me a Departure Card to fill out before standing in line.
The first (and only) immigration officer only asked me for three documents: LOA, Passport, and Boarding Pass. Then I went to the x-ray inside the immigration before I was allowed to go to my boarding gate.
The staff asked for three documents at the boarding gate: Vaccination Proof, Passport, and Boarding Pass. Then, I went for the third x-ray before I was allowed to stay in the waiting area for flight departure.
Philippines: PAL Flight Experience
The travel time from Manila to Vancouver is 12 hours straight. Philippine Airlines provides each passenger with a blanket, pillow, toothpaste, toothbrush, sleep eye mask, and socks. There is also a small screen at the front where a passenger can watch movies.
For Manila to Vancouver Flights, three meals were provided. This is the meal list during our flight:
Our flight departed on time and arrived 30 minutes earlier.
Canada: Immigration Experience
After we got off the plane, we were immediately asked to do a Kiosk. This is where one would scan their passport, take a photo, and answer a series of questions related to your travel, your purpose of staying in Canada, and the things you bring. Note that you’ll also be asked about the total number of days you’ll stay in Canada, so prepare this in advance.
At the first immigration, I was asked to present my passport, approval letter from IRCC, and LOA from my school. Then I was instructed to get my baggage at the carousel before proceeding to the second immigration to obtain my study permit.
At the second immigration, there was a line of people inside and outside their office. When I was inside, an officer asked for our passports and the purpose of our stay (work or study). After an hour or so, an officer in the cubicle called my name, asked for my full name and birthday, and gave me the study permit. Aside from those, I was not asked questions about my intent to stay in Canada or my study permit application. But there are cases where they ask this, so it’s better to be prepared and have the necessary documents.
Overall, I spent 2-3 hours in immigration before I got my study permit. I’m very lucky to have had a smooth and easy immigration experience.