L1A Visa Stamping in Ottawa, Canada
This forum has been of immense help to me in preparing for my Visa interview, so it is only fair that I share my experience at the Ottawa consulate for L1A Blanket interview, for the benefit of everyone else inline.
Background: Already on L1A for 5 years; Instead of extension, applied for a fresh L1A Blanket
Interview Date: Sep 11, 2019, 0745 AM
Interview Date booked: July 2019
Arrived at 0715, gates opened at 0730. DS160 verified at the gate before entry. Usual security screening and was asked to go to Counter 1.
Counter 1: Document Verification, Fee payment; 2 sets of document requested along with PP, returned in a pouch.
Counter 4: Biometrics
Interview Counter: Expected to open by 0830, but was open by 0800. 5-10 minutes, 8-10 questions, Was told Approved and would get PP in 3-4 working days
Subject Matter: Are you with 'XYZ' employer, How long have you been with them, What is your role, Do you manage people directly, How many.
To Spouse: Are you working in US, do you plan to.
To Kids: Name and did I pronounce them correctly. Which grade.
Rhetorical: Where are you from (place in US), How do you find weather in Chicago and Ottawa, What places would you like to see in Canada.
Note of Caution:
1. Early morning appointments gets done faster. Mine was third and was in and out before 0900. Was told later ones went longer.
2. Hotel reservations. Quebec hotels would show up in search and would be deceptively named as Ottawa. Ottawa Embassy is on the border of Ontario and Quebec, just a bridge away. Quebec has NOT yet approved Rideshare companies (Lyft and Uber) and would have to rely on Taxis. Families with kids needing child seat beware, Taxi companies do not offer them. I rebooked myself into a Ottawa hotel just to make sure my 6 and 11 year olds can make it for appointment without worrying about child seat logistics.
3. Status didnt change on the website for Wednesday and Thursday, but received email on Thursday evening that the PP were going to be dispatched. Friday morning 10, received email confirming PPs available for pickup. Collect it from Ottawa B Post office in downtown.
4. I drove from Chicago with a 4 member family, crossed over in Detroit-Windsor tunnel, rode along to Ottawa, with stops in Niagara and Toronto. Return, was asked NOT to take Detroit CBP post, so crossed over through Rainbow Bridge in Niagara. Expect to get out of car and wait in the CBP building where you would be called by Agent to review PP/Visa and issue your Paper i94. Payment required which can also be done online prior.