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Experience of a Canadian EB-2 & Montreal Processing
First I want to say how extremely frustrating it is to research employment based “green card immigration” as most sites and forums seem to cater to green card immigration through marriage (particularly American guys marrying British women : )

My wife and I are both professionals however our case was based on my credentials under the extrornary ability category (EB-2.) We have been living in the United States for 4 years in both TN and H-1B status. We elected consular processing as we were both born in Canada and heard that we could shave a year off the application.

Here is the timetable of processing:

May 2002 I-140 submitted EB-2 does not require labor certification
April 2002 Package 2 and fee’s collected
June 2nd 2003 receive package 3 from NVC
June 6th Drive to Ontario boarder town for police certificates
June 9th Submitted package 3
August 27th 2003 receive package 4 from NVC
August 29th 2003 medical interview in Toronto
September 29th 2003 interview set at Montreal consulate

Some tips regarding package three and four:

1.) Canadian police certificates. This was the most convoluted parts of the application. One needs to submit a police a certificate and two kinds exist in Canada A.) fingerprint based and B.) non finger print based. The finger print based application can take up to 4 months as Canadian buercracy means it must be processed in Ottawa. Non-finger print certificates are accepted in NVC and can be had by visiting any RCMP detachment during business hours. NVC really pushes one to go the “mail Ottawa - wait 4 months route “ however it is WELL worth it to drive up to a boarder town as waiting and holding up package 3 seems insane. Alternatively you could be proactive and apply a few months before you expect package 3 – however this is a gamble as the certificates are only good for one year.

2.) Montreal processing requires a medical examination by a certified doctor in Canada. INS doctors in US cannot be used. Frustrating if you are H1-B and live in the US. Also be prepared to carry your chest x-ray to the interview –not sure why but they like you to have it.

3.) Also for package 4 - if you live in the United States be very careful how your pictures are taken. Unless you live in New York or a high immigrant center the passport photographers will not know how to take a proper ADIT photograph. I cannot tell you the fighting I had with the guy who took my picture – he totally blew off the rules and my head was too large. I made him retake the pics and thankfully so, as the boarder person had his ruler out and measured. My advice is to bring a ruler to your photo session – have them expose 2 pictures – then measure – and expose two more and then measure. A good rule of thumb is to have them stand back one step where they normally take a passport photo. Ear and 3/4 ADIT profile a must.

Montreal Experience

I’ve read many experiences of being processed through Montreal and have to say the rules and procedures have changed. The NVC package 2 collects all fees via US money order and Package three collects most of the evidence. Beyond ones medical report, recent tax information, and passports the consulate seems to have all the evidence they need to process ones visa. It was total overkill for us to bring tax statements from 2000 and 2001, bank balance statements, and even wedding photographs as one thread suggested (we’ve been married for 5 years). A caveat however - our experience applies to Montreal processing and EB-2 – your green card application may have different rules. I was told by the consulate that they do support the new procedures as NVC prep work makes everyone’s job easier.

The actual visit to the consulate was fairly painless. Appointments for these visas seem to be at 8:30AM and it is critical for one to arrive at least 45 minutes prior as it is first come first serve. We found the office to be very efficient and well run and efficient. Ensure you have your passports and appointment letter ready, as you will need to show this to at least 4 different people before you hit the first interview window.

Our other tips while at the consulate

- Do not bring electronic items including cell phones as they will not be allowed on the 19th floor
- Bring a newspaper or book as the wait can be a little long
- Don’t over dress – and wear comfortable shoes. I saw a guy who looked very uncomfortable wearing tight dress shoes and a tie. Being comfortable, calm and prepared seems more important than looking like you are going for a job interview.

Once searched we were sent up to the 19 floor and to a specific window. At that window we were given a number (you’re number for the day) and waited for the first document review. The first document review confirms who is with you at the interview, your identity and that you have submitted all the documents. They asked us for our 2002 tax returns at this stage. After going to our first window we waited about 20 minutes for the actually interview. The interview was straight forward – oath and a few questions. The woman who interviewed us was apologetic about the delays and said she would get us out quickly. Within a half hour we were called to the final window, received the visa and were handed two sealed envelopes. The whole consulate process took an hour and a half.

We decided to drive to Toronto and go through Buffalo crossing for our I-551 stamp and paperwork submittal. Boarder processing was the longest part of the whole process, taking over two hours as we must have had a new person processing us. He told us that the cards could take 10 mouths to print and to be patient (I’ve heard that thanks to system improvements people are seeing cards within a month). The day after I went to the social security office and filed for the restrictions to be removed of our cards using the SS-5 forms. Also informed employer and filled out an I-9 form.

A year and a half over a thousand dollars worth of fees, three trips to Canada and tons of stress but we have our I-551 stamps and green card I can say very much worth it!
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