This is going to be long, but I hope it is comprehensive.
In my previous post https://www.immihelp.com/experiences/post/regular-h1b-visa-interview-toronto-oct-4-2021-appointment-will-be-rescheduled-email-547703/
, I have explained how my H1B Visa Appointment for Oct 4, 2021 at Toronto US Consulate, got cancelled and that I am pursuing an Expedited Appointment. I was able to finish my EA for H1B Visa successfully, my visa is approved and below is my experience with the timelines.
I was previously working full-time my company from California, USA for 5 years uptil March 2020. I was relocated to the Canada branch, because I did not land the H1B lottery for 4 times. I have been working on Canada Closed Work Permit from March 2020 to now. March 2020 my company re-applied for my H1B and this time I was lucky. My profile was picked in the lottery and got approved in 20 days. I had planned to go back to USA on Oct 2020, but this was delayed because of Trump's Economic Travel Ban and COVID shutdowns. I have also parallely applied for Canada PR and it is in process.
March 2021: Booked for H1B Visa Interview at Toronto Consulate for Oct 4, 2021 after Biden administration opened it up.
Sept 2021 1st week: Applied for H1B Amendment in Premium Processing, due to location and salary change.
Sept 8, 2021: Received an email "Due to unforeseen reasons, the U.S. Consulate in Toronto will not process visa applications on 10/04/2021 at 07:45. For this reason, your appointment will be rescheduled to a different date." Called the Consulate and they confirmed that all appointments in Calgary and Toronto will be cancelled for the month. They asked me if I want to re-schedule, I said I will wait for any formal cancellation.
Sept 9, 2021 - Received the cancellation. Some others who had the appointment on the same day had theirs pushed to a later date Oct 8, 2021. Called the Consulate again. Got to know that for renewals for Canada PR Holders and/or Canadian Citizens, dropbox can be availed. Specific cases were also permitted contingent on answers to the questionnaire they will run through. View this post for more details https://www.immihelp.com/experiences/post/regular-h1b-visa-interview-toronto-oct-4-2021-appointment-will-be-rescheduled-email-547703/
. My profile did not qualify because mine was a fresh H1B application and not a renewal and I do not have a Canada PR.
Sept 10, 2021 - H1B Amendment Approved.
Sept 8 - 15, 2021 - Kept pinging the site for earlier appointments. Moved appointments for Sept 2022 to May 2022 to March 2022 to Feb 2022, to Dec 2021 to Toronto US Consulate. In parallel, worked with my team to put together a 500 word justification and a company letter substantiating why I would need to be in person to work on a COVID19 Project of National Interest (due to data compliance reasons), , why I am a critical resource, by when I should be within the US, how it would cost the company to not have me in US by that timeframe and the overall description and timeline of the projects. I consult on Health and Public Safety for Govt customers and am identified as a Project Manager for multiple of these engagements. So the reason was genuine and the projects are real. I do not work at the client location and work for my company that is providing consulting services. So my request is not specific to any project or client location. Submitted EA Request Justification. No attachments were asked in the portal.
Sept 17, 2021 - Expedited Appointment Request Approved.
Sept 20, 2021 - Received physical copy of my H1B Amendment Approval Receipt.
Sept 26, 2021 - Re-submitted new DS-160 Application with new H1B Amendment Receipt details. Print out the entire application as soon as you submit DS-160. This is available after you submit only for a couple of hours. The appln is helpful to see if you submitted wrong information. You can accordingly re-submit a DS-160 application. Call Center at Toronto US Consulate asked me to send an email to canada_contactus+ca+info+[email protected]
to update my Visa Appointment with new DS-160. Provided all the details in a email. Structure of my email is below. They acknowledged the receipt of my request the same day.
My name is X and I'm contacting you to request for a change of the DS-160 application number on my profile without changing my expedited appointment date at Toronto US Consulate.
Reason for DS-160 change: Updated H1B Amendment Receipt Number and Amendment Details
Below are the details of my case.
Date of birth:
Expedited Appointment Date:
Consular Section Location:
Visa Class: H1B
Current DS-160 on file:
New DS-160 to be updated to:
I have also attached the new DS160 Confirmation, Expedited Appointment Approval and Appointment Confirmation for your kind perusal and favorable consideration.
I would be extremely obliged if you could update my file with the new DS-160 number.
Do let me know if you need more information and I will be glad to provide the same.
Sept 27, 2021 - They auto-escalated my case for DS-160 update on my appointment.
Sept 28, 2021 - My Visa Appointment Scheduling system was updated to the new DS-160.
Sept 29 to Oct 7, 2021 - Prepared documentation for the interview.
Expedited Interview Approval
Expedited Interview Justification
DS160 Confirmation - New
DS160 Application - New - Print this out as soon as you submit DS-160. This is available after you submit only for a couple of hours. The appln is helpful to see if you submitted wrong information. You can accordingly re-submit a DS-160 application
H1B Amendment Approval Receipt
H1B Approval Receipt
Canada WPs - Original and Copy
LCA Packet H1B Amendment - New G-28 and LCA seperately stapled and in the front of the packet.
LCA Packet H1B Original - Old
Previous Passports with previous US Visas - Copy of US Visas
Offer Letter - Original and Copy
Verification of Employment
Paystubs - Last 6 months
COVID-19 Vaccinations - Copy of Record
Bank Statements - Last 6 months
Degree Certificates, Originals and Copy
I-20s for CPT Proof - Originals and Copy
Canada DL - Original and Copy
Old Offer Letters
Marriage Certificate, Original and Copy
Birth Certificate, Original and Copy
F1 I-20s - Original and Copy
EAD Cards - Original and Copy
US Tax Filing Proof
Canada Tax Filing - Original Copy
H1B Amendment Approval Notice
H1B Approval Notice
DS160 Confirmation - Old
DS160 Application - Old
Canada ITA and PR Application
One 5X5 Color Photo - last 6 months
Oct 5, 2021 - Email from Consulate with instructions for interview. Email titled “IMPORTANT: Your EMERGENCY U.S. Visa interview at the U.S. Consulate in Toronto”
Oct 7, 2021 - Attended Interview. Appointment was for 9:30am. I live 15 min (walking distance) away. Left with a plastic water bottle (easy to dispose) and all documents in a cloth tote bag along with my purse (8 inches wide) inside. Reached the Toronto US Consulate (Simcoe Street, it is on the back, not on the main street) at around 8:50am. Only one person was in front of me. Told the security guard that my appointment was at 9:30am, he asked me to proceed to enter. Approached the officer outside at 8:55am after finishing my water and throwing the bottle. I had no electronic goods, phones, watches, key fobs, car key fobs with batteries or other liquids on me. Dont bring any of these items. There are a couple of storage places nearby, but since I live closeby did not bring anything else with me.
- Outside - Officer verifies passport and DS160 Confirmation. Around 1.5 min
- Sent inside after verification
- Baggage scan and frisking. Couple of seconds
- Walked up a ramp to an officer who took my passport, verified the details and stuck a sticker behind it. Asked me to go to Counter 1. Around 2 min.
- Walked inside. There are a total of 10 counters. Counter 1 and 2 are for documentation prep. Only Counter 9 and 10 had Visa Officers at that time. At Counter 1, I provided my new DS-160 Confirmation Page, Canada Work Permit (Proof of legal status in Canada), H1B Amendment Approval Receipt, Recent Passport, Offer Letter,H1B Amendment LCA document (Specifically the filled G-28 and LCA Application form, not the entire packet. I asked them.). He also asked me to show the previous US Visas (I have 2 previous Student Visas and 1 B1/B2 Visa in my old passports). He returned the old passports. They did not ask me for the EA Justification Letter from my company. I however had it handy, just in case. All the documents I provided were put in a blue folder and given to me. He asked me to go to Counter 10. Around 2 min.
- At Counter 10, is where the interview happened. Below are the questions I was asked.
-- Scanned my DS-160 Confirmation Barcode.
-- Scanned my fingerprints. Four fingers left, four fingers right and two thumbs.
-- Took 20 sec to see my profile. They must have been able to see my justification in the system as well.
-- Where will you be working out of? - HQ is at X, I will be working out of a home office in Y.
-- What is your Title - Answered what was on my offer letter
-- What is your Salary? - Answered what was on my offer letter
-- What do you consult on? - Answered "GIS"
-- What is GIS? - Explained in one sentence
-- Can you give me an example of the utility of GIS. You can use an example - Answered that I work with the Health and Public Safety Consulting Division. Used a scenario in Disaster Management and explained how GIS is used in Planning, Response and Recovery phases.
-- He returned all the documents in the blue folder except for the Passport. He said "Good. Your visa is approved. You should recieve your passport in a week. You should receive an email when it is ready. Where do you live?" - Replied - "Oh you live nearby, you can pick it up from the document-pickup center you indicated in the appointment when it is ready." - I said - "Thank You. Have a Good Day"
-- Total ordeal at the counter was 30-45 secs.
- Left the Consulate premises at around 9:10. So a total of ~15 min inside. Found a line of 10 people outside.
Oct 7, 2021 - Came back home at around 9:30am, checked my DS-160 Status. It said "Administrative Processing"
Oct 8, 2021 - Email from Consulate. "U.S. DoS Visa system return travel document shipment notice". Same day notification from Canada Post titled "Confirmation of Shipment Details for Item: Tracink No: X"
Oct 9-11, 2021 - Canada Post Notification - Package shipped to Montreal and then back in Toronto.
Oct 12, 2021 - Canada Post - Package Ready for pickup. To pick up your parcel, show this email and your government issued photo ID with the same home address you used when you signed up for FlexDelivery. Someone else who lives at your address can pick up your package for you if they show their ID with the same address. Went to the Building. Go underground to PATH. Concierge will direct you. Found Canada Post at the far end, presented my Canada DL and the email with the barcode and got my passport.
So relieved!!!! Been waiting for 1.5 years for this closure. Will be travelling to US on Oct 21, 2021.
I hope this post is comprehensive and you find this helpful!!!!
Feel free to ask any relevant questions!!!!