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Visa Stamping from Canada/Mexico

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DS 160 form for another city
Hey guys,

my DS 160 form was submitted for Vancouver, but I have an earlier appointment in Canada. Can I still use the same DS 160 form? Has anyone done it before?
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Experience - L1 Renewal in Guadalajara, Mexico
I did not see significant # of entries for a Mexico stamping experience so here goes my own
> Background: L1A blanket renewal - first time in Mexico (original L1 issued outside India)

> Why Mexico?
a) I realized during my research on the renewal/stamping that Canada is an oft chosen place for these renewals and most of the visa appointments are exhausted till April/May 2020. Given upcoming international business travels, i did not want to wait that long for getting the renewals in place

b) Mexico doesnt need a visitor visa. They allow current H1/L1 and i heard F1 too....holders to get across for visa renewal/stamping provided your existing visa is valid for you to reenter the states. Since most of the visa stamping processes happen between a week & a months' time, if your current visa is valid for a month from the appointment, you are good to enter Mexico

c) There are multiple places across Mexico and many of them are apparently pleasant & easy to get an appointment with. I went to Guadalajara due to my employers recommendations. There are better places if you can make a choice - Monterrey, Nogales, Motomaros to name a few. If it was my individual choice i would have chose one of these but i went with Guadalajara & honestly it was a good experience

11th Feb - Flew in from my current US location into Guadalajara, Mx because from where i live in CA, it is a shorter flight. Checked into one of the Marriott properties and waited for the next 2 days

12th Feb (Wed) - Biometrics at 730 AM. It is in a place which is like our VFS collection centers in India. Away from the consulate, a local bank branch type ground floor setup. I reached at 710 AM, stood in the line for 15 mins before being ushered into the center. You CAN CARRY your mobile phone inside as long as it is switched off. There is a small reception which checks your DS 160 & the Passport (you dont need anything else) & sends you off to another line for your photograph/biometrics. The process is standard and i was out by about 8 AM. Rest of the day was spent waiting for the next day! :)

13th Feb (Thu) Morning - Personal appearance at 815 AM. The consulate is in a semi-residential area and is not as fancy as certain other consulates one might have seen in other countries including India. I reached the area around 740 AM. Since i was alone for this stamping (my family is going for it later), i took my phone for the appointment just to see where i can keep it. I was clear that the worst case scenario is that i will have to pay some $$ to some storekeeper near the consulate and have it in safe custody. Thankfully there is a LOCKER FACILITY right adjacent to the consulate which charges 40 Mexican Pesos for a day. It is a clean, simple, professional service that you can rely on. The line to the consulate is a SINGLE FILE line which doesnt consider when you came in, so i was somewhere in the 75 to 100th position given people were standing from possibly 7 am! The Consulate opens at 8 AM. By the time i was let in it was about 845 AM but they reassured me in their hesitant english that it was fine & i can get in anytime of the day for the appointment (so much for the appointment selection :))

13th Feb Morning: Inside the consulate - It looks like a large patio in front of a house or a better example is a "shamiana setup inside the gates of a large bungalow" except that this was with a tin/asbestos type roof! It is a large area where you see the 10 to 11 interview counters behind the protective glasses to your left, a seating & area for lines to queue up & the bathrooms/vending machine/water & a cashier counter before you exit out on to the right. Simple setup which looks like ONE LARGE HALL/BALL ROOM, out in the open!

Process:
1) Pre-screen: A small table with 3 or 4 folks is setup as soon as you come out of the security screening and enter the large hall. These folks receive your documents & in my case gave a small handwritten token number and asked me to sit in one of the green chairs behind them. I saw multiple lines of people (around 300 of them) all going to the different interview counters
2) Verification: Another gentleman came & asked for the document set. They dont care what your company has sent or what you have put together, all they needed from me were 3 sets of the first 8 pages of the I129 and the employer letter which is like a cover letter/offer letter/deputation letter whatever is your case. He asked me to wait right there & came back in about 10 minutes asking me to head to the right side counter (explained earlier) to pay the fees with a cashier
3) Payment: The cashier was a friendly woman who engaged in chit-chat & i ended up paying the fees. She mentioned that they see about 1500 people on most days and anyday if it falls below 1000, it is a light day! :)
4) Biometric Verification: Post payment, i was asked to join the snaking line on Counter 10 or 11 (i was given a choice) & it went to the front where essentially a lady scanned your DS160 barcode & asked you to register your handprints. Once done, she asked me to join the other snaking line that was now getting to the actual interview counters. Remember - counters 10 & 11 when i was there were purely for biometrics & one HAS TO go through that verification before joining the other line which takes you to the visa officer
5) The Interview: After waiting in the line for about 10-15 minutes, appeared in front of the visa officer. The questions in my case were pretty standard including whether i do the same job, whether i came for this stamping & why i didnt choose an in-country renewal & the likes. The officer was very friendly which was a surprise because just before my reaching the counter, I saw the earlier person being chided at the counter & got her visa refused :-O
6) The (not a big) Surprise: The officer mentioned that as part of the STANDARD PROCESS, i will receive a set of questions that i should answer as soon as possible for the officer to process the visa further. The officer did say that everything seemed in order in my case & it should not flag anything up but once i answer/everything goes through, i can collect the passport in 3 or 4 days. I was asked to confirm the email id of choice which i did
7) Close & exit: I was given the signed/dated I129 with the extension approved on the document but the passport still with the consulate. I was told to track it online in the MX Visa website. I thanked the officer & exited the consulate
Time of exit: 10:15 AM

Post Interview:
13th Feb AFTERNOON - reached back at the hotel & waited for the mail from the consulate. It eventually turned up in my inbox pretty soon - around 1130 AM local time with the from address that did say 221g, so dont be surprised if you receive it after your interview. It is a 221g & it is Administrative Processing
I responded to that with details - there were 28 questions & in my case it was a PAIN because i have done extensive travels, lived out of different countries, worked with different employers - over the last 15 years. It took a lot of time for me & i sent the reply by 330 PM local time

13th Feb EVENING - checked the status online & found that it was listed as "Application Received" or something to essentially say that you can schedule an interview and if your interview is over, wait for a couple of days to get an update

14th Feb MORNING - around 1030 AM, the status changed to "Administrative Processing" with some very uncomfortable text which i believe is standard. It said things like the processing can take multiple months & if it is approved will come through in 7 to 10 days & so on. Essentially very discouraging words to see except that it has moved to the next stage

14th Feb MORNING - around 1100 AM, i refreshed again just to see if there is any chance of getting anything. Presto, the status got changed to ISSUED with a message that i should await an update from DHL on my courier status

!4th Feb - rest of the friday went in trying to refresh the Mexico visa page to check if DHL updated anything. There was NONE

15th Feb - Since i had chosen a thursday for the PA and the visa technically got issued on friday, i had very little hope that i would receive the passport on saturday. I had anyways done the return booking for monday evening

15th Feb/16th Feb - Roamed around Guadalajara to an artisan village, some food, some basic sightseeing etc. I am not big on taking in the sights so if you are interested, you can spend a couple of days looking around places. If you have pointed questions, just send a message!

17th Feb - Around 10 AM, status got updated as PICKED UP by DHL. Now the rest of the day was spent in hounding DHL local office & landing around 4 PM to collect it from them before heading to the airport for the return flight

In summary,
The Good - Mexico is a beautiful country and its around 80 degrees F around this time, so if someone likes the heat & wants to see some sights, book yourself into a stamping experience there. There are no visa constraints & people are friendly. The food options are very diverse and their cuisine cannot be complained about (unless you are a vegan/vegetarian in which case - good luck, yo!)

The Bad - Guadalajara is like the size of Faridabad or mini-Pune if that even makes sense. It is like a category B/C city in India for reference purposes in terms of how the infrastructure is. Apparently it is a medium risk place & my travel flagged security advisory within my company. I am an Indian, made of stuff other nationalities might not have seen but i sincerely adhered to their advise! :). The UBER rides which i used were reliable & safe but none of them put the aircon up so it is a sweaty ride at all times & dusty too! There arent too many places to take your family to if you get there as multiple people....the hotel though nice is not somewhere where you can stay holed up for multiple days!

The Weird - The 221g is likely to happen in 90%+ of the cases, so be prepared when you get there. Be ready with your responses & details like your 15 year emails, phone numbers, addresses you lived & travel outside your country of residence including short trips/dates. These take the maximum time & you should not be spending too much time in responding to it when it comes. Ensure that you factor additional time into the schedule for staying there. If you have a child or medications that you consume, plan your supplies accordingly. If it works for you, take up a Residence Inn type property so that you can take care of the stay based on your preference. Also, if you are the one for adventure, plan those additional days to possibly go to Puerto Vallarta or Tequila etc so that it eases your mind from waiting for the passport delivery

Use Uber, stay in a decent hotel, carry Mexican pesos for small expenses ($200 to $300 equivalent without any side holiday plans) & dont roam around in the late evenings outside of places like say city center/where there is population, stay aware & vigilant of your valuables/documents

Viva Mexico! Long Live the USA! Jai Hind :))
All Replies (1)
Visa appointment in Vancouver
Hi All. I live in the US and I wanted to go to Vancouver for my Visa stamping in May with my wife and daughter. I filled my DS160 forms and When I try to schedule the interview, I do not see any appointments available in any city in Canada. It says "There are no available appointments at this time. Please check back in a few days as the Consular Section will open more appointments."

I understand they are not encouraging people to come to Canada from another country for the stamping.

1. I do have a Canadian PR for which landing proceedings are already done with cards in hand. Does that make any difference in the option you check before you create your profile in the Visa appointment system?
2. Can I create a profile with an address in Canada and then book the appointment? Has anybody tried this option?
3. I have a 4-year-old who is a US-born and the citizen. Can we take her to the visa interview though there is no DS160 form filled for her?

Thank you for your time in reading through this. Any feedback you may have is greatly appreciated.
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Can Indian living in Canada get H1b to move to USA?
Hello, where do you think I can get more information regarding this. I am an Indian citizen living in Canada for the past 3 years. Came for my Master's and now on a work permit doing a job. I am considering moving to USA for a job. Is it possible to get an H1b while I am on a Canadian work permit? Does getting a Canadian PR would help the case for H1b?
The only concern about PR I have is, after I get Canadian PR, if I did not meet the requirements for the PR extension if I move to USA, can I apply for the PR later again? Or is it better not to take a PR and then move to USA and apply for a PR some years down the road?
Any advice or help is much appreciated. Thanks.
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Help on PR without residency going for stamping
I have canada PR from 4+ years and my PR card will expire in Jan 2021. I went to Canada for my PR landing in 2016 for 1 day and came back to USA. I have not lived in Canada and have been in USA for 10+ years.
Now I am going to H1b visa stamping in Vancouver.
I don't meet the residency requirements of PR- so should I fly to Vancouver or do land border crossing?
Can Canadian officer stop me from entering canada?
in case i find a super diligent Canadian officer- they can calculate i will never meet the residency so can they ask me to voluntary give up my PR or what can they ask/say?
what are my risks and options?

Help please
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Montreal first time h1b stamping Feb 2020
Hi everyone,
Thanks a lot for sharing your experiences. It has helped me a lot to prepare myself for my interview, Its time for me to share my experience. Hope it helps someone --

We have never been outside of the US after we came here. This was our first time H1b stamping In montreal in Feb 2020. Me my husband and my 3 year old (he is a US citizen) had been to the stamping together.

Reached the consulate at 12.20 - They dont allow even 10 minutes early. We were told to go back and come at 12.30 our appointment time.

At 12.30 they let us in. First counter they checked our passport and DS160. They gave us a orange slip which you will submit at each counter and they update the timings on it. Immedietly after u finish the first counter, it is followed by security check where you are asked you take out your jackets and belts. (There is no place to keep jackets/caps anywhere. You need to have it with you all throughout). We did not carry our phones.

After that you are asked to go to the first floor where they will take your photo, Orange slip. I797 and passport. Once everything is verified, you will be asked to go to another counter for finger printing.

Once finger printing is done, you will be made to wither stand in a queue or sit on chair depending on rush for your Visa interview.

Question asked during interview:
1) Asked for marriage certificate
2) Highest education degree
3) Where do we work
4) Job title.

Both of us were asked questions at the same time. After that came the magic words - Visa approved. It was very easy go and the officer was also very good. Totally it took about an hour and we were done.

Our interview was on Tuesday at 12.30. after the interview status changed to Administrative processing. Wednesday afternoon the status changes to issued and we got a notification with our passport being shipped. Thursday at 10.30 am the passport was ready to be picked up from the post office.

Some other details:
1) We stayed at an airbnb in downtown.
2) Parking close to consulate - 1245 Stanley Street. Its just 2min walk.
3) Right close to coonsulate there is a coffee center where you can wait before the interview.
4) Kids are allowed. We dint have any issue taking our 3 year old.
5) PP pickup - Montreal B passport office at 800 Rene Levesque.
6) We drove to Montreal so while coming back we were asked to go to the office. The officer again asked few questions like where we work and how long its been. He then gave us a paper I-94.

Overall it was a good experience. let me know if anyone has any questions.
 
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Feb 13th Visa Interview in Toronto
Hey, Does anyone attending visa interview in Toronto on Feb 13th got their passport back? Mine was approved, status changed to issued next day. However I did not receive any courier/shipping details to date to collect the passport. I wonder how others are doing.
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Toronto stamping
So giving it back to the community by sharing my experience.
Indian Citizen doing first H-1B stamping in Toronto, CA

Oct 1: Change of Status becomes effective and status changes to H-1B

A lot of people advised me to go to my home country for first stamping but I decided to take a chance.

Oct 30: Filled in DS-160 and picked the latest available date of Feb-6 in Toronto US consulate
Oct 30: Applied for Canada tourist visa (used a family member in Canada as inviter)

Canada visa approved in a couple of weeks.

Feb 5: Landed in Toronto with all documents. Stayed with a friend. Did a recce of the consulate location.

Feb 6:
Appointment was at 8:15. Reached by 7:45. NO cell phones or electronics. Just have a folder with all your documents. Wallet is okay.
Airport style security check
(Hopefully my memory is correct here)
First counter: Provide your PASSPORT_SIZE_PHOTO. They will scan it and put your passport and I-797 receipt notice in a blue folder and give you the folder.
Second counter: Biometrics
Third counter: Visa officer
VO asks 3 or 4 questions like:
* What do you do at your job?
* Where did you go to school?
* What was your research field?
He kept typing a lot and a lot and a lot.
Then he hands back the I-797, keeps the passport with himself and tells me "Everything looks ok. You should get the passport back in a few days. You can track the status online". I exit the consulate.
Total time in consulate: 15 mins

You would be checking the status here: https://ceac.state.gov/CEACStatTracker/Status.aspx

Feb 7: Says "Administrative processing" followed by some standard legal terminology like "can take several weeks or longer"

Feb 10: Status changed to "Issued", and says I will get a tracking info in 5 days

Feb 11: Email with tracking number from US embassy

Feb 12: Email from Canada Post says "ready to pickup from location X". I had given 26 Hale Rd, Brampton as a pickup location since I heard people in forums say that it's the fastest. I don't have info to corroborate or contradict this. At a few places I had received communication that I had to pick up from a "Loomis" location, but mine ended up in the Canada Post office. I didn't bother to dig deeper

Feb 12: Picked up passport from Brampton Canada Post Office.

After a few days, back in the US.
There's a pre-clearance facility in Toronto Pearson Airport. So immigration was seamless as well. Hit me up with any questions you may have
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Ottawa stamping
Wife and I had expired visa stamps (H1B) which needed to get renewed.

Drove from Chicago to Canada (with wife and 2 kids), crossed at Port Huron, MI into Canada. At port of entry into Canada officer asked for passports, Canada visa stamp, but also asked for proof of USA valid status. Luckily had 797 handy (not in the trunk) so showed him that.

Officer: Where do you live?
Me- Illinois
Offiver: all of you?
Me- Yes
Officer: where you headed?
Me- visiting friends in Toronto tonight and then to Ottawa
Officer Whats in Ottawa?
Me- US visa stamping appointment.

Handed back our passports and we were on our way.

At the Ottawa consulate, Appointment was at 930am on 2/10 and a very snowy day. We reached at 915am per instructions and the guard asked us to come back at 930, which we did. Went through the security screening. At the first counter, some ladies were arranging documents,photo, 797 in passport, DS-160 confirmation etc. They asked what my status was in Canada, I said visitor visa. Once inside the interview room, in the first queue, at the first window, lady was validating all documents asked some basic questions like, history in the US, company worked for etc, then handed the documents bag and we went to the interview line.

Officer Who is applying for H1B?
Me- Me and wife
Officer: Who works for company XX?
Me: My wife
Officer then focused on her for the next couple of mins
Whats your salary?
Whats you highest level of education?
How long have you worked there?
Whats your position?

Then to me, same questions, since I have 2 MAsters degrees, she dug a little deeper
Officer: which fields are your Master's degrees in?
Me- Eng and management?
Officer what field of Engineering?
ME- Mechanical
Officer: did you do any research?
Me- (this was a surprise as its been 15 years since my Master's), recalling quickly said I did a research project but no Thesis.
Officer: OK visas are approved and passports will be ready in 3-4 days.

Passports were ready on the 3rd day.

Picked up passports and drove back to Chicago vis same route. At the port of entry
Officer: How many people on board?
Me- 4
Officer: Where you headed?
Me- Chicago
Officer_ how long you have lived there?
Me- 10 years
Officer- (wife had a new passport and a new visa stamp now). I don't see any stamps...?
Me- Handed him old passports
Officer- Cool, keep carrying these in the future. Drive safe. (handed all passports back)

In general, very smooth experience!
All Replies (7)
H1B Visa Interview- Vancouver
Hello,

Have interview on 9th March morning, is any have same day interview at Vancouver
Please let me know will call you,

Thanks
All Replies (4)

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