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rako2012

Vancouver Visa Experience - Mar 1st

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Hello All,

I just wanted to post my experience going to Vancouver consulate (EVC model) on Mar 1st for visa stamping (F1 - H1ext)

Travel to Downtown from Airport - Cab (costs around 40-45$) or Skytrain (around 10$)

Accommodation - DaysInns downtown closest one to consulate (if you are not renting a car). They some time allow you for early check in if the room is available and late check out if you need it. It is just 2 blocks from consulate

On visa day - going early (1 hr or more) is not worth it as they make you stand in the line outside in the cold. Have your passport and DS-160 confirmation ready with you. No bags allowed. You can wear your winter coats or jackets. Dress appropriately. No suite or blazer needed.

As the line moves, you will first go through the security on the ground floor (by this time it might be half hour or 1 hr passed your appointment time). Make sure that you open any sealed envelopes given by your employer (even if they say it is confidential). They won't allow sealed envelopes inside the consulate.

On the next floor you will need to give your passport and i-797 and ds-160 confirmation to counter 1 where they verify your pims and other stuff and give you a token number. To be on the safe side send an email few days prior to coming here to vancouverNIV@state.gov (your appointment confirmation and i-797 asking for pims verification). You might not get any personalized response but just automated message. If the counter 1 - person doesn't find pims it will be noted on the ds-160 confirmation form.

Next you will be taken to 20th floor by the security (based on the token numbers). You will need to wait here. Counter 3 - calls your number to take your finger prints. Then you will be seated. Then wait for the Counter 4, 5 or 6 to call your number (displayed on screen). They are the visa officers.

Visa Counter 4 - Interview

1. How long with employer?

2. How long with client?

3. Masters in?

4. Which university?

5. Which client?

6. Previous client?

7. Any break between the client projects?

8. Asked for w2, lca, i129.

9. Work designation?

10. How do you communicate with your employer?

She was typing most of the time and looking something at the screen. Then came the golden words. Your visa got approved. I said thank you and asked how long it has been approved. She said till end of your h1b petition. Don't worry if your passport expires before your H1 approval. You will be issued visa stamping based on your h1 approval and not on your passport expiry date.

If you have any PIMS issue, Visa officer will notify you that and it might take few days to process that.

Visa officer kept my passport and I-797 with her. Visa officer also removed my I-94s as they were not removed when I left US by the flight authorities as I said I will stay for less than 30 days in Canada. Even if the visa officer doesn't remove your I-94 make sure that get a new I-94 when you come to US.

My interview took bit more time than 2 of my friends. Counter 5 and 6 are little more easy going than compared to Counter 4. All of our visas go approved.

They didn't ask any of us the client letters but be prepared to have all the required documentation ready (client letter, vendor letter, lca, w2s, I129, I797, Employer agreements, etc.) Heard cases where they issued 221g a day before. But most of the people I met (around 10-12) in daysinn and on appointment day got visas approved. This consulate is far better than other consulates but then it all depends on various factors including luck.

Collecting passport - Once a waybill number is generated you will be able to collect your passport from DHL Richmond (you can take a Cab or go by Skytrain). Waybill numbers will be generated the next day starting at 5:30 or so. DHL closes around 6 so you can try your luck there next day evening from 5:30. Out of 3 of us who went to the DHL (on Friday evening), one frd got his passport but unfortunately for other 2 of us the waybill numbers were generated after 6:15 or so and DHL closed at that time. So had to pick up on Monday. This is the only system that is bad. Try checking for email in spam. If you don't get email try checking on the csc website for the waybill number. It should come from Loomis (DHL and Loomis is the same).

Flying back to US - If you are flying directly back to US from Vancouver, one good thing is they do the customs and immigration here at Vancouver airport only so you don't have to worry about your connection flight times. The immigration officers ask you couple of questions and give you a new I-94.

Other info - make sure to inform your credit cards before traveling. Discover is not accepted in most places. Better to have credit cards with 0% foreign transaction fee like (captial one - master card) else it is 3-5% foreign transaction fees. Canada - food, hotel and travel can get expensive. You don't need to have cash. Cab drivers accept credit cards too. If you have bank of america debit card you can with draw canadian currency from Scotiabank here without any foreign transaction fee. There are lot of places in downtown where you have Scotiabanks and ATMs (ABMs as they call in Canada).

There are couple of good Indian restaurants in the walk-able region in downtown. Once you are done with you with Visa you can walk around the convention center (nice view of the mountains and downtown). If you can you can go to Stanley park and suspension bridge.

If I remember anything else, I will add to it. Please feel free to reach me if you need anything else.

Good luck to all the people who are attending their visa interviews.

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Just to add to Collecting passport - email from Loomis says that passport is not ready for pick up but then from what I have see and heard from DHL person, once you get an email (with waybill number) or the waybill number is updated on the CSC website you can go and collect your passport.

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Hi rako,

i am working on the option of Vancouver,but last time i go tm vis afrom Tijuana.

This year i saw lot of negative ratings @ Tijuana ,hence prefering to visit Vancover.

My current Visa is expired & i would liek to gt your inputs on below.

1. Is there any way that we can get Canada Visa while crossing the boarder or at the airport where we getdown.

2. what is the best way to get Canadian visit visa?

Appreciate your quick resposne.

Regards,

Prasad

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You first need to go to Canada Consulate in US and get the visa before you go to Vancouver. I don't think you can take at airport or at the border while on road. Some consulates like Detroit and Washington offer same day service. You can check those out.

Hi rako,

i am working on the option of Vancouver,but last time i go tm vis afrom Tijuana.

This year i saw lot of negative ratings @ Tijuana ,hence prefering to visit Vancover.

My current Visa is expired & i would liek to gt your inputs on below.

1. Is there any way that we can get Canada Visa while crossing the boarder or at the airport where we getdown.

2. what is the best way to get Canadian visit visa?

Appreciate your quick resposne.

Regards,

Prasad

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Rako2012,

As per your post " To be on the safe side send an email few days prior to coming here to vancouverNIV@state.gov (your appointment confirmation and i-797 asking for pims verification). You might not get any personalized response but just automated message "

Did it work in your case ? what kind of automated response you get ? Had they confirmed the PIMS verification ?

Thanks,

HN2605

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