Successful H1B stamping in Calgary (June, 2017)

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Well, I was a silent reader of this blog and thought I would write my experience from my Calgary trip. (Sorry for the spelling mistakes if any and I marked stars (***) for important stuff)
Let me write about consulate interview before everything else.
FYI: You can get in anytime you want you don't have to wait for your time slot.
1. My interview time was at 8:40 but I was in line by 7:15 and I was the first person to get interviewed.
2. Not many people bring many documents. However, I took everything and anything that might be asked. 
3. Please take originals of your I797's, I140's, I94's everything you could. If not possible, print copies to look like originals.
4. Keep your passport intact and my passport had some slight coffee spills and VC asked me about my passport condition. He was about to reject or discard it but decided otherwise (thank god)
Below are the sequence of questions.
1. Why are you in Canada?
Answer: I came here to meet my friends.
2. In what visa you are in Canada?
Answer: I'm here in visitor visa
3. So you came as a student to US?
Answer: Yes, completed my masters in so and so.
4. Is this your first H1B?
Answer: This is my third.
5. So when did you get your status updated/altered? 
Answer: In 2011
6. Can you give me your first I797
Answer: I handed him my 2011-14 I797 (He already had 2017-2020) in his hand.
7. He said you can not get it extended beyond 6 years, I'm sorry.
Answer: I have an approved I140. my employer filed an immigration petition for me.
 gave him my I140.
8. what do you do at xxxxx University?
Answer: I'm a enterprise xxxxxxxx 
9. What kind of xxxxxx you handle at Univ?
Answer: So and so databases and applications (VC sounded suspicious and was keen to listen to my answer) (I kind of choked looking his expressions)
10. Is it associated to the nuclear xxx ?
Answer: No, We don't work with them. 
VC checked something online and said "okay, it is not in your state"
I was relieved. He typed on his computer.
12. So you did 2 masters?
Answer: Yes, I did MS in xxx and MBA in xxx while working in H1B. 
VC: Okay your visa is approved you will get it in a week.
Me: Can you please expedite the process, I have an emergency.
VC: It's already expedited. It can't be expedited any further.
Left thanking him.

It all took 20 minutes and although I was first to start, I was the third to leave. 
 I knew my case was special and it will take time for VC to understand all the details.

The other L1A visa desi guy could pick passport by Thursday. However, I got it only on Friday afternoon. 

Other key points in the process:
1. Book the interview date on "Tuesday early morning". otherwise, you have to wait all weekend for the passport. Unless you have friends and family in Calgary.
2. HI-hostel is a cheap good place to spend time, It's 2 blocks away from consulate office and easy to commute by walk.
3. Consulate is on 7th Avenue and the next street is Stephen Street and I found a dollar store to pick some stuff (shoe polish, nail cutter, hangers, sticky notes, paste, pins and random stuff)
4. Rocky Mountain Plaza (has a good breakfast place with coffee, bagels, hash browns etc) otherwise HI hostel has free breakfast (cheap stuff)
5. I like HI Hostel because I found some buddies to play 8-ball, (TV, computers, laundry, free print-outs are bonus)
6. HI-Hostel rooms stink because of peoples shoes, socks, and other stuff. However, I didn't care. I could live with it.
7. ***(important)***Banff. If you are in Calgary don't miss ***(important)***Lake Moraine and ***(important)***Lake Louise. It's a must visiting place. It's worth every penny. I personally loved it. (plan in summer)
8. Desi food, Spice 7 (Pakistani restaurant) expensive but okay and walk-able. Iftar dinner buffet was good (went with Indian and Arab friends). luckily, No beef or at-least we didn't see it.
9. Just beside consulate building is a Pakistani food point -> cheap, bad customer service, bad food but satiates desi palate if you crave for desi food. there is a desi vegetarian point behind this place (However, I always found it closed).
10. Downtown train is free, use it if you want to go around. the train would announce when the free point ends. It helps if you have to go to Central post office to pick passport or go to nearby mall.
11. Ice-cream point, Stephen Street, Mango-Siva etc are places to check if you are bored.
12. 300 buses (opposite consulate building, on the side of Calgary library) will take you to airport straight ($3.25 all quarters). It's better than >$35 taxi to the airport.
13. HI-hostel is good to make friends from other countries. I personally made some Swiss, German and British friends. We played 8-ball, hang out for lunch. goofed about the global economy, oil crisis, Brexit and all the ****.


reach out to me if you have questions.


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3 hours ago, USistress said:

Hello. Thanks for sharing your experience. I have my H1 for more than 6 years but don't have my approved I-140. Are the VO's asking for approved I-140 for sure?

What you mean by don't have approved I140. Does that mean you did not apply for I140. There is no need to get original I140 approval. You can get copy of it. That will be enough. But VO might ask for I140 if VO sees that you have H1B >= 6 years.

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