I-94 expiry - Canada visit visa issued same day in person at Detroit


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My I-94 is expiring today due to the passport expiry. My H1B visa expires at the end of the year. Very soon, I need to apply for change of status from H1 to F1. With an expired I-94, I cannot do it. I got my passport last friday from Indian embassy at Washington DC by post - it took 5 weeks after I applied for them to issue a new passport.

Hence, I planned to go out of country to get the I-94 renewed. Since I had only 4 days time after getting my passport, I planned to go to Canada consulate for visit visa, if that is rejected then I planned to go to Tijuana/ Laredo, Mexico for I-94 renewal.

Detroit consulate issued me the single entry visit visa the same day. They accept applications and supporting documents from 830 AM to 11 AM. If you submitted your application before 930/ 1000 AM, then you have a very good chance of getting it the same day. If not the same day, they will tell you when they might give your approval.

I filled the application form but forgot to validate the form. The officer at Canada consulate gave me the address of internet center (Allegra) in the building where I was able to print another form. I submitted my passports, US I-94, US visa, employment letter, paystubs, tax returns, study transcripts, bank letter showing 9,000$ in funds, home rental lease agreement, utility bill, 2 photos, car registration and insurance - all original and they returned all documents at the time of issuance of visa.

I took the Ambassador bridge to Windsor, Canada. I told the Canadian officers that I was going to visit Niagara falls on my car. But, I returned back to the USA side of the bridge immediately as my purpose was different. The USA side officer who 1st checked my car also checked my documents and he understood I went to Canada for I-94 renewal. I agreed and went inside the CBP office. I have never seen such ignorant officers anywhere. They don't even know that I-94 was issued with a prior date because passport is expiring. They argued with me for 20 minutes. I answered them politely each time but they would not listen. Finally, they understood when another officer who just came in explained it. Then, the officer who was in charge of me started asking why I was carrying the white I-94 and then the I-797A/ I-94. He told I was only supposed to carry only one. Well, that took another 20 minutes for him to understand. He gave me a new I-94 but would not give my I-797A. Finally, he did but when I entered US, I thought I was lucky. I was in the CBP office for 1 1/2 hr. It is not a good experience if you encounter recently trained batch of officers because they will not listen to what you tell, no matter how polite you are. On the other hand, there were also few people with expired visas in the office at the same time I was there. The whole situation was tense for me because it looked like the fuses were about to blow off. Port of entrys are always risky too.

It could just me on that day, others may have pleasant experience.I came home last night after a 8 hr drive from Detroit. Before going to apply for Canada visit visa, I tried all CBP offices inside USA if they would correct this problem - they said they don't.

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