Getting my Visa stamped in Ottawa or how I learned to stop worrying


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Hi All,


I just had my stamping interview at Ottawa this Monday the 22nd. I am not going to rehash the same stuff that everyone talks about. It was a near identical experience getting to the interview counter as everyone else's. I would like to thank the people who run the forum and the people who participate on the forum. Very many of you are extremely helpful and quite selfless in giving help and advice and I appreciate that. It is now my turn to give back.


What I would like to mention, however, is the vast amounts of disinformation and outright myths that circulate among the community here. Please don't take this in the wrong way, but there are many people here who have good intentions but bad information. That being said, there are a few people who fall on the exact opposite end of that description and the less that is said about them the better. We'll talk about them later.


The Visa Process:




I did the usual filling of DS160 etc., and booked my appointment. I chose a date close to my flight to India reasoning that I could just fly to the US and take off if i got the dreaded Administrative processing or 221g White slip as people like to call it here on the forums. I had no clue how long a transit Visa (required if I did want to do that) would take. But I hoped it wouldn't come to that. Now I think it was a bad idea and it is better to book your interview as soon as you can. 


I also chose a Monday not wanting a weekend in the middle, and I chose the earliest spot available, wanting the VO to be fresh and hopefully in a good mood after their refreshing morning coffee and small talk with their coworkers before having to deal with all the people they had. I got the 7:30AM slot. Perfect.




Every one I spoke to said try to get an interview in Vancouver. Many people would silently say 'Oh no' when I mentioned that I had chosen Ottawa, or even 'Don't go to Ottawa, man'. This is quite disheartening if you are in the position of the interviewee, it is like telling a soldier out to battle that he has no chance of returning back alive. But, I chose to ignore them. They had the right intentions but maybe they were wrong I reasoned. Plus I had no choice. I did not have the luxury of waiting for four months as I had a personal function to attend.




I gathered all the documents I could think of. Starting from my birth certificate, tenth standard CBSE certificate, right down to last week's time sheet and Friday's lunch bill for address verification (Just kidding about the last one)


The actual Trip:


I started from home ealry last Sunday, and on my way to Ottawa, I caught a red eye from Philly to Ottawa as the lasy leg of my journey. We had a very small plane, a CRJ that looked like it couldn't take a hit from a dragon fly, let's put it this way, we'd struggle to play a cricket match with the number of people it would fit. Imagine my surprise when I see another desi on the flight, replete with a thick file bundle(Probably, I didn't actually see it) I wonder what he might be going to Canada for?


The thing about him was his expression. He looked like he'd seen a ghost, and the ghost had given him a white slip with a random date in the future printed on it while slowly whispering in his ear "Watch out". This is when I realized that if I were the VO, I'd have reason to suspect his application. It was like he was going to Canada to collect his 221G. I imagine his interview would have gone somewhat like this:


VO: So, I see you are applying for a H1-B?

Him: No Sir! I am here to collect my 221G


VO: Congrats, your 221G is approved.

Him: Thank you. 


Jokes aside, I knew that I had to maintain a cheery or at least carefree disposition when I got to the counter. It was easy, I had nothing to fear, all my paperwork was in order, I could prove how many smoke breaks on average I take at work, and it would definitely help my cause if I were to not give the VO any ammunition to deny the Visa. 


I got to my accommodation pretty easily, the bus stops just a minute away from the Hostel where I had booked a room. The wifi at the hostel sucked and the rooms are very very very small, but the rent is good and it is barely a 10 minute walk to the Embassy.


On the day of the interview, I had neatly arranged all my documents in the order of importance and had used flags to be able to pick out specific docs if asked. I had a shave and dressed neatly like any work day. I walked down to the embassy and reached there at an ungodly 6:45AM. Speaking to the guards, I found out where to stand and quickly a line formed behind me and I was first. The line had people of all color and creed. I could personally identify at least 6-7 nationalities. The line got many stares from people driving by. Someone must be distributing free stuff they must have thought.


(This post is getting too long. I will post the actual interview and post interview wait experience if the Mods approve this thread. Thanks for reading)

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Hmmm... The mods approve, and I will continue. 


The interview:


I was the first one in, and I was the first one interviewed. The interview hardly lasted a minute much like my F1 visa interview which lasted a glorious 30 seconds. The VO I got had done his homework, he knew everything about me when I got to him. I approached almost chirpily, I had convinced my brain that I was going to get the Visa. 


Me: Good Morning, SIr.

VO Morning


VO: SO, tell me, what does your company do:

Me: (I explained in a line from a very high level what exactly my firm does)


VO: What do you do? 

Me: Blah blah... ( He started typing into his computer, so I cut short my explanation with a logical ending and waited, staring at him sheepishly)


VO: Oh, so you work at a client place.

Me: Yes sir.  I work at So and So... (My client is one of those companies that needs no introduction, in fact, if the VO were to ask me what they did, I'd have laughed in his face, had this been a less solemn occasion. This obviously preempted the question: "What do they do?") 


VO: Please give me all you letters including Employer, Client and ANY LAYERS IN BETWEEN so you see, it is untrue that that EVC model or even the EVVC or even the EVVVV... You get the picture, is dead. If it were, they'd not issue the I797. And, this is contrary to what many posters on this forum say.

Me: Here you go, Sir.


VO: (While looking at my Client letter) So what's the name of the Statue in front of you the Library at the Univ. Of Blah (My Master's University)

Me: Oh it's CYZ


VO: Actually it is YZX

Me: Oh, right, that is the name of the Online portal I used to order my transcripts,


VO: Yes, that is what it is named after.


Me: (I spoke about some other statues in my Uni)


VO: You are done studying right?


Me: Yes. (He then cancelled my F1 with the stamp: "Cancelled Without Prejudice" which means that the Visa has been used and expired as per rules and regulations and not due to any other reasons such as Fraud etc.)


VO: Well, everything looks fine, I can't tell you that your Visa is approved since we have this system called PIMS which is down, if you don't hear from us by EOD, you can assume your Visa is approved and start checking the status from Wednesday.


Me: Thanks. I'm done!!! I can leave!!! I think... I have my Visa??? It was the Nazis had surrendered and I had won WW2.


Me: (I return a few seconds later since I don't know how to exit) Umm... Sir how do I go out?



I was in and out in about 15 minutes, including 10 minutes of idle wait.



Post Interview Wait:



I impatiently waited and obsessively checked the status on CEAC and the waybill no. on USVISA-Info, There was no change until Wednesday when the status briefly changed to 'Ready' On Thursday, the status changed to 'Issued' and around midnight the Waybill Number was updated. I got emails from both the embassy and LOOMIS before any thing online was updated. I have heard that you can pickup your passport as soon as LOOMIS sends you that email even though they say it is 'Not ready to be picked up'. Also, The waybill is generated by LOOMIS and not the Embassy.


I picked up the Passport on Friday from LOOMIS a few hours ago. I saw all the desis getting there by Taxi but paying 50 Bucks did not make sense, so I caught the bus and instead paid 6 CAD, now LOOMIS in Ottawa is in an industrial Area but it is very safe, So that is it and now I'm waiting to get back. 



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I wish it were possible to edit posts, I see so many typos and grammatical errors, I feel like an illiterate.


Also, @Omshiv, thanks.


Also, I forgot my disclaimer: All of what I write here is my opinion, and should not be construed as fact. I have tried to understand the system from what I observe given the lack of explicit information. I could be completely off base here. I'd advise you to read multiple sources/threads and come to your own conclusion. Be smart.

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VO: Please give me all you letters including Employer, Client and ANY LAYERS IN BETWEEN so you see, it is untrue that that EVC model or even the EVVC or even the EVVVV... You get the picture, is dead. If it were, they'd not issue the I797. And, this is contrary to what many posters on this forum say.


According to the USCIS rules, it is

According to the USCIS officials, it is not.

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