Successful H1B stamping at Toronto consulate, May 2014


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I would like to thank those of you who have shared your experiences – it is very helpful.  This is mine.


I have been in H1B status working in the U.S., but needed to get a H1B stamp so I could travel overseas.  I decided to go to Toronto, as it is within driving distance.



Booking an appointment


As many of us have discovered, the US government webpage for checking appointment wait times - - is not very accurate for at least some embassies/consulates.  For Toronto, when I booked in mid-April, the site said the wait time was 15 calendar days.  (The Toronto consulate’s own website - - says “usually four weeks”).  However, when I finished my DS160 application form and was looking for an appointment, it was in fact 40 days, so I got a May 30 appointment.  Furthermore, no dates were available at all for June, July, August, or September, I’m guessing because so many H1B contracts start October 1.  Although I checked back regularly, any openings that occasionally came up were for April or May. 


I’ve seen a couple of informational sites claim that you can’t book appointments more than 6-8 weeks ahead of time.  This is not true, at least for Canada – there are appointments open for October and November already.



Arrival and processing at the Toronto consulate


I won’t give a lot of detail about things already described by others.  A few things though:


- I arrived at the consulate 20 minutes before my assigned interview time.  After showing my passport and DS160 confirmation page at a window near the entrance, I was told to go stand at the front of a line of people (about 20 deep) waiting to go into the building.  When I got there, another staff member told me to go to the back of the line.  However, within a minute, the original staff person who had told me to stand at the front told the line staff member what my appointment time was, and I was told to go inside.  I think the other people waiting probably had appointments a bit or much later than mine. 


- Once inside, there’s a line outside the interview room where they confirm your Loomis pickup branch, put your passport and DS160 confirmation in a folder, and then you wait a couple of minutes to go into the interview room; a staff member tells people to go in a few at a time.


- In the interview room, there are 10 windows.  Windows 1-4 do the initial processing (I showed the folder with my passport and DS160 confirmation, then the person asked for my I797, and put that into the folder and gave the folder back to me).  Then you go to either Window 9 or 10 to do the fingerprinting and to get a number for the interview.  Windows 5-8 were doing interviews, but for a while, Window 6 was closed.


- There were always about 50 people waiting, although some of these people were in pairs/family groups.  I waited about 10 minutes to be seen at the initial window, about 5 minutes to get through the fingerprinting window, and 35 minutes to actually have my interview.


- You’re not supposed to bring in any food or drink.  The room was quite warm (no AC running when I was there), but at least there is a water fountain (and bathrooms) down a corridor.





This went quite smoothly for me, with just standard questions about my position, my pay, when I planned to travel to the U.S.  I had brought many documents establishing my credentials (transcripts and copies of diplomas), employment and pay (e.g. letter from my supervisor, copy of my contract, bank statements, tax returns), but all the interviewing officer looked at were my passport and I797 approval form. 


After I left, I realized he had kept the I797 as well as my passport and I was worried it was by mistake, but when I got my passport back, the I797 was stapled into the back of my passport.


At the end of the interview, the officer told me to expect an email in “3 to 4 days” about picking up my passport.  I forgot to ask whether this was 3 or 4 business days or calendar days (in retrospect, probably meant business days). 



Post-interview notifications


After my interview, I checked the CEAC site ( and it said my visa was in “Administrative Processing,” case created and updated on Friday, May 30.

In the afternoon of Monday, June 2, the CEAC site had my status as “Issued.”  At this time, the US Visa page (where I had first made my appointment) - – had no new information. 


That night, I changed my pickup location from Brampton to Burlington, as I realized Burlington was right on the way back to the U.S. border, even though Brampton was a little closer to downtown Toronto.


I had read elsewhere ( ) that it could take a whole day for the Loomis info to come after the CEAC site said a visa had been issued.  As of 11:30pm on Tuesday, June 3, I hadn’t gotten this information.  However, the next morning, Wednesday, June 4, I had received an email from Loomis titled “Loomis-Express has your passport but it's not ready to pickup‏,” which had been sent just after midnight.  When I checked the status on the Loomis tracking page, there were two bits of information:

2014-06-04 04:49 Arrived at Loomis Facility BURLINGTON

2014-06-03 00:00 Shipment Record Received BRAMPTON


A little later, when I checked, the info had been updated with an additional line:

2014-06-04 06:42 In Facility BURLINGTON


I checked the page and it still said “in transit,” but based on reading other people’s experiences, I thought there was a good chance I could pick up that morning given the “in facility” designation.  I called the Loomis information line (toll free at 1-855-2LOOMIS/1-855-256-6647) at 8am, and the person confirmed that my passport was ready for pickup.  I got to Loomis around 9:45am, and it was indeed in the office.  Before I picked up, I never got a phone call or email telling me that my passport was ready, nor did I ever see my status on the page ever say something other than “in transit” (after I picked up, it said “delivered”).


So the important thing to note is: although the Loomis email says you can pick up your passport “within the next few days” and the U.S. consular information page says that you can pick up your passport once your status shows as “Ready for Pick-up at Courier Location,” if you get your Loomis email in the morning, you can probably pick up that day



Crossing the border


At the border (Peace Bridge), I showed my passport and the I797 form.  I mentioned that I had an I-94 card (from my I797 form) in an expired passport and she asked me to show that as well.  That was it – no other documents requested, and the border interaction took only a couple of minutes.





Appointment booked at Toronto consulate – mid-April, 2014

Appointment – morning, Friday, May 30, 2014

Visa status changed to issued – afternoon, Monday, June 2, 2014

Loomis email received, passport status “Arrived at Loomis Facility” – early morning, Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Loomis passport status changed to “In Facility” – about 2 hours after “Arrived at Loomis Facility” status


So for me, with a Friday appointment, it took 3 business days (5 days total) from day of appointment to passport pick-up.  For the last couple of months, the State Department page - - has said 2 business days for "All other non-immigrant visas" at Toronto, but if you’re planning flights etc., 3 business days may be a safer bet.



Hope this has been helpful - good luck to everyone.


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Congratulations and thank you so much for sharing your experience!


Quick question, several other people including have been facing issues with dates availability. With that said, there are rumors springing up every day!


I see that you have mentioned this link http://travel.state....ait-times.html/ -

However, when created account here -, it gives long waiting days (130 days for almost all the locations).


How did you reserve your slot?

Would you please let us know?

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Hello Sharvari, yes, 130 days is more like it.  As I was hoping for an early June slot, I kept checking even after I booked the May 30 appointment.  Most of the time the earliest date was October - for a while it was the first week of October, but then near the end of May, it was the second week of October.  At one point I tried seeing if Montreal would have earlier dates (I temporarily changed my consulate to Montreal on the site), but it didn't.


I booked my appointment at the site, didn't do anything special like hiring those appointment booking agencies or anything like that.  I think I just got lucky; even when I got the "next appointment is in 40 days" message, that was misleading - there were two slots available on Friday, May 30, then nothing until October 1, even in mid-April.  That said, if you are hoping for an earlier appointment, I'd say book the earliest one you can get, then check back on the website multiple times a day. You can click on the "Reschedule appointment" link without losing your scheduled appointment - it will then tell you when the next available appointment is and ask if you want to proceed - even if you don't want that slot, click "yes" (or "continue" or whatever it is), and then you will be able to see the calendar of available dates for the next few months.  I'd say every 20 or 30 times I checked, one slot would come up that was *not* April, either another Friday date in May (Fridays are less desirable because you have to stay two extra days when no processing is occurring) or a very imminent date (e.g. within the next few days). 

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