|Montreal, Canada|| Review on September 14, 2021:|
|Review Topic: IR-1/CR-1 Visa|
Alright so my appointment was set for 9:00am. This time means that they will physically let you enter the consulate at that time, not that you will be in front of someone at 9:00am. There was a line up of people outside, some of whom were 45 minutes early. I'm an anxious person, so I was one of those people. The thing is, it doesn't matter how early you are because security will not let you enter until your appointment time begins. So I went to the second cup and got a smoothie- this will probably be a saving grace for everyone with winter interviews!
At the time of your interview, they'll call forward anyone in the line with that time. At 9:00, myself and one or two other people came forward. You can enter the building but will be stopped between the doors by a security guard for COVID-19 screening. After that, you'll be permitted to enter the ground floor where you will sanitize your hands and be asked to put your belongings in a bucket, much like at the airport, to scan through an X-Ray. Once that is done, you'll be asked to step through the metal detector and instructed to lock your phone, wallet, headphones, etc in a small locker. The locker was roughly 4"x4"and maybe 6" or 8" deep. It really is meant to just hold your cellphone and wallet. At the suggestion of other who had done their interviews at Montreal, I only brought my phone and binder of evidence. There were other people there with bags, I don't know what happened to their purses. Also I was told. should have a clear binder for the interview, but I find that it didn't really make a difference. People in line had coloured file folders, cloth zipped bags, and even just plain manilla envelopes.
Once you pass security, you'll get into an elevator and go up to the first floor; the buttons are marked clearly on the elevator module. Once you get off the elevator, there is another sanitization station. Either someone told me and I forgot immediately or I wasn't told what to do when I got there, so thankfully another applicant instructed me to go to Window 5 to check in. They asked for my passport and I was given a numbered chit and told to wait for my number to be called. The waiting room feels like a library study room with no tables, and the clock is still not working. It is a liminal space outside of time. There were 4 rows of chairs, 3 seats locked together on the left and right of a makeshift walkway. It wasn't crowded so it was easy to maintain social distance. Security was really diligent about people taking off their masks in the consulate which was honestly nice and made me feel safe- especially considering no one in Montreal is wearing masks anymore.
It wasn't long until I was called up to Window 4 and asked for my identification. I had uploaded short and long form copies of everything, so when he asked for my birth certificate and marriage certificate, I had to ask which one he wanted. He took my long form birth certificate and my short form marriage certificate. He also asked for my Police Security Clearance, and took one of my passport photos to scan in and returned it to me. He did not keep my passport photos. He attached all my original copies of documents I provided to my passport and a clear file folder with my case number on it. He told me to go sit back down and wait until I was called again.
Since I had no access to knowing what time it was, it's hard to say exactly how long I was waiting for the next part. Maybe 1h15m? There were 7 people ahead of me when I sat back down for the long wait. Out of all the 12 windows available, one was being used for intake, then another 2 were being used for the collection of original documents, and another 2 were being used for interviews. A third window for interviews opened around 10 or 10:30am.
My interview was fairly short and sweet:
Who is the petitioner?
What do they do for work?
When did you meet? We met at a convention in Sept 2011.
Did you hit it off right away? I said yep and after the convention we talked, and I booked a trip down to see her in November 2011 and we had feelings then and went from there.
Who does your petitioner live with? I said she lives alone but hopefully soon she'll live with me!
Where does your petitioner live?
He gave me back my original documents and kept my passport. He said he intends to approve my visa but there is still stuff to do on the back burner and I'll be contacted if they require any further information. He gave me a copy of the courier registration form, not a welcome letter as others have said they've received, and sent me on my way. I went back downstairs and retrieved my phone. When I turned it on, it was 10:54am- so just about 2 hours in the consulate total.
My status on CEAC was updated to "issued" by 6pm EST and in the dialogue box said "Your visa case is currently undergoing necessary administrative processing. This processing can take several weeks. As the officer told you in the interview, if further information is needed, you will be contacted. If your visa application is approved when administrative processing is finished, you will receive notification to collect the passport with the visa from the Loomis branch you selected when you booked your appointment."
So I'm currently pretty nervous since no one else has posted that as their response, they all say they're approved fairly quickly so I'm really worried about being in administrative processing but at least it doesn't say rejected? Anyways, I'll be in my corner crying with anxiety but I hope that my account of the process at the consulate is helpful