|Consulate Review: Montreal, Canada
Review Topic: IR-1/CR-1 Visa
|Review Date :
||February 11, 2015
|Embassy Review :
I had my interview yesterday, and as I have relied on reviews on VJ for information to help me navigate through the experience, I want to share mine with you. Sorry in advance that it is so long, but I wanted to include as much as possible so that maybe it will help someone else.
We had to spend 8 days in Montreal because both hubby and I are from the Midwest and to travel in twice did not make sense. We arrived in Montreal on Feb 2nd during a snow squall. I took the advice of a friend, and of others on VJ, and we went to the end of the arrivals area (after we got my bag). There was an info booth there where there were machines to buy bus passes. The man behind the booth showed me how to buy two bus passes with a week’s worth of time on them (the passes are re-loadable, which is awesome – I wish Winnipeg would do that!).
We took the 747 bus to stop #9 which was right across Blvd Rene-Levesque from our hotel, Holiday Inn and Suites – Centre Ville. We had a little apartment with separate kitchen and living room. It was very comfortable and clean. Lots of little pubs and restaurants close by and within walking distance to several malls and sights downtown. Montreal a beautiful city, well worth touring (yes, even in the winter!) if you have the time while you are there. The people were warm and friendly and we had absolutely no issues with language or rudeness.
My medical was in the morning on the 3rd. Medisys was about a 20 minute walk from the hotel, and took about an hour and a half. I posted a review about it in the Canadian Portal for anyone who is interested.
After a week of sightseeing, we were more than ready for the interview. We had scoped out the Consulate building a few days before, and with the additional help from Saylin’s photos and sketches, we had no difficulty navigating the process (I really must look up that lady when I finally move to Fargo, and buy her a cup of coffee, or a beer or something!).
We decided that because my appointment was for 10:30, we would grab some breakfast at the hotel and get to the Consulate around 8 AM. Well, neither of us slept very well the night before, but we were up early because we had to be all packed up and ready to catch our 2 PM flight after the interview. Checkout time was noon so we were able to leave our luggage in the room.
We managed to arrive at the Consulate at about 8:10 AM. There was no line and after showing our ID and producing my appointment letter and Loomis confirmation, we went through security. We had no issues there as all I had with me was my wallet and my paperwork. (BTW, there were several people in there with purses and bags, so it must be at the discretion of the security that day whether they allow bags or not). After we cleared security, they buzzed us through a door which took us to a stairwell. We went downstairs to a waiting area and an elevator. The security officer told us to take the elevator to the 19th floor (but I already knew that!).
I was at the back of the elevator and the door opened behind me. There was a greeter at a desk who checked my passport and appointment letter. She gave me a laminated slip with a #8 on it, and also instructions to have ready to hand over the following : 2 passport photos; my passport; the original I-864EZ with the IRS transcripts; the original marriage certificate; my original divorce certificate; my original police check. We were instructed to have a seat and wait.
I was called to window #2 after about 20 minutes or so, and the lady behind the window requested each of the documents I stated above and took the number slip I was given. She appeared to be training a young man in what she was looking for. She then asked me to place my hands on a reader device to take my fingerprints. Then I was done and told to go back and wait until my number was called again.
This time we waited about an hour. There were a lot of people there for non-immigration visas – students, workers, etc., and they seemed to be moving along quickly. I was called to window #7 at about 10:15. The young man behind the glass was nice. He greeted me, and passed me a paper with an oath he asked me to read out loud. After reading this, he asked me to place my left hand on a reader similar to the one they had out front. He explained to me that this was my signature to the oath I had just taken.
Then he asked me if I was born in Canada. Yes. He asked how I met my husband and how long we have been married. He asked how often I visited the US. He asked how long the drive was, and how far my home is from the US border. He asked me what the largest US city closest to where I live. This question threw me, and I told it that it depends on which direction, and how large the city. Minneapolis is where I fly out from to visit my mom in TX. He asked why my mom lives there and I told him that she has been an LPR for over 30 years. He seemed okay with that. He asked me if I had lived in any other countries besides Canada. I answered yes – the US and Germany. He asked when I had lived in the US, and I told him as a child. He asked when I had lived in Germany. I told him in the 1980s – through the military.
Here is where it got hinky. He got a look on his face, and asked if by chance I had a police certificate from Germany. I produced the certificate and a notarized translation and gave them to him. He smiled and said that if he could reach through the glass and pat me on the back, he would! NVC never requested this document, but I had had the request in the works for months. It came to my house two weeks before my interview trip. NEVER assume that they have everything they will need to issue a visa!! I am sure if I had not had this document, I would have been given a 221g. He asked me what my job was in the military, but never asked for the records (I dragged 204 pages all the way for nothing, lol!).
After that he went over the I-864EZ and asked if hubby or I have any dependents. He said that he saw we both had been married once before. I corrected him and stated that hubby had been married twice before (I kind of wondered if he had been trying to trip me up there – don’t be afraid to correct them, and have your docs to back you!). I told him that we had submitted all of hubby’s divorce docs to USCIS, but I had them with me if he would like to see them. He seemed surprised and asked for them. He just checked them and gave them back.
He then asked me if I had ties in Ireland, which I found odd but I am guessing his question came from seeing on my birth certificate where it listed my mother’s racial origin as Irish (she’s Canadian of Irish descent). Then he asked me if I had ties with Australia (I don’t know where THAT came from). Anyway, after I answered him, he bent down and opened a drawer beside him and said, “Well ma’am, I am going to hand you this letter welcoming you to the United States of America. I am approving your visa and you should receive it within 4 to 11 weeks.” He also passed me all my originals back, and after saying thank you about 5 or 10 times, I left with a big, fat grin on my face…and hubby and I left to check out and catch our flight to Winnipeg.
(updated on February 13, 2015)