|Consulate Review: Montreal, Canada
Review Topic: IR-1/CR-1 Visa
|Review Date :
||May 7, 2015
|Embassy Review :
||Had my interview yesterday. I only got my appointment TWO WEEKS before the interview, so everything was very rushed and I actually got the LAST medical appointment that would get me my results before the interview out of ALL the eastern-Canadian medical places.
I stayed in a local hostel at twenty dollars a night, breakfast included. It was a half hour walk from Medisys and a twenty minute walk from the consulate. I HIGHLY recommend Auberge Jeunesse Gite du Plateau Mont-Royal if you need to stay for a full week. VERY clean, very polite staff. Small dorms--just six beds in the largest dorms and they offer both mixed and female-only options. VERY accommodating, great wifi.
Medical went well with no hitches. Medisys had my results ready the day before my interview.
Woke up FAR too early on the day of the interview and couldn't get back to sleep, so I ended up leaving the hostel with WAY too much time. There's a Starbucks across the street from the front of the building (the consulate is on the side) so, as I was there are ten after six, I decided to go to Starbucks and return at ten to seven.
Arrived at ten to seven and there were already five people ahead of me and a sixth person arriving. By 7:30ish, when they started running us through security to get into the consulate for 8, there were easily 30 or more people there. Got through security VERY quickly as I had brought nothing but my paperwork and the keys to my hostel and my wallet. Went to the Mystical Elevator and sat in the very first chair, closest to it--there's a red cordon that closes it until 8 on the dot--and waited impatiently. I was SO lost without my phone, so bored. Alas.
Then at 8, a nice security guy said 'okay, you can get on the elevator.' It should be noted that there were probably 40 or 50 people in the waiting area for the elevator by this point. I basically bum-rushed the back door. The elevator is VERY VERY VERY slow. It felt like it took FOREVER. Then I rushed off the elevator to the secretary's desk and got the coveted NUMBER ONE!
Sat down for about one minute, got called to window one (number two got called to window two right ahead of me). They took my fingerprints, got my documents (yes, they wanted 2014 taxes! Though they did NOT ask for updated I864) and looked through them. Asked me to confirm our addresses and phone numbers. I forgot my wife's phone number and had a really great deer in the headlights face when he asked. I said "Uh... well... in my address book in my phone it's 'Wife's name' and I haven't looked at the number since I input it" and he prompted me with it and I said "Okay, that sounds right." He gave me the SCARY DOMESTIC VIOLENCE sheet for new immigrants, then sent me to go sit down.
I waited about five minutes. Number two got called for interview room and then, a minute later, I got called.
Went in, he tried to take my fingerprints, but his computer was having a freakout. Stood waiting anxiously while he sorted out his computer. He had a very pink nalgene bottle, I remember that. FINALLY got it sorted, he had me read and sign the oath and he started clicking through stuff on his computer.
1) Did you read the domestic violence handout? (Yes.)
2) Where did you meet? (Online)
3) Where and when did you first meet in person? (gave date and her city, he asked why I was there, I said to meet her and he said oh, right, you met online)
4) What does she do for a living? (gave it)
5) Do you two have any children? (no.)
6) Have either of you ever been married before? (no.)
7) Is gay marriage legal in the state of Texas?
That last one threw me for a loop. "No," I answered, "That's why we got married in Massachusetts. Because it's legal there."
"Oh," he responded. "Then Texas recognizes out of state gay marriages, then?"
"No, but that's okay, because the Supreme Court overturned the DOMA provisions that prevented the federal government from recognizing my marriage in June of 2013 and immigration is a federal issue, not a state one."
"Well," he said, making a frowny face of 'I do not think this is going to work', "I don't think you're eligible if you're moving to somewhere you won't actually be married."
"But it's a federal issue and the federal government recognizes my marriage! We filed our federal income taxes jointly!" says I.
"Well," he said, doubtfully, "Maybe I can find a way to make the computer think you're going to be moving to Massachusetts right away."
I stared in horror for a minute while he clicked things on his screen. Was I going to have to agree to let him commit fraud on my behalf in order to make this work? Was this some kind of test? What was I supposed to DO?
"Ah!" he said, brightening and looking up. "Okay, apparently Texas doesn't recognize it, but we do, so it's all okay."
Then, his computer crashed again and I had to stand there while he fixed it.
Which brought us to:
7) Your wife makes $XXXXXX per year?" This got him another brief deer in the headlights look as I thought about that. It wasn't the number I expected. "Well," I ventured "That might be the case. She has a tuition waiver thing as part of her job that changes her total tax amount and I don't know how you're viewing that or how it exactly works or even which direction it works in. I know she's done her monthly budget and decided she can afford to keep me. As for the rest, well. That's what Turbotax is for." He laughed and agreed that yes, Turbotax is awesome.
Then he took my fingerprints again and wrote something down. He slid the welcome letter through the documents gap and smiled. "I'm approving you. Congratulations, here's your welcome letter!"
And then that was it, I headed out and went back to the hostel on shaky legs. The whole thing took less than half an hour and by 9:10 when I logged onto CEAC, it already showed 'ISSUED'.
My advice for ALL same sex couples out there is MAKE SURE YOU KNOW THAT YOUR MARRIAGE IS A FEDERAL ISSUE. If he hadn't found something to fix it, I was going to ask for a supervisor right away. I have NEVER been more scared in my life. The process took one year less six days and I thought he was going to refuse me, for no reason other than his own lack of understanding of the law. Know the law. Know the law. Know the law. Don't panic, just know the law.