|Consulate Review: Vancouver, Canada
Review Topic: K1 Visa
|Review Date :
||January 29, 2007
|Embassy Review :
||First of all, a note about staying in Vancouver. We thought we'd be genius and stay on the outskirts of downtown to save some money on our hotel. Well, save money on the hotel, we did. But the money we saved we spent on taxis TO downtown. So my recommendation, find a downtown hotel, spend a little more money. You can walk to the medical, the interview, the fun touristy area, the beach, the park, the aquarium, and pretty much anything you'd really want to do. If we would have stayed in a downtown hotel, the only time we would have had to get at taxi was to get out to the airport. Also, be warned, there is a really bad part of town just outside of downtown, so if you don't know the area and are driving yourself, be very careful.
Alright, enough of that, onto the medical.
Craig had his medical with Dr. Ian Morgan at Woking Medical Services in Vancouver. The building is on one of the main stretches downtown, and the address is very visable, although there isn't really much of sign that lets you know who's office it is. We got there a little before 6:30, walked up to the door, a man was waiting to let people in. He let us in and asked us, "What doctor are you here to see?" We replied with Dr. Morgan's name, and the guard said that was the password and told us to take the elevator up to the second floor. It opens onto a pretty sizable waiting room (with pink faux leather couches). In one corner of the room is the sign for Woking and a receptionist, Laura. Pretty much the nicest woman ever.
You walk up to her, hand over your passport, immunization records, etc. and she hands back two pieces of paper work and tells you to bring them back up when you are done. The order in which you finish the paper work is the order that you get your exam finished. Craig finished his fourth, so he took it up to her, and she gave him a slip with a 4 on it. By the time Craig had finished his paperwork, about 20 other people had shown up for their exam. I think they went all the way up to number 20, so get there early!
After he got the paper they told him that after 6:45 he could go over to the building next door (you walk through indoors) to get bloodwork done. You walk over to the next building, and there is another waiting room. When the bloodwork place opens at 7, they'll call a group of numbers. They started with 1-4. So those people went in, took them all of 5 minutes to do everyone, and then we were told to go back to the pink faux leather waiting room for x-ray. A few minutes passed, someone walked out of the door for x-ray and called numbers 1-6, that took maybe....10 minutes. Then we were told to sit and wait for the exam. They called one by one. Craig went in, and I swear the exam was maybe 5 minutes. He said Dr. Morgan had him strip down to his boxers, listened to his heart and his lungs, and that was it. Craig said Dr. Morgan was so incredibly nice that he wished he could be him family doctor. Oh...and I think Dr. Morgan looks like Gene Hackman. tongue.gif
So, we were out of there by 7:45. We went and got some breakfast. Spent some time doing the touristy thing in Gastown (yay cheesy souvenir shops). We walked by the building on our way to the beach at 1pm, and the #20 was JUST coming out of the building, so I stress, get there EARLY! We came back to the building at 2 to pick up the results. It took them until 2:30ish to get them ready. But we picked them up and were good to go.
Soooo, onto the interview.
Our appointment was for 10:00am, so we didn't get there until 9:45 or so. The bulding is unmarked really, so make sure you know the exact address. The Consulate part is a small side entrance. You walk into the door, and there is a tiny (I'm talking 5x5) area to do security. There were two women there one checked the interview letter and our passports, and checked Craig's name off a list, and the other asked us to empty our pockets, take off belts and jackets, and hand her our paperwork. We took in two large accordion folders, one binder, and a photo album. I had a small wristlet purse with me. They seemed fine with all of this, although they looked through every opening of the accordion folders. We then walked through the metal detector. Collect your things (don't put everything back on, you have to go through security again!). You then go up a set of stairs to the elevator where you meet a guard. He was so funny and nice. Talking about how much fun we are going to have being married and how he can't wait to see us smile when we come back down from the interview.
So, the guard takes you to the 20th floor, you get off and there is more security. Same drill as before. They checked our interview letter again, and directed us to the visa room. It's a small room with a small hallway attached. When we got there, it was PACKED (standing room only) of people trying to get non-immigrant visas. But as the people interviewing for K visa started arriving, the very nice elevator guard started clearing them out so we could have seats. The little hallway has four little blue seats facing 5 or so partitioned plexiglass windows. No sooner than we sat down, a man came to the window infront of us and called Craig's name. He couldn't have been any nicer if he tried. He really put us at ease. He pulled out a checklist and asked for each form individually.
A few things of note, he asked for TWO copies of the DS-156 and then also TWO copies of Craig's birth certificate. He asked for only ONE copy of the I-134 and all the evidence. He barely even glanced at the W2s and just handed them back to me. He asked us if we needed any of the other evidence back, we said no. He looked through our forms, saw where we checked "yes" to a border denial. He asked us what happened, we explained, he said "Don't worry. Happens all the time." and never mentioned it again. He said everything was in order, and said it'd take about an hour to get prepared for the interview, and to expect it to come around 11. He asked Craig to go to window #1 and pay the fee, and then just bring the receipt back and wait for the interview.
So, we sat back down, a few other K visa applicants came in, and we all nervously chatted. I have to admit, I was SO much more relaxed than I thought I'd be. Once I got into the building, it was so...not intimidating. I mean, the chairs are all ghetto and you can see the people joking and laughing with each other back in the office. It's just....not the intimidating government building I'd thought it'd be. It also helped that everyone we encountered in the building was crazy nice to us.
So, a little after 11 they called us up to the last window (the only one without people sitting in front of it). The interviewing officer was a very young guy, who was smiling when we walked up, that was nice. He asked if I was the fiancee, and then had Craig do the oath and sign the form. He actually ended up asking us more questions that either of us expected, but they were all easy answers:
- How'd you meet? (We met online on livejournal.com)
- How did you find each other on Livejournal?
- What did you like about each other's profiles?
- When did you first meet in person?
- Who came to who?
- What happened after the first meeting?
- What about after the second meeting?
- When did you decide to get engaged?
- What do you do for a living (directed to me)?
- Where will you be living?
- Why the U.S. and not Canada?
It was more of a conversation between the three of us than just straight on questions, but those give the general idea. Then he asked to see our pictures, I handed the photo album over to him, and he saw the first picture of Craig with a nosering, and asked him if it hurt and what the process was like. He asked us where a few pictures were taken and when. He then verified where we'd be living, in Bloomington, Indiana, and started chatting to me about the movie "Breaking Away" about Bloomington. He was laughing and smiling the whole time. He shuffled some papers and said, "You can pick up your visa around 2 this afternoon." Craig and I looked at each other with an "That's it?" look, and then looked at the officer and he said "That's it!" We gathered all our evidence and then hugged in the little hallway and my eyes started to well up. We skipped on out of the room. All the guards we encountered on the way in were smiling and told us congrats.
We left, did some touristy stuff around downtown, and then came back a little before 2. The sign outside says to return at 2:45 for the visa, but that's for the vistor/work visas only. K visas go in at 2, so ignore the sign. The security guards had told us to not bring any bags or paperwork and JUST the immigrant can come in to pick up the visa. So I took all the paperwork and sat down at Starbucks (it's on the first floor of the same building, just walk down the street 10 steps from the consulate entrance). I waited for Craig, and 10 minutes later he came back with passport in hand and a WHITE (not brown!) envelope.