|Consulate Review: Montreal, Canada
Review Topic: IR-1/CR-1 Visa
|Review Date :
||July 28, 2010
|Embassy Review :
||Well I must say it is very interesting to finally be on this side of the review after all this time reading with interest others' reviews and comments. That said, I will write about my experience overall and hopefully someone may benefit or at least read about it.
I flew into Montreal from BC the day before (July 26th). I stayed at the Delta Montreal (President Kennedy location).
Before I get to the hotel and consulate review, I do want to inform about transportation to and from the airport and what I learned. Initially after reading past reviews and emailing others' etc, I had decided that I would likely use L'Aerobus from the airport and then shuttle it to my hotel.
I arrived and went looking for L Aerobus ticket station or anything that resembled this autobus....NOTHING. I could not find a thing. So I started to ask airport staff etc and not a soul knew anything about this service. I was pointed to various people that 'could help' but it ended the same way, "I've not heard of them" etc. It was not an issue of language as I had the print out with the company name. By the way, anyone not speaking French will have no problem in Montreal. Most people can speak both languages.
After speaking with probably 6 people trying to hunt down this L Aerobus to no avail, I was directed to go back inside the airport to this other bus 747 express, which ,coincidentally, is the bus that the first airport staff person advised me NOT to take as it would NOT take me to the hotel area. I asked the people at the 747 express bus booth about L Aerbos and was told that this bus is no longer in service.....doesn't exist. She advised me to purchase a ticket with the 747 express ($7.00). She gave me a map and told me that it would dropping me off within a 10 minute walk to the hotel (Delta). I went with it and it did just that. I was within a few minutes walk to the airport. Some very helpful Montreal folks told me exactly which stop to get off for my hotel.
Riding the bus was actually a very good experience and I am not usually one to take the bus but it worked out great. And the ticket you buy is valid for 24 hrs and can be used for the train as well. So when I was returning to the airport, I just went back to where I was dropped off , only across the street for the bus taking me back to the airport and my ticketk was valid. So for $7 I was able to travel effortlessly to and from the airport. If you stay longer, the price goes up by $7 per 24 hr.
Remember, no L Aerobus ---take the 747 express if you want to travel by bus. You can also take a cab and it runs about $38 -40 each way. Anyone with hotels near the consulate should consider this. I stopped at bus station #6 which is Rene Levesque and Rue Jeanne-Manice. That stop is very close to the following hotels: Delta Montreal and Delta Centre-Ville, Embassy Suites by Hilton Montreal, Hilton Garden Inn, Holidan Inn Montreal Midtown, Hotel Dauphin, HOtel XIX Siecle, Hyatte Regency, InterContinental Hotel, St Suplice Hotel, Tour Centre-Ville, Westin Monreal.
Grab a map when you take the bus. There are other stops for other hotels. Overall I can recommend this and wish I knew that going in so I didn't have to run around chasing a ghost of a bus called L Aerobus.
The Delta Montreal is also a great place to stay, excellent staff, very clean hotel and lots of service. I enjoyed it. The king size bed was very comfortable. After I checked into the Delta, I unpacked then decided to talk a wwalk to find the consulate. The consulate was an even shorter distance thatn I thought. It is literally a 5 minute walk !! After I had some dinner, I strolled around.
I got a wake up call for 5am, plus set the clock radio in the room, plus set my cell to be sure I wasn't going to miss my appointment !!! And I woke up anyway and beat all the alarms hahaha just minutes before. I got ready and went over a few last minutes things before I headed out. I left for the consulate around 6am and arrived likely at 6:05am. I was the first in line and stood on the left side of the doors as many before me. I thought Bwoo and his wife might be there around that time but they weren't. A few minutes later a woman arrived - naturally, I asked about VJ and she didn't know anything it. She was at the end of a 10 family immigration , being petitioned by her sister. 10 years !! That is hard to believe. Shortly after another woman arrived (again no VJ) and she told her story - 15 years !!! Same deal, family member petitioning. We chatted for some time - very pleasnt, beautiful summer day with a soft breeze. A few others started showing up around 7am including Bwoo and his wife. It was nice to chat with him for a while prior to the doors opening.
The guard opened the door around 7 30a or 7 :35am. He asked for my interview letter and passport, and allowed only myself inside. I went up a few stairs, through doors and a very pleasant guard asked for my passport and took that and the interview letter. He clipped Letter A (yaaaaaaa the coveted Letter A !!) and told me to give this to the guard downstairs. I put my wallet and items in a plastic container and went through the metal detector, just like the airport. He scanned me with a wand and I cleared. I then grabbed my things and walked down a flight of stairs - another guard was there and advised me to have a seat and that he would be back in about 10 minutes and he went up the elevator.
A few minutes later, one of the guys in line (another family petition) said that the two women behind me (10 and 15 yrs wait time) were initially denied because they had two large bags with them and were told to return to the consulate before 11am. So they weren't allowed through. This guy got Letter B and Bwoo was Letter C as a result of those two having to deal with their bads.
Note: DO NOT bring any large backpacks or cases or you will be turned away. I had my express post envelope and huge Xray envelope with me, plus I had a black soft leather zip pouch holding my evidence of the bonafides of the marriage and I brought a black plastic accordion style folder with all my documents. No problem with that.
A few minutes later others started coming in and we all entered the elevator with the guard. We went to theh 19th floor. Remember to face the back of the elevator once you enter because that is how you get out. So just walk straight in and stay there until the doors open lol. You are escorted to a waiting divided by US citizens and New Immigrants and the guard directed us to sit in the US Citizens area and told we would be called by the assigned letter.
Shortly after they announced Letter A to window 11. Oh ya, show time !! I went to window 11 and was met by a very friendly person on the other side. She was talkative and pleasant and asked for my documents. She first asked for my medical letter, and the express post envelope. I had filled out the 'To' section the previous night. She then asked for the DS230 and copy, birth certificate and copy (translations and copy), police certificate and copy I 864 and copy, my wife's 2009 taxes and copy, marriage certificate and copy, and my passport pictures. The Xrays were not required. As well, she did not ask for the employment letter or pay stubs. She left and said she would be back to take my fingerprints in about ten minutes.
About 10 minutes later she returned and scanned my prints. I asked her about the employment letter and pay stubs but she said they were not necessary. I would recommend that people brng them in case you need them but I was surprised she did not require them. It may be discretionary. She had me look over the DS230 for any errors in names or address etc and then I signed it. In any event, all went very well and she advised me to return to the waiting area and wait for my name to be called into an interview booth.
Note: I used a plastic accordion folder and had post-it tabs on all the documents for easy identification and retrieval. I also had the documents in plastic protective covers for travel.
I returned and chatted with Bwoo and his wife. At that point I saw the woman that was in line behind me and I was pleased to see she made it back. The 15 yr woman I had seen prior to us getting into the elevator so she had dealt with her bad issue quickly. In fact the 15 yr woman said she initially had an interview in March of this year and she had to change the inteview date - four month delay !!
A few mins after this they called me by my full name and went to window 7. I entered and put my documents on the chair. These are fairly small rooms. The woman was very pleasant as well and I took an oathe etc. She was in her computer and flipping through the physical file during which she asked how I met my wife ie on line. She said that's the answer she is getting a lot 'these days.' I agreed that the world has changed with the dvent of the internet. She asked when we first physically met and what year and then how often we saw each other ie 6 weeks. She asked about my work and if I would be finding similar work in my field in the USA. She asked if I had any problems at a US border - none. She then continued to review documents - she gave me the originals back ie birth certificate, marriage certificate.
She said that our case was so simple and so easy - it was very good to hear. She said it was one of the easiest cases she has seen ie no errors, no confusion with people adding middle names on one document and not on another, no last name/middle name confusion, all documents organized and clean. She was impressed !! Always a good thing I'm thinking....
She then said it all looked great and that they would be sending everything back to me with the visa by the end of the week, worst case by next week I would receive it. She gave me a generic welcome to the USA letter with a yellow COPY highlighted on it - she said not to worry about that.
That was basically the whole thing. The process was very very smooth and very very easy. US consulate staff were excellent and it made the experience a pleasure. I wasn't nervous at any time anyway but if anyone is, and given what's on the line it would be easy to get stressed out but they made everything easy.
I came out and chatted with Bwoo and his wife for a few minutes, shook hands and was congratulate by them and others. Bwoo was still waiting to be called in despite them having Letter C. They will write up their own review.
As I was getting in the elevator to leave they were called in to the window so things started to roll for them as well.
I was out of the consulate by 9am !!! I walked back to the hotel, text/called people, had a great breakfast, packed, checked out, and took the 747 express back to the airport.
I had a very positive experience at this consulate I want to thank them for that.
Good luck to all !!