|Consulate Review: Montreal, Canada
Review Topic: K1 Visa
|Review Date :
||October 15, 2010
|Embassy Review :
||Dave and I arrived in Trudeau Airport Dorval (YUL) within an hour of each other the day before his interview. We took the 747 Express (airport shuttle) from YUL to Rue Jeanne-Mance, then walked a block back and a block over to Hotel Le Dauphin Centre-Ville. The shuttle is $7 for a ticket good for 24 hours from the time you get the ticket. You can get tickets at the bureau de change in the airport, or pay all in coins when getting on the bus. Continental breakfast starts at 06:00, so plenty of time to check out, get breakfast, and get to the consulate.
We walked up to Complexe Desjardins (a mall) to get the Xpresspost envelope. The Canada Post in the mall is on the bottom level, easily found from signs in lime green. I knew we wanted the largest of 3 sizes, but when we got there were confused that there were a Regional and another envelope in that size. The other envelope was 2-day, for all of Canada. The Regional worked for us because Quebec-Ontario is one region and Dave lives in Ontario. He said at dinner he didn't have the $350 USD but I knew right away he was joking.
After I got us lost walking around in Montrťal, we arranged all our paperwork, according to the Packet 4 list, Packet 3, NOAs, the I-129F, and evidence of continuing relationship. They did not ask to see any of the relationship evidence. We also brought and were never asked for the X-ray.
The morning of the interview, we left the hotel at 06:31 and arrived at the consulate at 06:36, where we were the first in line. Thanks to VJ I knew to line up on the left. Around 06:55 a girl got dropped off and we talked for a bit, she was also going for a K-1, and she'd read VJ but doesn't post.
At 07:25, Dave checked his jacket pocket and realised he'd forgotten his passport.. this time he wasn't joking. After all the preparation of documents the night before, that was the one thing I hadn't thought to ask about because it was obvious, LOL! So I handed him the folder I was carrying, and went back to the hotel to get his passport out of his backpack in the hotel's luggage storage room. I arrived back at the consulate a few minutes after 07:30 and Dave was outside waiting for me because the guard told him it would be easier if he waited for me. He thought I was mad at him, I wasn't, I thought it was funny, a story to tell the grandkids. ^^
The guard clipped a plastic letter 'C' to our interview letter and we went through security (we didn't have to remove our shoes), then through a door to the left and down the stairs. Waited about 3 minutes, then a guard came down to take the small group up to the 19th floor. It's pretty neat the way the building is structured, there are other entrances for other companies that share the building, and that elevator only goes to three floors. I wasn't worried about being "first", I just wanted to be in the first 5, and we were. I don't have an answer to whether you're supposed to show up "no more than 20 minutes before" your interview like the new Packet 4 says, since our scheduled time was 08:00 and we got in around 07:35.
Shortly after the girl with letter A, Dave was called by name up to window 9. He asked if I could be there with him and the CO said sure. He was tall with light brown hair and glasses, and friendly, joked around with us. He asked for Dave's passport, medical (just the brown envelope), and 2 passport photos. We had the photos in a Ziploc bag and the CO asked if Dave packed his lunch in that. xD He then asked for Dave's birth certificate (original and copy), copy of bio page of passport, and police certificate (original). He gave back the original birth certificate before we were done at that window. He asked for my updated letter of intent to marry, and then the Affidavit of Support form I-134 (form mentioned by name) and supporting evidence. I had my dad's joint sponsor info, but the CO determined mine was sufficient so I did not hand him my dad's. Then he needed forms DS-160 and DS-156. They wanted the printouts we brought even though Dave had mailed them all back with Packet 3. Then DS-156K, but not the DS-230; in fact he handed back the 2nd page Dave had mailed in and said it wasn't for this visa. Then he handed back a stapled packet of "extras" that was either everything we'd just given him or the Packet 3 Dave had mailed in.
The CO at window 9 then gave us a billing sheet to go pay the $350 at window 14A. Windows 14A and 14B are the same window with 2 queues. If you forget any photocopies, from the billing sheet it looks like they charge $1 per photocopy. The woman there typed in Dave's last name and took and counted our $350 USD cash. She then handed us back the billing slip and said bring this to my colleague. So Dave went back to window 9 and the man said he shouldn't have come back here, he should wait in the waiting room to be called, but he took Dave's fingerprints at that time.
We waited in the waiting room maybe 20 minutes, chatted with someone who was there for a CR-1 and had read VJ but doesn't post. Then they called Dave by name to Room 8. (Windows 9-12 are down a short hall from the waiting room, past the restrooms and rooms 7 and 8; Window 14A/B is out in the waiting room; Rooms 7 and 8 are the little interview rooms, you go in and close the door and there's 1 seat. Those seem to be the only rooms/windows used for K-1.) The CO looked young with sandy coloured wavy hair, and he was really nice, too. We put our folders on the chair as the CO said we could to be more comfortable. He had us raise our right hands and swear in. He took Dave's fingerprint to make sure he was still the same person as when he came in this morning. Then asked Dave how we met, asked about the game, then about the first time we met in real life (Dave came to visit me in California). He asked if I live in California and I explained I moved back East "so our children would know their grandparents". He asked me what I do for work, made small talk so it didn't seem much like an interview. At one point he said something like "let's see, what other silly nosy questions can I ask." He asked when the wedding was planned for, we said November 28th but that I'd told my parents not to schedule anything or send out invitations until Dave had his visa in hand. The CO made sure understood about signing up for the draft withing 30 days of entering the US, that he could do that at any US Post Office, and the form he was signing during the interview was just stating he *would* register for selective service, it was not the actual registration form. He asked if we'd signed up for DHL, and I said we had but the man at window 9 said Xpresspost would be faster, so the CO found our Xpresspost envelope in his pile. I said I was really hoping it came in the 3 business days it said on the website, because my parents want to give the guests 6 weeks notice like for a "proper wedding", but that I'd read on VJ about some couples recently who were told they were approved but then the visa wasn't printed right away and I really hoped that didn't happen to us... The CO said VisaJourney is a great resource, but we need to realise each case is different and we might not be told of other circumstances in some cases that require additional checks and delay processing, but that the consulate is "not trying to hoard passports", they do try to get them out as quickly as possible. I was still trying to talk about the wedding, and the CO said based on the information you've given, I can tell you you're approved, congratulations and welcome to the United States of America. I squee'd, Dave and I hugged each other and thanked the CO. Just before we left he asked if there were any other people involved, that I had mentioned grandchildren, and I said they don't exist yet. :D
Neither of us were at all nervous; we knew we were well-prepared. Dave thought the only thing they might question was our age difference (I'm older), but I was like, nah, that's pretty normal for Canada. They never mentioned it.
Out in the waiting room, people we'd been talking to congratulated us and we wished them luck. We were out by 09:30 and went back to the hotel to get our luggage. We took the 747 Express back to the airport (note the bus tickets are good for 24 hours) and made tickets then to fly back to Toronto. The AirCanada booking agent is all the way to the right in Trudeau. There are flights every hour YUL to YYZ, we had no problem getting seats together last-minute, and decided to wait until 2pm when it was a cheaper flight than earlier in the day.
Overall the single complaint I have about Montrťal is the wait to *get* an interview. For the day of the actual interview, it was no-pressure and everyone we dealt with was very pleasant.