|Consulate Review: Montreal, Canada
Review Topic: K1 Visa
|Review Date :
||April 14, 2011
|Embassy Review :
||My K1 interview experience was quite like all the other Montreal experiences - there were no surprises for me and I am so grateful for all the experiences shared here because I came prepared! Thank you all!
My friend and I drove to Montreal from Ottawa and parked in the public lot across the street (and down a little alley). We paid $15 for the day. After walking to the Tim's up Blvd. Rene Levesque for a hot drink and the washroom, we arrived back at the consulate doors by 7:20 and were 3rd in line. Our little group grew to probably 20 within 15 minutes.
I brought a large plastic envelope with all my paperwork and my x-ray in a plastic bag. I also had my friend's spare car key in my wallet since I knew I couldn't bring my phone. At the security screening, the guard watching the computer screen had another guard open my wallet to make sure the key was not electronic. I was allowed in with my watch, though...
We were told the elevator in the basement was broken but to wait down there anyway so I didn't sit next to the elevator. Instead, when there were about 25 of us in the basement, a guard came down and told everyone who had a big x-ray and was doing a [non-immigrant?] visa interview to follow him upstairs. About 3/4 of the group followed him up. Our 'first-come-first-served' order was immediately thrown out the window. We waited back in the little security screening room (while new people were being screened - it was a little chaotic), were led into a nice foyer, and took an elevator with black canvas on the walls up to the 18th floor. A lady there directed us to line up by booth 14 and have our appointment letters ready. I hadn't received an "Appointment Invitation" letter and my CSC Visa Information print-out didn't look like anyone else's appointment forms, but it was acceptable. I got ticket C9. The family who was first at the door to the consulate got C8. The couple in front of me outside the consulate got C11. Like I said, no first-come-first-served for us.
Right at 8:30, my number was finally called to booth 10 - the gentleman there took my appointment letter with my MVR receipt, my passport (I got my PR card back) and my medical envelope. He pulled a pretty thick file out of those arranged behind him and added the forms to it. He instructed me to use the hand sanitizer, and THEN give my full fingerprints. I thought that was a great idea!
I was instructed to wait in the waiting room again, and was called up by my ticket number about 15 minutes later. The lady at the window there asked for the following forms:
- DS156K (really?? I'd only brought it because everyone on VJ is always going on about bringing a copy of absolutely everything!)
- my passport pictures
- a copy of my passport bio page (I'd only made one last-minute because of someone's review here - thank you!)
- my birth certificate and a copy
- my police check
- affidavit of support with evidence (I included Jan/Feb/March paystubs, '08, '09, '10 income tax returns/W2s, letter from supervisor all paperclipped together - she didn't look through this, just added it to the pile)
- letter of intent
I was asked if I'd signed up for DHL - I had, she said that was good.
Again, she didn't necessarily inspect everything I gave her, just made sure it was all there. I hadn't submitted any of this paperwork with Packet 3 and I felt much better knowing I had it all ready to go than I would have felt wondering if the consulate had it all there. She told me to go back to the waiting room and that they'd call me back soon.
After another little while, I was called up by name and it dawned on me that this was the actual interview part! Cue nerves! I suppose I had "the blonde girl" since her hair was very long and blonde and she was very relaxed. She had me sign my DS156K and asked me how I met my fiance. When I told her it was technically online, she laughed and said, "Ok, where online? I need to start giving this a chance if I want a man!" She had me write down the website on a little post-it note and pass it back to her. I was in disbelief.
Really, though, all the questions she asked me felt just like small-talk while she finished whatever needed to get done on her computer. I noticed she had my file open in front of her and she sort of rearranged some forms here and there. Here, she gave me back my original birth certificate. She asked me how long I'd lived in Holland since I didn't have much of an accent and we talked for a bit about how fascinating we found bilingualism and accents (I did an MA in Applied Linguistics, and she'd just put her son in French kindergarten). She also asked me if I'd signed up for DHL and when I said I had, she said, "Great! We love that!" Soon, she passed me two pieces of paper (all I noticed was that one said "Welcome to the US!"), congratulated me, and wished me and my fiance well in Washington and said my passport should arrive in about a week! The interview part was kind of a blur but that was all there was to it!
Within 10 minutes, I was escorted back downstairs via 2 different elevators and was out the door by 9:45.
Here are some other random observations.
I had gone through our I129f petition package and printed off copies of the actual forms, some new pictures, 6 pages of selected recent Facebook messages and Skype conversations, copies of my Packet 3 paperwork, other "evidence of engagement" and put together all the boarding passes I could find from the last 8 months and none of that was requested. I didn't bring mounds of paperwork in the first place and only a little less than half of what I brought was requested.
The waiting room is fine but the coffee machine and the vending machine were both broken.
I found instructions from the guards and folks at the consulate often hard to catch the first time because they spoke quietly, or turned away just as they were telling us where to go next, like they were all just a little bit tired of being there. Like others have mentioned, they do their jobs well, but are not stand-out friendly.
One girl came back from the first booth and told a story about how she'd had her medical recently (in Montreal?) and was told the results would be couriered to the consulate, but the consulate didn't have her results that morning. I didn't catch all of it, but it seemed like the consulate expected to receive the results by the afternoon and she was going to have to wait for her approval.
I brought my huge x-ray (as did most of the people in our section) but it was not requested and a man sitting next to me in the waiting room asked me if he was supposed to have brought it because he was under the impression it wasn't required and was for our personal records only. When he came back from the first booth, he was relieved because it turned out to be fine that he hadn't brought it. Better safe than sorry, I guess, but it wasn't requested from me.
That just about sums up my experience. It's pretty long, but I do hope it'll benefit those of you getting ready for your Montreal interviews! It's more sitting and waiting than anything, but if you're prepared and organized, it's not really "difficult". Good luck!
(updated on April 15, 2011)
(updated on April 15, 2011)
(updated on April 15, 2011)