Thousands of people living in the U.S., day to day plan to change their non-immigrant visa status (F1 to H-1B) or to extend their status (H-1B Extension). An alternative to have the non-immigrant visa stamped other than going to the home county is to go to a neighboring county of U.S. like Mexico and Canada, and get the visa stamped. It has been proved that the number of H1-B visas being approved without major issues has been more in Canada compared to Mexico. We would like to focus the detailed process of H-1B visa stamping in Canada.
U.S. Consulates In Canada:
There are seven U.S. Consulates located in Canada, in the following cities:
- Vancouver (Preferable for West Coast U.S. Residents)
- Toronto (Preferable for East Coast U.S. Residents)
- Quebec City
Do you need a visa to go to Canada for H-1B Visa Stamping?
Yes. We definitely need a visa to go to Canada, irrespective of it being for visiting the country or for U.S. Visa stamping.
How to apply for Canada visa?
Information on how to apply the Canada visa could be found at http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/visit/apply-how.asp. Another alternative to apply for the Canada visa is through third-party services like http://traveldocs.com/.
You should at least start the Canada visa process one month in advance, before the H1-B Visa stamping date. It would take almost a month if you would be submitting the documents through the mail, and might take two weeks if you go in person.
Mandatory Documents required to attend H-1B Visa Stamping in Canada:
- Original Passport
- The VISA application form can be found at: http://egvisaservices.com/doc/canada.pdf
- Two passport-size color photos
- Proof of legal status- I-797 and I-94
- Copy of bank statements
- Recent pay stubs
- Letter of employment
- US consulate appointment letter
- Copy of detailed travel itinerary- optional- This is a letter basically describing why/where/when about your travel to Canada.
Additional Documentation can be found at: http://h1bwiki.com/h1-b-interview/
H-1B Visa Stamping Experience in Canada
The following is the H1-B Visa Stamping experience shared by a H1BWiki visitor at Vancouver, Canada:
I booked the tickets just 2 days before. The flight ticket was cheaper, as not many people travel from Chicago to Vancouver.
I stayed at the Sheraton hotel at the Vancouver International airport. I got accommodation after searching in Murthy forum. It is advisable to share the accommodation as we do not know how much time it takes to get the U.S. Visa stamped passport back to us.
Commute to the U.S. Consulate
I lived in Richmond, traveled to Downtown, Vancouver by train. (9$ for day pass and 3.75 for one way trip). Cabs are costly as they will charge 15$ for 3 KM. If you are traveling to the consulate by cab, then it would go up to 70$. So, it is advisable to take train instead of a cab.
My interview was straight forward with a couple of simple questions and documentation with the good employer record.Process was like this Security check and then to Counter 1(they will take your passport photo, passport, Ds160, I- 797). Here you will be given a number for the interview and then you have to go 20th floor, where the actual interview happens.
I waited for an hour and a half on the 1st floor for them to call me. There were approximately 21 appointments before me. I then went to the 20th floor to reach Counter 3, where they took my fingerprints.I waited for 10 minutes here. Finally, the lady in Counter 4 called me for the interview. (There was another guy taking the interview at counter 6, heard that he is very strict and any document missing will result into a 221g. But on that day he was approving everyone, maybe everyone who attended had good documentation).
I gave the docs to her. Meanwhile, I kept my other docs ready.
VO: Have you done masters in US?
VO: Where did you do your masters?
VO: Are you working at clients place?
VO: Who is your client?
VO asked for I-129 and LCA. I gave them to her.
VO: How long have you been working with this client?
Me: 6 months
VO: Did you have any other clients before this?
VO asked for client letter, gave it to her.
VO: Name other previous clients?
Me: XYZ and ABC (I had LCA changed for all the clients and H1 amended for the client I’m currently working with, some say that I don’t need to amend but my employer was too careful )
VO: How long with the current employer?
ME: x years
VO: Before that you worked in OPT?
VO asked for my W2s and Paystubs, I gave them to her.
Verified the taxable income and the amount on my recent paystub etc., I do not know what else she was scanning through. VO looked at the computer, was typing something for a minute. Did not even look at me then said ‘Visa Approved’ and then gave a print out of the instruction for the way-bill number.
Special thanks to Sai Srinivas Pabbathi for sharing his valuable experience with the H1BWiki team.
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