H-1B Visa Stamping in Canada – Step by Step Guide

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:

  1. Vancouver (Preferable for West Coast U.S. Residents)
  2. Toronto (Preferable for East Coast U.S. Residents)
  3. Montreal
  4. Ottawa
  5. Quebec City
  6. Halifax
  7. Calgary

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:

  1. Original Passport
  2. The VISA application form can be found at: http://egvisaservices.com/doc/canada.pdf
  3. Two passport-size color photos
  4. Proof of legal status- I-797 and I-94
  5. Copy of bank statements
  6. Recent pay stubs
  7. Letter of employment
  8. US consulate appointment letter
  9. 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:

Travel Plans

I booked the tickets just 2 days before. The flight ticket was cheaper, as not many people travel from Chicago to Vancouver.

Accommodation

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.

Visa Interview

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).

Interview:
Me: Hello
VO: Hi
I gave the docs to her. Meanwhile, I kept my other docs ready.

VO: Have you done masters in US?
Me: Yes

VO: Where did you do your masters?
Me: XXXXX

VO: Are you working at clients place?
Me: Yes

VO: Who is your client?
Me: XXX

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?
Me: Yes

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?
Me: Yes

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.

 Looking for going to H1-B Visa Stamping in Canada? Comment for further questions and we will respond to you.

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  • Prashant

    Very informative post. I have been absent for some time. Thanks , Iˇll try and check back more frequently. How frequently you update your web site?

  • Suman

    My H1B Got approved this year. Going to start from this October 1st 2012. When is the better way to go for stamping? For the first time stamping do i need to go to home country or even Canada is fine?

    • H1BWIKI

      @Suman
      You can go for your H-1B stamping any time after you receive your approval. You could definitely go to county other than your home country and get your visa stamped. All you need is proper documentation. Good Luck.

  • Ketan

    So is it a myth that an H1B visa should be stamped in the home country? Am I missing something here?

    • H1BWIKI

      I surely accept its a myth. But there is no such rule. You can definitely go and get your H-1B visa stamped from a different country.

  • snaresh

    Hi – If there is a H1 transfer and if we go for stamping in canada, how many pay stubs are needed or mandatory with the new employer before we go for a Visa stamping to Canada or any country.

    Thanks,
    Naresh

  • Shuaib Malik

    Hi,

    I came on b2 visa in US and converted to f1. Did my MS Software eng. While studying i started working on cpt and later opt. Initially on cpt and first 5 months on opt, I worked on direct w2 of an IT firm. After that job, I joined consulting and it took 2 and a half months to land on first project which was of 4 months duration. Meanwhile, I applied for STEM extension which was approved in Dec. 2012. Also, my first project ended in Dec. 2012 before the start of STEM
    Extention. Currently, I have 16 months STEM extention remaining and along side I am looking for new project. I have beens unemployed for last 3 weeks now as I am sitting on bench until I find next project (I am not getting paid for the bench period)

    My brother’s wedding is in April 2013 and since I dont have f1 stamp on my passport I am thinking of going at Toronto’s U.S. Consulate. Please advice whether I should take the risk of going to Canada for stamping or not. Also, what is better waiting for next peoject to start and then go for stamping or utiljze bench period and get stamping done during this time?

    Prompt reply is much appreciated.

    Thanks,
    Shuaib Malik

  • Prashanth

    Can you please tell me how long it takes to get the passport from the time the visa interview is done ?. I would need to plan for my stay in Vancouver please ?

  • ayshvar

    @h1bwiki could you also add the process for the online application process for the canadian visa that was started on the 15th of december. It fairly easy and takes about a month to get the canadian visa stamped from the NY or LA consolate general of canada

  • Mir

    I am going to Toronto for H1B Stamping on 12th of March 3013 . Anyone going in that week please let me know.

    Reach me @ : flex.mir@gmail.com

  • Arun

    Has anyone attended the interview in Toronto on March 18th? Any news on passport? I am eagerly waiting for Loomis AWB numnber..

    • AAMI

      Same here. Nothing yet.

  • AJ

    Could you kindly inform, how long it takes to get the passport after the visa interview?
    Do we need to stay longer ?

  • Dip99

    This is a very good post. Thanks a lot.

    I am on H1B and have changed my job recently to a consultant. So my H1B transfer is in process and I should hear from them by first week of May; it is not stamped though. Currently I am on a project in Minnesota. I have to go to India in mid-June for my sister’s wedding. So what will be a good idea for me at this point. Shall I go to India and get my Visa stamped or in Canada ? Also, How much time does it takes to get the Canada visa. I only have a month in my hand and need to get it done, if I plan to do it from Canada.
    If anyone else is also in the same situation and planning to go to Canada for stamping please let me know.
    I am thanking you’ll in advance for your comments and suggestions.

  • FutureStamper

    Aren’t we suppose to turn in the i-94 when traveling internationally? How can we take that to the US Consulate then?

  • IrishinBoston

    H1B VISA RENEWAL QUESTION. I have been approved for a H1B extension and I planned to travel from Boston to Toronto next month for my new H1B stamp. The US state department website says the wait time for an interview in Toronto is 9 days. I went on the Toronto Consulate website to schedule an appointment but after I enter my preliminary details that tells me there is no appointment for 108 days. To see the calendar they want me to pay 190US but I don’t want to do that if the next appointment is over 3 months away! I’m not sure why there is such a huge discrepancy between the wait times on both websites; I suspect it is because I am a non-Canadian applying to a consulate in Canada? Does anyone have any experience or advice?

  • NZ Traveler

    Why do you say “definitely need a visa when entering Canada”? From the website here (http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/visit/visas.asp) it says that you do not need a visa if you are from the Commonwealth (New Zealand, etc)