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H1B visa experience in Vancouver

發布時間:2008-8-14 文字大。  打。打印此文

Thanks for all the info in the BBS, I just returned from Vancouver, want to share my experience and hopefully will help others. Feel free to contact me if you want to ask a specific question.

My situation:

J1->F1->H1B in USA
Got H1B visa 2 years ago in Tijuana
Went to Canada for immigration landing as well as 2nd H1B visa

I am not going to repeat the common items for visa application, but mention more specific things for Vancouver consulate

1. Consulate located in downtown, if you have a place in Vancouver, it is cheaper going by public transit. If you drive, long term parking is about $20. You will not be let in if you go too early. Arriving 30 mins before your appointment time is enough

2. Must pay fee before going in, Scotia bank is about 1 block away, make sure you use the form required on the Vancouver consulate website to pay.
Scotia Bank is a partner of Bank of America, you can use your BofA ATM card directly with Scotia Bank

3. VISA process takes about 2-3 hours depending on how busy consulate is.
For me, I arrived at 8:30 and was let in at 8:45 for the 9:30 appointment. I got out at 10:30, and that day was not considered a busy day according to the security officers

4. As a Canadian Permanent Resident, I got multiple entrance H1B visa until the expiration date of H1B. Of course that also depends on visa officer, the standard h1b expiration for Chinese Mainland National is 3 month 2 entrances

5. Prior to my interview, I witnessed 2 single female applicants applying for B2 visa separately, all approved. The visa office asked for valid documents to prove your status in Canada, and he asks questions mainly to verify that you are not lying on your documents. Overall, my feeling was they are quite reasonable.

6. My VISA was approved and was ready to be picked up the next day. For B2, it would take 2 days. According to a flier the consulate gave me on the day of interview, H, L, M visas could take up to 4 days to process. Before I went, I did send email and fax my I797 to the consulate to request the "PIMS" (Petition Information Management System) check, but I never got response from them, so I did not know if that helped or not. Visa pick up time is 2:15 PM and took about 45 minutes if you are the last one in the line.

Some other information that might be helpful:
1. www.vansky.com has a list of family hotel. About $35-$60 per day. A good alternative to Motels or Hotels
2. Weather is best during July-September in Vancouver, but of course, housing would be more expensive during this time
3. I went from Seattle, the drive was about 2.5 hours from Seattle to the Border. The delay at border going into Canada was always just about 10-20 mins. The delay coming into the USA was 1-2 hours during traffic hour.

4. When driving back into the USA, there are 2 border choices, if you take the main one, called Arch/Perce Park, the delay is longer, there is a duty free shop that you could spend your Canadian $ to buy some gifts. If you go with the other one (Blaine), the delay could be much shorter (10 mins if you don’t need new I-94)

5. In my case, I needed a new I-94. The border officer gave me a hard time because my company recently had some bad press. I got the impression that the particular officer was not fond of me because I was a Chinese H1B worker. He asked me why I went to Mexico, and why I left Canada even though I am an immigrant. He even said "you are toast! buddy!". I was getting ready to challenge him if he refused to let me into the States, but he just asked me to take a seat while he worked on his PC and eventually handed me a new I-94. My advises would be:
a. Just answer all questions as concise as possible.
b. When officer made certain statements apparently was their own opinion, just keep your mouth shut.
c. Some officers have a temper, and would try to intimidate you to say something wrong, stay calm and just stick to your documents and eventually they just had to go with the books.
d. My experience has been younger officers seemed to have less temper/questions against foreign passport holders.
e. Oh, and make sure you have US dollar cash, a new I-94 costs $6 !!!

Since I had been to Tijuana before as well, here is my comparison for these two places,

1. Visa process is shorter in Vancouver, 2 hours vs. 6 hours in TJ
2. Border process should be shorter in Canada, 1 hour vs 2-3 hours in TJ
3. Driving to Vancouver is a pain, flying might be better. Going to TJ is relatively easy if your starting city is San Diego
4. If something goes wrong, it is definitely easier to get help or solve the problems (such as flying back to china) in Vancouver due to its big Chinese community and English being the official language, but the down side is the costs of staying in Vancouver is higher than TJ
5. You need to get a Canadian VISA to go to Vancouver while you can go to TJ without any VISA.

來源:未名空間(www.mitbbs.cn

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