A lot of people on this forum have moved from the US and might want to keep visiting the US even after moving to Canada. We are one such couple who recently applied for the US visitor visa and here’s our experience.
Right after moving to Canada and receiving our PR cards we applied for the B1/B2 visa. We had to fill out DS-160 here and then create a profile on the US Department of State Visa Appointment Service here.
After paying the requisite fees ($160 per person), the earliest appointment displayed was 2 months out. So if you plan on travelling to the US, make sure that you start the visa application process sooner.
A day prior to the appointment, we got a mail asking to bring the following documents:
On the day of the interview, we were told that we would not be admitted into the facility more than 15 minutes before our scheduled time. Also, we are not allowed to carry in bags, phones, electronics etc. Our appointment was at the US Consulate in Toronto. There is a Staples across the street from this building on University Ave. They can store your items for $5 so we used that service.
We went to the consulate with our documents folder and wallets. We had to show our passports and appointment confirmation printout before entering. Then there was a security check following which we had to show our passports again along with the DS-160 confirmation printouts.
Next we stood in the first line. At the first counter, we were asked for the passports yet again along with our Canadian PR cards. The officer did not actually look at the PR cards. I think she just saw the CoPR in the passport and was satisfied.
Proceeded to the second line where the fingerprinting was done for both hands. Both the lines were quick.
The third line was the longest and took the most time. There were 3 visa officers conducting the visa interviews so it was kinda slow. When it was our turn, we had to provide our passports yet again. Then we were asked a few questions:
What’s the purpose of your visit to the US?
How long do you plan to stay in the US?
Were you in the US previously on H1B?
Where do you work in Canada?
Where did you work in the US?
Once we were done answering the questions, we were told that our visa was approved and that our passports would ship out in 3-5 days. The whole process took 45 minutes but that might be because our time slot was pretty early in the morning (8:45 AM).
We received email notification a week later that our passports were ready for pickup from the place we had selected. We were happy to see that we got 10 year visas stamped on our passports.
P.S: Although they asked for photos and other documents to be carried, we weren’t asked to provide anything except for our passports. They asked to see our PR cards but didn’t actually look at them. It may vary for others.
Great post! I think a lot of people will benefit from this.
Thank you for sharing your experience! this helps a lot.
Of course approval depends on each person’s situation, but for most with a Canada PR, it should be a lot easier considering your strong ties to this country.
I lived for a few months in India after moving from the US and tried applying while there; as expected it didn’t go too well. For anyone else considering a B1/B2, I’d strongly consider doing it only after you’ve established yourself in Canada.
A US visa is a must-have for any travelers, business our pleasure. It gives you access to beautiful cities and national parks. Besides, flights (including international connections) tend to be cheaper from the US - highly recommended for frequent flyers.
@mrandmrs Could you let me know how long after your permanent landing in Canada you had your visa interview? Should we wait a few months or it doesn’t matter? Thanks
We got our PR cards in hand soon after moving to Canada. Soon after that we applied for the US visitor visa. This was back in August. The earliest appointment which we were able to get back then was for October.
It doesn’t matter if you apply immediately since your visa appointment is anyway going to be a few months out.
@mrandmrs Thanks. Do they mail you the passport with stamped visa (or) is pickup the only option?
For us, it showed pickup as the only option but you can get it delivered to a location near you so that you don’t have to go all the way to the consulate to pick it up.
Thanks for the post @mrandmrs.
I’m curious why you didn’t choose the option of applying for a change of status (from H1B or whatever visa you had to B1/B2) while you were still in the US . That seems like a faster process.
Our H1B visas expired in 2017 and we decided not to renew them any further. Then we moved to India before coming to Canada so we didn’t have the option to do CoS.
Thanks for the great post.For your visitor visa,did you guys provide any specific travel itinerary to US as is generally required?And how did you plan that? Also,do you usually get the visitor visa for 10 years or you have to tell somewhere that you need long term?
We did not provide any written itinerary. We just mentioned verbally the cities which we were planning to visit when the VO asked our plan about staying in the US.
We did not specify this anywhere. We thought we would be issued a short-term visa because we told that we were going to the US to move our stuff to Canada and to visit family. However, to our surprise we got 10-year visas.
Does anybody else had an experience with US visitor visa after moving to Canada directly from US ? Will be really helpful if you share your experience.
Thanks in advance !
Moving permanently from the US to Canada is the strong reason for the VO to issue B1/B2. The rejection rate is very very low…
Folks I’m looking at appointments for B1/B2 in Toronto and seems like there’s at least a two month wait.
Any chance I can get something sooner? I’m not sure if I can qualify for a emergency appointment (what they’d call “extenuating circumstances”). Is there a particular time/day of week when new and earlier slots tend to open up?
You could try getting an appointment in nearby cities Ottawa or Montreal
This is an informative post. My question is regarding cases where someone has worked/lived in US on H1B, and has an approved I-140. If they move to Canada with PR, and later on decide to apply for a US B1/B2 visa, do you see them running into any major hurdle?
I ask because having I-140 is a definitive ‘intent to immigrate’. I know that getting F-1(study visa) would be an uphill task for the above profile. Also, I had someone telling me that TN visas are not given to those Canadian citizens who have their I-140 approved in US. The reason being the same: One is not immigration-intent (TN, F1) while the other establishes your intent (I-140).
Is there a time limit on when can you send your passport for US visa stamping after 221AP ? Also, is US embassy Toronto, stamping passports for visa or is it a complete shutdown ? Any ideas ?
US embassy in Toronto is not processing visitor visas currently. I had an appointment for June which has been cancelled and for rescheduling their online system shows no available appointment dates at-least for Toronto. There are few dates available in Ottawa from September onwards. But Toronto and Montreal shows no availability.
Looks like everything is shut down for the time being. For what its worth, when I was looking at available slots earlier this year, Calgary and Halifax were posting significantly lesser wait times (2 weeks as opposed to 2 months on Toronto or Montreal). Target these locations if you’re really in a hurry.
Also if you are appearing for appointments as a couple or family, earlier timings may open themselves to you when browsing the system for available slots. (Speaking purely from my own experience here)
I’d be curious to know the answer to this too! Most of the jobs I’m applying to involved a ton of US travel so I’m wondering if people who have had their I-140’s approved were also able to get visitor visas.