In-person Buffalo passport stamping experience

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Subject: In-person Buffalo passport stamping experience
  Here is an account of my visit to Buffalo for the benefit of those who plan to get their passports stamped in person.

CIC is located in HSBC center?no address provided. All the locals know where it is, but since I arrived at Buffalo at 2 in the morning, I needed to find it on a map. It is located downtown filling a block at the intersection of Main Street (between Pearl Street and Washington) and West Seneca. A subway line runs right under the building.

Rush hour traffic in Buffalo seemed relatively light. Parking is available in a lot across the street (a rip off since there are no in and out privileges) and a parking meters. Parking was no problem.

In the lobby of the HSBC center, there is an area marked "Buffalo Consulate" where you wait. The office opens at 8:00am, and on the day I went, a line formed by 7:30am. There is a coffee shop and newspaper stand in the lobby, so you can grab a cup of coffee and a snack. The line is taken up stairs in groups of ten, so as long as you are in the first ten, you will go first. When I arrived at 7:30am, there were four people already in line.

At about 7:45am a CIC employee described the process. Ignoring the instructions in the ppr letter, she wanted three photos folded into each passport and the ppr letter out of the envelope and held with the passports. The blonde woman who herded us was fairly high strung (I think she had five double espressos for breakfast), but not a bad sort.

At around eight, the CIC employee put numbered badges on each person in line and took us upstairs. One unfortunate group did not have three photos in the passport as she described and lost their place in line?it is best to follow her instructions exactly.

Once off the elevator, she put us back in the order we were in line (so you don´t have to worry about keeping your place in the elevator). Upstairs, she collected cell phones and electronic devices?probably better to leave them in the car?and put us in line before the proper window.

The window opened about 8:05 and they collected the materials and told us to return between 1:30 and 3:00pm. They issued a small card with a number to allow you to retrieve the passports. When you leave, you put the security sticker on the back of the card so that you can show it to the security guard when you return.

The same line-up process is followed after lunch, so you may want to arrive early. We got back in line about 12:30pm with four people ahead of us.

Please note, there is no rest room available in the lobby of the CIC building. If you had a lot to drink at lunch, be sure to use the restroom at the restaurant. If you do not, you will have to leave the building to go to a nearby restaurant where the staff graciously allow you to use their facilities. Restrooms are available once you make it to the CIC office on the 30th floor.

At 1:15pm, the same CIC employee counted off the first ten people in line and brought us upstairs to line up at the same window. You hold up the card they gave you in the morning with the security badge stuck on the back when you board the elevator to the 30th floor.

Once upstairs, the window opened about 1:40pm. Because of the early 2006 club, it seemed like they were issuing more pprs than usual?they had three tubs full of files. The file for the first guy in line was not there yet, so he had to wait a few more minutes. My file just arrived by the time I got to the window?fifth in line. About 40 people arrive to retrieve their passports by the time I left at 2pm.

The CIC employee gave back the passport and COPR document. She said to remain in the room to review everything. I guess if they made a mistake in spelling, they can change it on the spot.

Everything looked okay to me and snow was predicted, so I left, jumped on the highway (just a block or so away) and headed South. The visa expires exactly one year after the medical exam was conducted.

The whole process was painless and relatively efficient. The CIC security person was a bit overbearing, but as long as you deal with her with a smile on your face and a little understanding, everything should go well.

Best of luck to all of you who are going through the process.

P.S. I have a road map of Buffalo I will mail for free to the first person in the US who sends me his/her address at abqwade@yahoo.com.

[08-01-2006,14:36]
[**.38.201.37]
Tim
(in reply to: In-person Buffalo passport stamping experience)
Great Tim. Congratulations again :) ..Please tell us which day of the week was that.
Thanks in advance,

[08-01-2006,14:51]
[**.11.50.70]
BraveHeart
(in reply to: In-person Buffalo passport stamping experience)
Great experience!!! Again,Congrats Tim!
[08-01-2006,15:45]
[**.177.36.137]
Pokmi
(in reply to: In-person Buffalo passport stamping experience)
Tim

Is it necessary that passport is valid for six more months for the pr visa to be stamped. Was there any such instruction on ppr letter or announced there.

Thank you very much

[08-01-2006,15:56]
[***.150.176.199]
Anonymous
(in reply to: In-person Buffalo passport stamping experience)
Congrats Tim. Thanks for sharing your experience in detail.
[08-01-2006,16:26]
[**.70.95.204]
Kool
(in reply to: In-person Buffalo passport stamping experience)
Great experience and the same way great to be sharing that experience i am sure it will be very useful for Buffalo applicants. Thank you
[08-01-2006,16:34]
[**.99.89.129]
amanfromsomewhere
replies to questions: (in reply to: In-person Buffalo passport stamping experience)
The stamping was on Thursday, January 5th.

I am sorry, I do not recall any provision about how long the passport had to be valid and they collected and kept the ppr letter when I applied for the visa, so I cannot look back at it. You might want to ask someone who has the ppr letter in hand. But I imagine the passport must at least be valid as far as the date of one year after the medicals. But that is just a guess.

[09-01-2006,01:18]
[**.32.96.152]
Tim
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