**THIS IS LONG POST**
It's been a while since I have been wanting to share my interview experience and landing afterwards (yes finally landing!), a bit of background, I was an International Student in the US, we filed our application in April of 2011, I received a letter on August advising a personal interview was required to assess our application, previously I held a Canada multiple visitor's visa from 2008 until 2010 and then I renewed it and they gave me another 5 months from the end of 2010 until May of 2011 which was when my US student visa was about to expire, this allowed me to visit my wife almost every month while I finished College. Since January I have been working as an IT consultant for a company in the US (I also had a work permit through OPT benefit of my student status in the US), by the time I received the letter advising an interview was required, my visitor visa to Canada was expired and I was awaiting the last extension of my work permit, against all odds I went to request another multiple visitor's visa which to my surprise they issued until 2013 (when my passport will expires), I say to my surprise because the last time I renewed it they gave me only 5 months, I have to mention also that I have visited Canada over a dozen of times and always respected the times I was allowed to stay.
So I left to Canada almost at the end of August, crossing the border was not a big issue, I told them I was going to see my wife, I showed them statements from the bank showing I had enough savings to cover my staying, initially I had planned to stay for 1 month, but me and my wife decided to wait until knowing the date of the interview (our first letter said that we were placed in an interview queue), by the time I had already requested the first set of GCMS notes as you should do in case you are schedule for an interview.
Of the things we were able to see, basically they had problems believing the timeline of our relationship (we did married pretty fast, we had a small civil ceremony where her family attended but not mine since they all are in my country of birth). Also for whatever reason they said that in the application I submitted to renew my TRV on December 2010, I did not mention I was married, which was odd since I had no reason not to mention I was married at the time (I'll go into that later), they also mentioned me and wife had different religious backgrounds (I was raised Catholic she was raised as Jehovah's witness, at the time we met, got married and presently neither of us practice a religion), also they mentioned that we did not have any records of us trying to combine our affairs (bank accounts, etc.)
Times goes by until December 2011 when I received a letter at my US address confirming our interview was schedule at the embassy in Buffalo on April 25, 2012, so from the date of the first letter advising an interview was required until the actual interview date it's a whole 8 months, I saw people on this forum getting the whole application completed in less than that time. Because the interview was going to be held in Buffalo and me being from a non-exempt visa country for both Canada and the US, I had to request a US visitor visa while in here, I had to mention I did have a visitor visa valid until 2015 but unfortunately I had my passport stolen in an unrelated event in New York, before that I requested an extension to stay in Canada since the 6 months limit was going to expire on February 2012, I requested an extension until April 25 (the day of the interview) which I should've extended longer than that period to play it safe, so anyone reading this that have an interview scheduled and request an extension to stay past the initial 6 months, extend it beyond the interview date in case for whatever reason after the interview you have to go back to Canada without a PR visa.
So I received a visitor record (different from a visitor visa) valid until April 25, on February I submitted an application for a US visitor visa, went to a personal interview at the US embassy in Ottawa, I knew a lot of people on visitor status in Canada have been refused, even temporary workers and students, however I have had records of previously visiting the US and my last status in the US was as a student. The day of the interview everything went well and the interviewer officer basically acknowledged that I had a valid US visitor visa before and that if I still had that passport I had stolen, I wouldn't be there to request a new visa, so I was issued a US visitor visa for 10 years (1 less thing to worry).
During this time me and wife rented a beautiful house outside Montreal finally started to settle and tried to have a normal life, we opened a joint bank account, put the hydro bill under both names and basically just waited the date of the interview.
We decided to drove from Montreal to Buffalo a day before the interview, it took us a little over 8 hours, when we arrived to the US border, the officials were very friendly, however the officer noted that my visitor record was set to expire the next day (the 25) and that there were no guarantees that I was going to be approved hence in the event of having to go back to Canada after the interview without a PR visa, there were no guarantees Canada will let me in, he went to speak to his supervisor and came back saying he will let me in, he stamped my passport and wrote "valid until: April 25" so they allowed me to be in the US for only 1 day!
Anyways at least I was allowed to attend the interview, we drove to downtown Buffalo, we stayed at the Hyatt Regency which is at a walkable distance (less than 1 mile) from the Embassy.
Interview day: The interview was scheduled at 10:30 AM, so we checked out before from the hotel, put our bags in the car and walked to the embassy, I really can't say I was nervous, my wife was a little bit but we were both confident everything was going to be fine because after all, we had nothing to hide, so we arrived at the embassy, we asked the security guard and for what I was able to see they had a list in advance of who is supposed to attend that day, to our surprise seems we were not in the list, he made a phone call and after that he gave us an ID badge to access the premises in the 30th floor, we arrived and to our surprise it was totally empty not one single person waiting, I checked in with the clerk in the first window who told me to take a seat and wait. During all that time no one showed up and though I couldn't see what was happening behind the office it didn't look as busy as you would've think taking in consideration the amount of work Buffalo seems to have. We waited around 45 minutes until I was called, only me not my wife, the lady was very polite at the beginning of the interview, explained me that the interview was divided in 3 parts, the first was about my life, my background, the second about my relationship with my wife and the third was that she will make a decision that day, depending on the answers I provided.
So we started discussing my life, my family, the family I have in Canada, etc., she was surprised to hear I have almost a perfect English language skills, which I found odd since I went to College in the US, anyways, as we moved to described our relationship she started to be tougher and tougher, she asked me about how my wife's family was ok to marry me, etc., she wanted to know how we did communicated, travels I made, she made, she told me that a concern for her was that I left to Canada soon after my student visa expired appears to be to look for status in Canada, however I told her that was not the case because I had an employment authorization allowing to stay in the US until February of 2012 (I had to show the EAD card I was issued by US Immigration). The interview lasted around 1 hour 20 minutes, I showed her the leased me and my wife signed for the house, the bank statements with both names, hydro bills, my passport with stamps of all visits, also I prepared a photo a timeline photo album using Publisher, from the date we met until the day of the interview, it showed for example my wife attended my commencement ceremony last May, my father travel also from my country of birth and it was the first time they both met, so it shows photos with him and with extended family I have in the US, it showed photos also of the house and with her family as well, I think the album was well done. As I stated above she indeed asked about the visitor's visa application I made on December 2010, saying I did not mention I was married, but since I am a very detail oriented person I always kept copies of all applications I made in the past, I printed a copy of the application I submitted on December 2010, first the main application and in the additional family information, both showed I did mentioned I was married, the name of my wife and the address she was living at the time, she did not say anything else after that, at the end she told me she was "reasonable convinced our relationship was genuine", BTW my wife was never called to the interviewer both, it was all me, and I think it was due to the fact that the lady did not speak French (my wife only speaks French), that is only an assumption I'm making, after that she started to review everything was completed (police records, payments, etc.) I had a more recent RCMP police record I requested since I have been in Canada for more than 6 months, she asked me to hand it over since it was more recent than the one they had on file, then mentioned that medical records were not present due to a change in their systems back in March, so told me to come back after 1 PM since she will request the records from the Ottawa office.
We went to have lunch at a local restaurant and went back as instructed at 1 PM, another clerk was there and requested my passport, she asked me if by any chance I had passport photos (which I did not because I was not asked to take any) so they used the photos I originally submitted with the application, waited like 30 mins. and then the lady came with my passport, PR visa stamped and COPR too, the PR visa was valid for 1 year from that date (valid until April 2013), so me and my wife just hugged and thanked this was finally over.
Landing: After doing some souvenir shopping in downtown we head up to the border, landing was pretty simple, I told the officer I was coming to land, he advised to go to the office inside, I gave my passport, a few questions were asked, since we entered through Ontario, we were not asked to show my CSQ, we waited like 45 minutes, signed COPR and a few other forms, the lady stamped my passport and that was it, we head to our car drove 8 hours back to Montreal and just like that our journey was finished, it took 1 year and 10 days since the application was received in Mississauga, sometimes I think if it would've been the same as doing it inland, I already received my SIN card, applied to Quebec health insurance and I was lucky enough to have a job waiting for me here since the company I was working in the US have offices in Montreal, so Interview, PR visa and Landing were all done the same day and I respected the one day US allowed me to stay!
For people awaiting interview, I know we all want to know the questions that they might ask, all cases are different, request a copy of your GCMS notes, that way you can see what are their concerns (I requested 3 sets of GCMS notes, always did it via email and never had problems getting them on time) organize your proof in sections so it's easy for you to find it when asked, and above everything else be honest, there is no reason to be nervous when you are telling the truth.
I wish the best to all waiting, I know it is difficult because I have lived it, and above else have faith in that superior being, if anyone would like to know more details of our experience feel free to ask, thanks to all for their best wishes support and expertise, specially to ddobr2, Eddy070 and GOGOGO.
Sorry if this was REALLY LONG, have a good day all!