You can apply US visa renewal in Mexico except for B1/B2 and H2 visas. The visa renewal should be in the same US visa category to be eligible for an interview in Mexico.
First-time visa stamping in Mexico is allowed only if you have a previous visa in the same category. This previous visa can be valid or expired.
- F1 & F2 are same F visa category
- H1B & H4 – H visa category
- L1A, L1B & L2 – L visa category
- E3 & E3D – E visa category.
If you want to get a visa stamp for H1B and currently have an F1 visa in your passport, then you are not eligible.
This article will discuss:
Passport Processing Time in Mexico
You can expect your passport with stamped visa after an interview in this location as per real-life experiences:
- Same-day passport pickup is available at Nogales and Nuevo Laredo in Mexico.
- Next day after visa interview – Tijuana, Hermosillo & Mexico City
- 2nd day after visa interview – Matamoros
- 2nd or 3rd day after visa interview – Monterrey & Ciudad Juarez
Best Location – Approval Rates
We have tried and tested Venkat & Ernesto stamping in Mexico services and they recommend these Mexico locations based on their experience for smooth visa approvals.
#1 F1 (Masters & Phd), F2, F2 to F1 (O), F1 to F2 visa renewals
Monterrey is best, followed by Nuevo Laredo, Nogales, Tijuana, Ciudad Juarez, Hermosillo and then Guadalajara.
They recommend avoiding Hermosillo if you have been on an F1 visa for more than 5 years or are doing 2nd masters.
#2 H1B & H4 / L1A, L1B & L2 / E3 & E3D Visa
If you are working as a contractor for a third party company, your first choice should be Nogales followed by Nuevo Laredo, Matamoros, Tijuana, Monterrey, Hermosillo, Mexico City, and Ciudad Juarez.
For all EVC, EVVC, and other such client and employer relationship visa stamping for H1B or L or E visa, you should carry client letter and master service agreement copy between each layer.
For full-time employment, there is no specific embassy that’s better than others. You can choose any.
The general guidance is to avoid Guadalajara for all visa interviews in this category. You should avoid Hermosillo for H1B to H4 and H4 to H1B change of status stamping.
Visa Fees Payment
US embassy in Mexico does not accept visa fees payments by credit or debit cards at this time. You have to pay US visa interview fees in cash to any Citi Banamex or Scotiabank branch. The Mexican bank would accept Mexican Pesos or will convert your US dollars to pesos.
The biggest hurdle in stamping in Mexico is the MRV fee payment and that too has to be made an in-person visit to Bank location.
Sensing the opportunity, many third party companies have started providing “stamping in Mexico” as a service. They help you with visa fees payment in Mexico and even take care of your boarding, lodging in Mexico.
If you want to handle Mexico fees payment yourself, then
- Create a user account on the official US embassy website here.
- Add your information to complete the registration.
- Continue with the visa scheduling until you arrive at the Payment page.
- Select Pay by Cash on the payments page.
- Download, print, and follow the Cash payment instruction sheet.
Remember that you do need the visa fees payment slip to carry for your visa interview. The visa fee payment generally gets activated within hours of payment and then you can book the appointment.
Form 221G in Mexico
You can be issued form 221g in Mexico and may have to wait there. In most cases, the client verification is done within 1 to 3 weeks and your visa is issued.
But, in other cases, where your DUI or OPT case status checks are required, it can take more than 3 weeks too. The visa processing time varies with each case.
You will need an agent service to pay US visa fees in Mexico.
US embassy in Mexico does not allow visa fees payment online. Only cash is accepted and hence I suggest using an agent to deposit visa fees in Mexico bank.
The agent fees vary but is in the range of USD $50 to $100 for 1 person’s visa fees payment.
Many Stampings in Mexico agents offer discounts for family fee deposits as well.
Your passport should be valid for at least 6 months at the time of your visa interview for US visa stamping.
The US visa fees receipt is valid for 365 days from the date of payment.
You can change your US embassy interview location in Mexico after visa fees payment and DS160.
This means that you can change the interview location multiple times if there is an earlier appointment available at any other location in Mexico.
I strongly recommend not to change the location though. The chances of form 221g or DS 5535 security check increase if you change the embassy.
You can change the information in your DS160 once you have submitted it.
You can just update it and take the printout of the new DS160 confirmation page to your interview.
DS160 is valid for 30 days until submitted. Once you submit, it stays valid.
If you did not submit it within 30 days, you can retrieve it and then submit it on the CEAC website.
You do not need a Mexico visa if you have any valid US, Canadian, Japan, Schengen, or European country visa stamped in your passport.
Australian passport holders do not need a Mexico visa either.
I strongly recommend getting Mexico FMM card if you enter Mexico by the land border to save yourself from any troubles. If you are stopped by the police, they will ask to show this FMM card.
Mexico FMM card is just like US i94 and is mandatory for all entries to Mexico.