US visa Stamping in Mexico is allowed. You can also visit US embassy in Canada to get your visa stamps. Both Mexico and Canada are accessible from USA through land borders.
First H1B stamping in Mexico is allowed for third country national (TCN) like India, China citizens. You cannot attend B1/B2 and H2 visa interviews in Canada or Mexico.
First Time Visa Stamping in Canada / Mexico
One of our guest Anand got his first time H1B stamping in Nogales approved for 3 years. His experience:
I haven’t found any appointments in Canada or India in 2 weeks. So took a risk by looking at other experiences in Mexico. It has been approved in Nogales Mexico and it is my first H1B and returned back to US today.
You have been super helpful for me.
Thanks so much Anil.
Approved for 3 years
Note that you should have an existing US visa stamp in your passport in the same class to visit Mexico. The existing visa stamp in same class can be either valid or expired.
- An H4 visa holder can visit Mexico to get first time H1B stamp.
- An F1 student cannot get first time H1B or H4 stamping in Mexico. Canada allows change of visa class though.
Visa Renewal Stamping in Canada / Mexico
Visa renewal visa stamp can be obtained in Mexico as well as Canada.
Many people visit Canada and Mexico for H1B renewal stamping including H1B Amendment, Transfer or extensions instead of visiting their home country.
You will need to carry proofs of your H1B approval including the original i797 approval form and client letter (most important) especially for third party consulting companies with EVC model.
H1B to H4 COS Visa Stamping in Mexico / Canada
H1B to H4 change of status stamping in Mexico is allowed if you are currently on H1B visa residing and working in USA.
Visiting Canada is also a good option to get onto H4 status quickly given that H4 COS processing times are too high. Many people get H4 visa stamp and then quickly file H4-EAD work permit after re-entering and save time.
I also recommend people to get H4 visa stamp in either Mexico or Canada instead of filing H4 COS while they are in H1B 60 day grace period after job loss. Off-course, your spouse should have approved H1B for you to get H4 visa.
You may be asked the reason for changing from H1B work visa to H4 dependent visa by visa officer. You can speak truthfully about the H1B extension denial or job lay off. Do not try to hide the information as the visa officer will have all your details.
You should answer the question as “you will not work on H4 visa” if asked “do you plan to work in USA” as you are applying for H4 at this time. H4 is not allowed to work until you have H4-EAD.
It is perfectly fine and legal to apply H4 and then apply H4 EAD after returning to US.
F1 to H4 / H1B Visa Stamping in Mexico
US embassy in Mexico does not allow change of visa class stamping. This means that F1 class of visa change to H4 or H1B is not allowed in Mexico.
Canada allows F1 to H4 or H1B category change stamping in US embassy. You would need Canada’s visitor visa (or if you have other type of Canadian visa) to enter Canada.
Mexico allows US visa to enter their country and no separate Mexico visa is needed.
Form 221g Request Issued
Form 221g can be issued after visa interview in not Mexico and Canada. If you are asked to submit more documents, you will have to stay there till a decision is made on your application.
You can ask for giving your passport to you if you want to travel out of Mexico while your form 221g is being processed. The form 221g admin processing after visa approved can still take anywhere between 7 days to 8 weeks.
MRV Visa Interview Fees Payment in Mexico
US embassy in Mexico do 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 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 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 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.
‘Out of Status’ Visa Stamping Not Allowed
If you have been out of status in the USA because you violated the terms of your current visa like H1B or overstayed the validity printed on your I-94, then you are not eligible to apply at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate in Canada or Mexico as a citizen of any other country.
You must for visa stamping in your home country i.e. nationality or passport.
You can prove your legal status using your current i797 approval notice or EAD card or renewed i94.
Expired Visa Stamp, Revalidate new i797 approval?
If you plan to visit Canada or Mexico and want to re-enter USA within 30 days on expired visa, you can enter as long as you have a valid I-94 using automatic Re-validation process.
US Visa Stamping Embassy in Canada
- Quebec City
US Visa Stamping Embassy in Mexico
- Ciudad Juarez
- Mexico City
- Nuevo Laredo