US Visa Stamping in Mexico, Canada, First Time, Renewal

First time H1B stamping in Mexico, Canada for Indian, chinese in USA. H1B to H4 COS allowed. F to H4 stamping not allowed in Mexico. Canada visa required.

Written by Am22tech
  By Am22tech      Updated  13 Mar, 20 #Stamping in Canada #Stamping in Mexico


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

Both Canada and Mexico US embassy allow first time visa stamping. Many people visit Nogales or US embassy in Matamoros due to its proximity to Texas land border.

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

Read the first time H1B stamping done by our guest at Nogales, Mexico.

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.

Related: US visa Stamping in Mexico – Ciudad Juarez Experience

Form 221g Request Issued

Form 221g can be issued in 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 get your passport back 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

  1. Create a user account on official US embassy website here.
  2. Add your information to complete the registration.
  3. Continue with the visa scheduling until you arrive at the Payment page.
  4. Select Pay by Cash on payments page.
  5. 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

  • Calgary
  • Halifax
  • Montreal
  • Ottawa
  • Quebec City
  • Toronto
  • Vancouver

US Visa Stamping Embassy in Mexico

  • Ciudad Juarez
  • Guadalajara
  • Hermosillo
  • Matamoros
  • Merida
  • Mexico City
  • Monterrey
  • Nogales
  • Nuevo Laredo
  • Tijuana


Official US Embassy Mexico guidance for Non Mexico Citizens

Recent discussion on forum

  1. Susheel_K

    Hello, Thank you for the information. Here’s my situation. Any suggestions would be helpful. The H1b stamp I have is based on my previous employers petition 2012-2015 when I last entered the US in Dec-2014 and the I-94 date was until 10/10/2015. I haven’t traveled out of US since then. I was laid off in 2016 and moved to a different employer right away and have been working for this employer since then. I have an approved i-140 from my first employer. My current I-797A is valid until July-2021.

    My question is can I get an H1b stamping in Mexico (Current appointment wait time is 2 days) since my i-94 has been long expired, would this be any issue or should I just go to my home country India (current appointment wait time is 48 days). I need to travel to India but cannot stay longer than 15-20 days due some personal reason. If I can go for stamping in Mexico, I can get it done in a short period and travel to India, take care of stuff and come back soon. Any suggestions please.

  2. Anil.Gupta

    Hi @Susheel_K

    Not sure how this question missed my attention earlier.

    If you still need an answer, the stamping in Mexico can be done but you can get stuck there as well if they issue form 221g.

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  38 Useful Questions & Answers

  1. HS
    HS 25 Feb, 20 at 8:33 am

    Hello my spouse was on h1 with a stamping ( from India) valid until September 2020. She went through COS to H4 while in US and has that also approved till September 2020. Would she be eligible for AVR during return to US if we plan to travel to Canada during April? I am assuming if that is not possible she may need to go for stamping in Canada? Thank you in advance.

  2. Shachi Bhatt
    Shachi Bhatt 23 Dec, 19 at 2:24 pm

    Hi Anil,

    My H1b renewal was just accepted, and I need to get my stamping done. My current H1b stamp does not expire until Jan 15th. I was thinking of going to Mexico to get stamped for my renewal H1b – would that be okay? do you have any idea on the approximate processing time in Mexico? Can I get my renewal stamping done before my current H1b expires (i.e. before Jan 15th)?

  3. bhushan borade
    bhushan borade 23 Dec, 19 at 2:24 pm

    Hi Anil

    Currently I am in Canada and my H1 b out of cap extension got approved now.

    My first Time extension got denied and utilized my 240 days grace period as result came after that and moved to Canada

    Now my question is since second time extension got approved can I do stamping in Canada with my dependents or do I need to go India

    Thanks in Advance

  4. Nizam007
    Nizam007 16 Dec, 19 at 2:37 pm

    I am currently in US on F1 CPT . Got my H1b consular processing approval with I797B( without i94 and no consulate name on it, i transferred and got approved to a nee employer). Can i attend my h1b visa interview in CANADA?
    Thank you

    • Anil Gupta
      Anil Gupta 16 Dec, 19 at 2:37 pm

      You can visit Canada for stamping.

  5. Sid
    Sid 11 Dec, 19 at 10:38 am

    Hi Anil,
    Thank you so much for maintaining this very useful information here and responding to our questions. I entered the US on H1B which expired a couple of months go. I got my H1B extension approval a couple of days back and wondering if it is a good idea to go to Vancouver, Canada for my re-stamping? If so, what is the duration I need to plan for my trip, do I need to have any fail safe plans or can I be confident to re-enter. I live in the Bay Area. Just wondering if I can avoid a long trip to India immediately but be able to travel around and out side the US before that.

  6. Sam
    Sam 22 Jul, 19 at 12:48 pm

    Thank you great piece of info. This is definitely very useful.
    I have a question as well, we as a family are planning to get H1 B and H4 visa stamping interview done together in CJ mexico.
    This would be my spouse 4th H1B renewal. (Have received 221g (green slip) just on last renewal in home country which was approved in 8 weeks, while H4 was a dropbox approval. )
    Is it advisable to get the H1 B and H4 stamping together?

    Thank you for the helpful comments on this crucial topics!!

    • Anil Gupta
      Anil Gupta 22 Jul, 19 at 1:48 pm

      I don’t see an issue with going for H1B and H4 stamping together.

  7. Abhishek
    Abhishek 21 Jul, 19 at 10:56 am

    Anil, I’m going to get my h1b stamped on Mexico City. I140 is approved but my previous stamp in 2017 was from London which expired in 2018. Hoping there isn’t any problem with getting a stamp in Mexico City?

    • Anil Gupta
      Anil Gupta 21 Jul, 19 at 6:34 pm

      I don’t think there is any issue even if you got the last visa stamp in London

  8. jaya
    jaya 15 Jul, 19 at 11:53 pm

    Hi anil – I haven’t been to India for around 7 years and I got my H1B approved on I-140 for 3 years, got my I-797 recently, can I go to mexico for stamping?

    • Anil Gupta
      Anil Gupta 16 Jul, 19 at 10:55 pm

      Do you have any H1B visa stamp in your passport from past?

  9. Sabzz
    Sabzz 1 Jul, 19 at 11:44 am

    Hi Anil,

    I went to US in 2013 on H4, did my COS to F1 in 2015. I did my master’s (with two internships) and graduated in 2017. I got OPT STEM Extension approved and have been working. But due to some personal priorities came to India in August 2018. Now I am planning to go back to US on H4. Can I apply from Vancouver, Canada for H4 Visa interview OR should I apply in India?

    As the current wait time in Canada is very less compared to India, I was thinking to go to Canada on visitors Visa. Would it be risky to apply H4 Visa interview in Canada? Please give your suggestions. Thank you!

    • Anil Gupta
      Anil Gupta 1 Jul, 19 at 12:11 pm

      I do not see any issue in applying for your H4 visa stamp in Canada.

  10. vish
    vish 27 Jun, 19 at 5:20 pm

    Hi Anil,
    I was on H1 and got layoff and another employer filed h1 with 60 days but i have to go out of the country for h4 stamping as H1 premium was not active i came back to USA on h4 and now my H1 got approved that was applied earlier. My company is asking to go out of the country and get the H1 stamped/activate so i can start working. My question is that i am planning to go to Mexico for stamping if i get my H1 stamped can i come to US and the in a day or 2 go to INDIA for 2 weeks and come back to usa as my joining date is 29th july. Will my travel to INDIA will impact my status after h1 stamping ? or can i go to INDIA first and come to USA and go for VISA stamping in Mexico for H1 stamping ? what happens if i go to india with h4 and having a h1 approved ? please help

    • Anil Gupta
      Anil Gupta 27 Jun, 19 at 7:45 pm

      You can go to India or Mexico and get H1B stamping. Nothing happens to your H1B. Not sure why are you worried.

  11. ranjit kumar
    ranjit kumar 27 May, 19 at 1:44 pm

    Hello Anil,

    Thanks for the useful post on visa stamping in mexico or canada. I need some information. My wifes H1 extension is pending . Her I94 expired in January 2019. And she has only 4 months left on H1 and later she cannot work. We wanted to go for H4 visa stamping in canada while her h1 is still in process and apply for EAD once we are back. Is this possible? If not what are the other options. Thanks in Adavance!

    • Anil Gupta
      Anil Gupta 27 May, 19 at 4:24 pm

      Your wife cannot go out of US now as her H1B extension is pending and i94 has already expired. If she goes out, her H1B will be approved without a new i94.
      Also, she would need a valid visa to come back to US. If she applies for H4 and by any chance it is denied, she will not be able to enter US unless she has any other visa.

      If you want, you can apply for her H4 COS application but that will add complexity as her H1B extension is also pending.

  12. h4quesitons
    h4quesitons 7 May, 19 at 6:44 am

    hello team.. i am going to india with my daughter who is 5 years old. i have a valid h1b visa stamping until 2020 but my daughter and wife dont have h4 visa stamping for our current petition approved until 2020. My wife is not joining with us she will stay back in US. I had a question here, as the wait times in indian consulates are very high can we get the h4 visa stamping done in singapore or sri lanka for my daughter. If yes how much time does it take for the stamping and the passport to be returned. Do they return the passport immediately? and how do they return do they courier or we do go and collect? Let me know if there are any experiences?

    • Anil Gupta
      Anil Gupta 7 May, 19 at 7:25 am

      I suggest to get the H4 stamping in India rather than Sri Lanka or Singapore. Legally, you can apply there too but not recommended.

      • h4quesitons
        h4quesitons 7 May, 19 at 12:37 pm

        thanks anil for the reply.

  13. Keertana Rao
    Keertana Rao 19 Feb, 19 at 11:48 pm

    Hello Anil
    We have h1b renewal and h4 stamping to do.we were planning to go brazil in may for vacation and stamping. though we dont know anyone who has got it stamped there,the consulate replied to our mail saying they provide the service but cannot guarantee. I was wondering if you know anyone who has been there for stamping?
    or suggest a consulate in mexico/Canada that is known to deliver it the quickest so we can go there on our way back before entering the US?
    Thank you

    • Anil Gupta
      Anil Gupta 20 Feb, 19 at 6:38 am

      You can go to Nogales, Mexico for H1B and H4 stamping on your way to Brazil. Almost all US embassies have the same processing time as per my opinion.
      Most people prefer Vancouver in Canada.

  14. Sumeet
    Sumeet 13 Feb, 19 at 2:20 pm

    Hello Anil

    My wife entered at H4. Then there was COS to F1 and again COS to H4. H4COS is still pending and she has been out of status for around 170 days. Can she go to Mexico for Visa stamping ?


    • Anil Gupta
      Anil Gupta 13 Feb, 19 at 3:39 pm

      A general advice: when you ask a question, give as much details as possible to help understand the situation after reading the article.

      You have not told anything About stamped visa, nothing about i94.
      How can i answer?

      • Sumeet
        Sumeet 13 Feb, 19 at 4:00 pm

        I am sorry…

        My wife entered USA in December 2015 on H4 visa that was stamped in India. The visa expired December 2017. The I94 was valid until Aug 21, 2018. After entering, she went for MS and did COS to F1 while studying. She got a new I-94 attached starting August 2016 to duration of status. Last year, she filed for COS back to H4 while maintaining F1 status. The H4 COS is pending with VSC since then. She is not working and not in valid F1 status anymore. The I539 application decision is still pending and It is around 170 days. She is out of status but in authorized stay

        I was thinking if she can travel to Mexico (Tijuana) or Canada (Vancouver) consulates for H4 visa stamping. She has all the documents as mentioned along with my extended H1b (valid until Aug, 2021). Can you comment if she is applicable for H4 stamping or should we go to home country only?

        If you need specific info, please reply.


        • Anil Gupta
          Anil Gupta 13 Feb, 19 at 5:10 pm

          What is the expiry on current (most recent) i94 show?

          • Sumeet
            Sumeet 13 Feb, 19 at 5:22 pm

            I-94 during H4 entry expired on aug, 2018. The new I-94 after COS to F1 has no expiry date. It says duration of status.

            • Anil Gupta
              Anil Gupta 13 Feb, 19 at 5:31 pm

              This is a bit of gray area as she is not maintaining her F1 status. So, she is legally in ‘period of authorized stay’.
              I think she can apply for H4 stamping in Canada. Mexico might be a bit risky.

              • Sumeet
                Sumeet 13 Feb, 19 at 8:17 pm

                Thanks Anil. We are planning to go there, Do you have any inputs on processing wait times for 221(g) for canada (say vancouver)?

                • Anil Gupta
                  Anil Gupta 13 Feb, 19 at 9:07 pm

                  There is no fixed timeline for form 221(g) processing. Whatever you read or see online varies case by case. So, if you get form 221g, it depends on what documents they have requested from you.

  15. anand satya
    anand satya 9 Feb, 19 at 10:27 am

    Hello Anil,

    Can I go to mexico for my first H1B stamping?
    I am currently on H4 and I got my H1B approval recently.

    I was checking few websites and they were saying only renewals are allowed in Mexico.
    Is this true?

    • Anil Gupta
      Anil Gupta 9 Feb, 19 at 2:09 pm

      First time H1B stamping is not allowed in Mexico.
      You can go to either Canada or Home country.

  16. DDSD
    DDSD 26 Oct, 18 at 2:51 pm

    Hello Anil,

    My H1B visa got approved recently. can i get my stamping done in Canada or Mexico under drop box, as my current visa expired within 1 year ? As there are lot of cases going under administrative processing in India,
    is it happening in Canada or Mexico also for TCN?
    what is a good option as per current trends ? Any suggestion, Thanks!

    • Anil Gupta
      Anil Gupta 26 Oct, 18 at 3:34 pm

      You do not need stamping unless you have to go out of USA.

      You can go anywhere like Mexico or Canada. There are more admin processing issued in India than other countries offcourse all the time simply because there are more applicants back there.

      Nobody can guess who will get admin processing in India or not. If your paperwork is fine, you should be okay to get stamping easily anywhere.

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