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

Written by Anil Gupta
  By Anil Gupta          Updated  2 Jun, 19
  19    


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.

Example:

  • 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

  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

Source: travel.State.gov

Official US Embassy Mexico guidance for Non Mexico Citizens








   19 Useful Questions & Answers from comments



  1. 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.

       

  2. 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.

         

  3. 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.

       

  4. 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 ?

    Thanks

     

    • 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.

        Thanks

         

        • 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.

               

  5. 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.

       

  6. 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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