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h1bandcounting- ()     06/30/2011 02:07 AM
 


Here is the template for those who plan to go to Nogales Mexico for H1b Stamping.

1. If you are in Phoenix,AZ just drive to border and walk across the border.

2.If you planning to flying from out of state then fly to Tuscon,AZ.

3. It takes an 1 hr to reach the AZ border from TUS by shuttle. you can get the shuttle from Airport.

4.Do not plan to stay in Nogales,AZ you are better staying at TUS . Atleast you can get comfy and clean accomodation.
 
5.Take the appointment before 3 weeks so that PIMS get updated.

6. I have seen some desi motel owners advertising in the forums saying that they will help you. In reality no one can help you . What they are trying to do is to sell their filthy motel at premium price to you . DO NOT STAY in Motel at Nogales,AZ you will regret.

7. Arrive a day before in AZ or early morning then schedule the finger printing ASC appoinment accordingly. Say if you have ASC appmnt at 12 PM then you have choice of staying a night at an airport hotel in TUS and taking the early morning shuttle to border. Else you could go directly to "Frey Marco De Niza" , a hotel near border.
Frey Marco De Niza is atleast 10 times the better than Desi motel at Nogales,AZ. Makes to to arrive in mexico before 6 PM.

8. Plan to stay in Nogales ,MX for atleast two nights,may be longer.

9. Make sure to have all your documents , they will ask you everything but if you are eligible you will get it.
10.When at Frey Marco De Niza, plan to eat there , it is very good . Also plan to tip accordingly ,it is an upscale place . for $20-$4 is good tip.

11. Things are as expensive as US or may be more
12.Keep in mind that Mexican GDP is almost 5 times that of India. They are rich by Indian standards.
13. I found the Nogales ,Mexico safe place I have gone out at 6 AM and 8 PM . Please dont take my word for it , if you are afraid stick to the itenery.
14.Do not entertain anyone who recognizes you as foreigner and start to converse in English , incase you need anything ask the hotel staff(tip the for the services after vacating , for two days $5 is medium )
14.you may get the passport a day after consular interview at 4 PM . If you think you will get it before that then I would say that is very optimistic thought.

15.Finger printing they may allow you before appmnt time depending how busy they are.

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Neevarp- ()     12/05/2010 15:10 PM
 


As always, travelling to India is not straight forward. Firstly the need to travel to India, then the approved vacation at work, then travel tickets, dates, visa stamping, shopping etc. Not in the exact same order but pretty much everyone goes through these pains.

It all started with a plan to travel to India and then we started contemplating whether to go to Mexico or not for our visa stamping. For those who are on the same boat, read on to know our experience in Nogales Mexico. Both of us are on H1B, I am full time and she is consulting.
We ended up taking the appointment at Nogales consulate after researching some forums. We contacted Mr. Manu Naik and he has been a great help. He owns a hotel, about 15 mins away from the border entry to Mexico. The cab costs around $6 to get to the entry from the hotel.

We went through the security gates and one of the guards asked us if we had our passports with us. We had enough time to get the Mexico visa stamping done before travelling in. We had a baby stroller with us and we walked through the streets to the nearest good hotel called Fray Marcos Hotel. To my surprise, the concierge at the hotel knew some English but the lady at the front desk did not. So he helped us in the translation. The price was $65 USD and they accepted cash for it.

The Interview:

Our interview day was like going to a very important exam. It was a very cold day and me, my wife and our 16 month old daughter started from the Fray Marcos hotel at around 7AM, paid $6 for the cab and reached the consulate at around 7:20AM. There were already around 30 people ahead of us in the queue. At around 7:50AM, two women came out of the embassy with a listing of names of those who can attend the interview. They were cross checking the Benamax bank receipt, DS-160 form to the list they had and marking on the DS-160 form indicating that we are allowed to attend the interview. At this point she also asked us to hand over the I-797 form to her and said she will give it back to us inside the consulate. There were four including us for H1B extension visa stamping on that day.
Since both my wife and I are applying for H1B extension, we had two separate Benamax receipts with us. Most of the security personnel don’t know English, so be prepared to do some hand talking and or sign language ;).

You may already know some restrictions on what the consulate will allow you to carry with you to attend the interview. Since we have a baby with us, the security allowed a bottle of milk and a small box of baby cereal. To make sure the milk and cereal were harmless, security asked us to feed the baby with some milk and asked me to have some cereal.

To our surprise, because we had a baby with us, the security also allowed us to join the Biometrics queue before some other people that were already in the queue. Our number was 0009.
At the security, they found a Pen (not plastic) and iPhone headphones in my jacket pocket. I forgot to take the headphones out before coming to the consulate. I was asked to trash them or leave them outside. There will be a mobile food stand right outside the consulate and they would keep your stuff such as phones, etc. for a dollar which is handy, so I left the pen and headphones with the guy at the food stand.
We then went in and joined another queue, now inside the consulate past the security. This is, what appeared to us, to ensure that consulate has required information, cross check our I-797 to information on passport and mark previous H1B stamping page with a bookmark sort of paper.

We were then asked to take a seat in section 1 of 2 for finger printing and photo. This was straight-forward, they will take the finger prints for all fingers. The officer here organized the documents and gave us a package in a specific order consisting of Passport, I-797, DS-160.

We were then asked to take a seat in section 2 for the main interview.
It was a long wait. We sat by a play area at the end of waiting area hall and our baby kept us busy during our wait. There was only one officer taking all interviews on that day, we think because it was the first working day after a long weekend.

Eventually, our turn came up and we went in for interview. We first handed over the package in the same order and the officer started typing in some information on his screen. The following questions were asked:

1. Do you have bachelors?
a. I said: I have Masters in Information Technology.
2. How long have you been working with your current employer?
a. I said: 2 ½ years.
3. Do you have your tax filing documents for 2009?
a. I said: Yes, and I handed over the package to him.
4. Is your salary going to be the same for the next year?
a. I said yes.
5. Do you have any plans to travel outside of United States?
a. I said yes
6. He then asked when?
a. I said December.
7. He then asked December of this year?
a. I said yes. (I then realized that maybe I should have said no to this question)
8. He then started looking at my wife’s paperwork and asked, does your wife have masters?
a. My wife responded, yes I have masters in computer sciences.
9. He then asked how long have you been working with your current employer?
a. My wife responded, for the past 5 years.
10. Can I see her tax filing documents for 2009?
a. I said, the paper work I handed over earlier was for both of us filing jointly. I then took the documents out of my big folder and gave it to him again, this time for both 2009 and 2008.

He then took some time and gave us the verdict. He started by saying “Here are the results…” and continued saying your visa has been approved but the system is not letting me submit your application. I have requested for an update and it could take anywhere from 3 – 4 days for this to happen. He turned to my wife and said, your visa is also approved and you can come in later this evening to collect your passport. He then handed a yellow slip to my wife.

I then asked him if there was anything missing from my end. He said, no there is nothing missing. I asked if it was the PIMS verification and he said yes and asked me if I wanted to take my passport back. I said, no I would stay in Nogales, Mexico and wait for the update. He then said, we will contact you once the update is complete to the phone number on my file. I asked if there was a way to check on status and he asked us to email to nogalesvisas@state.gov and handed a white slip after circling an email address on it.

That was it, we were on our way out congratulating each other but I was a little skeptical on when I would get my passport back and got a little paranoid. We came out of the consulate, got our stuff back from mobile food stand and waited for other two candidates to come out. One out of two candidates was on same boat as I and the other would receive his passport next day. We all discussed what questions were asked and since there was only one officer we were all asked pretty much same questions.

Since we would have to stay there for at least 3 to 4 days, we decided to move into an inexpensive hotel. On our way back to Fray Marcos we noticed that Marques De Cima hotel was not too far from consulate. Marques De Cima is famous for cops living in the hotel, there were many cops in and around the hotel and armed guards always at the entrance. We checked into a room for $42 a night. The consulate is walk able distance from Marques De Cima.

The waiting game:

The next day, we tried to contacting consulate by emailing to nogalesvisas@state.gov. I received a response pretty soon that said “Your case is in Administrative Processing and that they would contact us as soon as there is an update”.

Although the officer informed us the previous day that it was nothing but PIMS verification that was pending for me, I started researching the term Administrative Processing. Google’d Administrative Processing and got numerous results stating about form 221g which are pretty scary. People getting stuck for 4 – 6 weeks, some people ending up travelling to India and from Mexico etc etc. I started getting anxious and immediately responded to the consulate with few more questions on whether administrative processing is same as PIMS or not, what would be a typical timeframe etc. They responded they could not provide any further information at this time and that was it.

We all went to the consulate that evening to get a status update for me and for my wife to get her passport. She got hers and at the same time spoke to the office who took our interview the previous day if the white slip that was given to us was indeed not 221g. The officer politely said that it was given only because it has the email address on it and nothing else and that they are doing everything they can to complete the process etc.

We returned back the next day to get a status update once again and luckily my visa stamping was done the next day. That was it, we returned to USA on the fourth day. So if you are planning on going to Nogales, be prepared to stay there for atleast 4 days if not longer than that.

The queue at the border was quite long and there was background check etc for the three of us. It took around 2 hours for us to get through everything. I-94 was issued for $6 (keep the exact change).

All the best to all of you who are planning to attend the interview in Mexico.

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Jollin- ()     12/31/2009 18:10 PM
 


Hi,
I am going to India next month for my H1B stamping i do not have a valid visa stamp on my current passport as my passport was stolen and i had to get a new one. I am confused as to whether i need a transit visa or not. I am flying from Kansas city, MO to Paris, France (2 hour lay-over) and continuing on to Mumbai, India.

Also on my return trip i have a lay-over in Amsterdam continuing on to Kansas city so do i need a transit visa for that trip?

Anyone please help, i called the airlines but they sounded confused too.

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Saloni- ()     11/26/2009 21:20 PM
 


Hello

Can anyone help me out.Im going to India thru Swiss Airlines with stop over at Zurich for 2 hrs.So do I need transit visa as my H1B has expired.

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Amandeep Singh- ()     08/27/2009 21:11 PM
 


Hi All

We went to Nogales on 25th of August, 2009 for Visa Stamping. The Overall experience for us was OK.... Visa Officers Just make Sure that We are really on project and working for our current company.. We got our passports the same day.....

Actually we reached Nogales US Side a day before . we stayed there in Best Western Siesta Motel. Manu is the manager there.... He already prepared Banamex Drafts for us. ... So We reached for our Interview well in time... Manu is a nice and helpful Indian Guy and Helps the needy people. his Phone No is 520-223-0299.

Thanks
Aman
August-28-2009

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Noufal Ponnan- ()     06/19/2009 05:52 AM
 


If an Indian citizen holding a Multiple entry "D" type visa with 90 days stay issued by Polish embassy,can he transit EU countries in Multiple time or he can he transit non EU countries in multiple times
 
Also please clarify the below question
 
There was a 30 days Swiss visa exemption for Indian Citizens ,who has valid UK resident visa (yellow colour) or USA Green Card, before Swiss became a shengen member .Is this exemption still available for Indian

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linda- ()     05/14/2009 07:34 AM
 


i am a acs worker and im trying to get a copy of my recent paystubs how can i go about doing so and is there a way i can get it online

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RV- ()     12/21/2008 07:04 AM
 


Hi,

I am travelling from Mexico to India via US. I have a wait for 7hrs at US and would like to visit a friend nearby. I have a valid H1B visa, but I dont have supporting documents as I work in mexico and not in US.
1. Do I need a transit visa to go and visit my friend?
2. Even if I dont get a transit visa, can my friend visit me inside the airport?

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skindia- ()     10/25/2008 19:16 PM
 


Hi all,

Is there anyone who is attending in Nogales for H1b Stamping on Nov 3rd 2008, please reply,,, we shall meet..sree_us9@yahoo.com

Thank You...

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Sans- ()     10/14/2008 17:52 PM
 


Hi Friends,
               I had appointment on Oct 6th 2008 for H1B visa
extension and got my visa next day at 3 PM. I took Manu's help to get
Banamex draft and stayed in Best Western in Nogales US side. Manu
dropped me at the border next morning then I took TAXI to consulate
and reached around 8:00 AM. For taxi from border to consulate and
consulate to border it is fixed $8. There were like 260 people (I was
28th) that day but for different visas. At the time of interview visa
consular took all necessary documents and asked these questions.
1. Why did you come to Mexico?
2. Do you realize that it is going to take more time to process your
application.
3. Do you work for xxx employer??
Docs asked(Other than DS 156, 157, 158 and i797:
1. W 2 forms and Tax filing copies
2. Pay stubs
3. Labor Clearance and I 129 papers (I gave packet from my employer)
Then she told me "Please be seated I will call once it approved.
waiting waiting waiting......I have waited until all 160 members
processed. Everyone gone except myself and watchmen. They (Consular
Officers) were discussing something, aftger 30 min of discussion she
called me for second interview and asked more questions for about 30 -
45 min.
1. Do you work for any clients? (Said yes and gave client letter copy,
she asked me the original too)
2. What were your duties?
3. What is your salary now? Why are you getting more salary now??
4. What is your education?? Where did you finish your education??
5. How far is your employer's place and client place??
6. Where do you live??
7. Why did you visited these countries?? (I mentioned them in the
application)
8. How long does it took to get your previous visa in Germany(she
verified in the system after I told her the no of days).
Note: Consular officer called my Manager to verify :)
Then she verified each and every document and compared employer
financial reports from year to year then she asked me to fax/e-mail
employer quarterly reports and contract between employer and client.
Then she asked me to come at 3 PM and kept my passport and all other
documents. I asked my employer to fax and they did and I went there at
3 PM. From outside ACS people verified that whether they received fax
or not and they said they didn't receive fax. I have asked my employer
to resend the fax again and e-mail the same. Second time they said
they received the fax but the consular officer is busy so come
tomorrow at 3PM. I have to wait one more day there then I went to
border and took room in FRAY MARCOS HOTEL (You will get ATT and other
signals). I had nothing with me but I got my stuff next morning (Manu
brought my stuff). Fray Marcos Hotel is not that great but safe place
to stay they have restaurant, Internet, wifi access etc($65). I went
to consulate next day at 3 PM and received my passport with visa and
all documents. My opinion is don't go to any Mexican consulates (I met
one guy who attended on 3rd Oct and he got security clearance and he
said he is going back to India) they are just trying to delay (Best
option is Canada/India).
If you want to go Nogales anyway just contact Manu, he is nice person,
he guides and helps you. I contacted him just 4 days before my
appointment and he has my draft ready.
- I just wanted share my experience and every other person might have
different experience.
Thanks

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