Let me first thank every one who has contributed to this forum.
Here is my experience and some suggestions. Here is a disclaimer also: As you all know we can not certainly say that you can get your Visa if you follow all these....so these are all our experiences and hopefully help others.
Stayed at Best Western Siesta Motel in Nogales, AZ (US side). The owner is an Indian (Manu) and really a nice man and very helpful. If you book your hotel well in advance, there is a good chance that he might give you a call to find out if you are coming for Visa stamping. You can as well call him and tell him that you need his help with getting draft for visa etc. (his phone # 520-287-4671).
Left my car at the hotel and took a cab at 7.40 am to border and paid $6. Cab driver showed the gate to cross the border.
There is no one to ask you any questions while crossing the border. Just walked through the revolving gate. Went straight and took a cab to BanAmex and paid him $7. Waited there till the bank opened at 9 am and it took 10 minutes to get draft (paid $109).
Took a cab and went straight to US Consulate, paid $6 for the cab. Left the bag with chai wala (just like in India). Chai cart is digonally opposite to the consulate. Paid him $2 to keep the bag.
Stood in the lane for consulate. One lady came to me aksing if I had all the forms filled out. Then she sent me straight ahead to the entrance with out waiting in the queue.
Went inside the consulate and there was a security check, they will not allow any electronic items (keys, cell phones etc). Then they sent me inside.
Typically there are 3 steps once you enter the consulate.
1. One lady checked passport and applications (I 156, 157 and 158) and gave me a number to go ahead and wait in the first part of waiting hall.
2. First 7 counters are for biometrics. I got my turn in 10 minutes to give biometrics (fingerprints and a digital photo). Once that is done I had to wait for almost 2 hours for the final step.
3. Personal interview with the Visa officer. Usually straight forward questions if we have not changed jobs. As I had changed couple of jobs from the previous employer shown in the Visa (which was expired Sep 2006). Then she asked why I had to change so many jobs. Its not really tough to convince them. Also questioned what kind of work I do. Then questioned why I need stamping now? I had to also fill the details of my travel plans to India in the form I 157.
Then she gave me a slip with information about collecting the Passport the following day at 3 pm. When I asked her if she can give the same day, she said NO.
Came out of the Consulate and spent some time in the Mall behind the Consulate. Met another Indian family who came for Visa. Spent some time and they wanted to check if we can get our Visa the same day, I went along with them and luckily it was given the same day at 3 pm. Other Indian family and few others from Turkey and Japan had to wait for one more day.
Took cab to border and paid $8.
Walked through the Immigration, there was one officer checking Visa and he allowed me inside, he did not talk about I-94. I asked him about I-94, he directed me to go to second floor and there is one office to issue I-94. Officer sitting there asked few questions and issued new I-94, we need to pay $6 for the I-94.
I walked back and took a can to hotel.
So the whole process is pretty simple and we really dont need any agents help to get Visa.
Here are some tips:
If you dont have Banamex reciept, you can actually enter Mexico around 8.30 am and go straight to Banamex (tell the cab driver to Banamex). You dont have to go early.
If you dont get the Visa the same day be prepared to stay in Mexico for a day or two. Visas are issued only at 3 pm every day. Also have the hotel information (Plaza hotel, Fiesta Inn) handy, just in case if you need to stay back for a day or two.
Your Cingular/ Verizon cell phone might work only for incoming calls. Outgoing will not work. I am not sure if we are charged for the roaming.
Please let me know if you have any questions (email@example.com
). I will be more than happy to help you.
You dont really need any agent to take you to Mexico. It is really straight forward process. If you are travelling from far off places please book return flight atleast the late next day of your visa appointment.