US Visa Stamping From Mexico
Many people in the U.S. who are on a Non-Immigrant Visa may either extend their status or change to a different non-immigrant status. A non-immigrant status may allow them to stay in the U.S. and/or legally work if they posses a work visa. However, if their current visa stamp in their passport is expired or is about to expire, they will need a new visa stamp before entering into the U.S. again. This also applies if they are to travel overseas. It is important to understand that legal status and visa stamps are two different matters. More details.

A person on a Non-Immigrant Visa has two choices for visa stamping:

1. Go to a neighboring country like Canada or Mexico
2. Go to their home country for visa stamping.

If they are eligible, many people prefer to go to Canada or Mexico because of their geographical proximity to the U.S.

U.S. Consulates in Mexico are located in the following cities:

- Ciudad Juarez
- Matamoros
- Nogales
- Nuevo Laredo
- Tijuana

All of these U.S. Consulates are collectively referred to as border posts.

Please note that it takes at least 3 days in Mexico when you go for visa stamping, one day for fingerprint, another day for interview and third day for passport pick up. However, it may take longer.

Eligibility
In general, Third Country Nationals (TCNs or non-Mexican Nationals) who live in the U.S. may be eligible to renew their visas in Mexico if they are renewing within the same visa category (except B1, B2 or H2) and have never been out of status. You can go to have visa stamping in Canada or Mexico if you were never "Out of Status". You can use the I-797 form, EAD card, I-94 form, paystubs, etc. to prove your status. If you cannot prove that you are "In Status" or were actually "Out of Status", you need to go to your country of citizenship for visa stamping.

If you are changing from any non-F1 (i.e. B1, H4, J1) to H1 status, you should consult an immigration attorney before going to Mexico for visa stamping.

If you are not a citizen of Mexico and are currently staying in the U.S., you can apply for a new visa in Mexico for the following visa types:
- student
- exchange visitor
- journalist
- religious
- temporary worker (H, L, O, P)
- crew

Additionally the following categories of Third Country Nationals (TCNs) can apply for U.S. visa in Mexico:
  • Third Country Nationals who normally reside in a Visa Waiver Program (VWP) country and who have lost or had their biometric passport stolen may apply in Mexico for a tourist (B1/B2) or transit (C) visa in order to return to their home country.

  • Third Country Nationals who normally reside in a Non-Visa Waiver Program country and who have lost or had their visa stolen may apply in Mexico to renew their tourist (B1/B2) visa in order to return to their home country.


Ineligible
Following category of Third Country Nationals can not apply in Mexico:
  • If you would like to get a visa stamped for a visitor, transit, diplomat, treaty trader, treaty investor, H1A, H2A, H2B or Q worker, you must apply for a visa in your home country if you are not a citizen of Mexico.

  • A visa for crew is not available at Nuevo Laredo.

  • If you have ever been "Out of Status" because you overstayed your visa or I-94.

  • Third country nationals who are not resident in Mexico and who are applying for a B1/B2 visa (including B1/B2 renewals).

  • Applicants who entered the U.S. with a visa issued in their home country and changed status with USCIS in the U.S. who seek a new visa in the new visa category.

  • Applicants who entered the U.S. in one visa category and are seeking to reenter the U.S. in a different visa category.

  • Applicants who entered the U.S. under the Visa Waiver Program.

  • Applicants who obtained their current visa in a country other than that of their legal residence.

  • Applicants who were informed when they obtained the original visa in their home country that they are subject to National Security Entry Exit Registrations (NSSERs)

  • Citizens of North Korea, Cuba, Syria, Sudan or Iran.


Risks
Such applicants may encounter difficulties at the time of interview when they apply for a visa outside of their home district. Many times, the visa may be denied because the consular officer may not be familiar with the documents in the applicant's home country, or they believe that fraud indicators are present in the applicant’s file.

Applicants will only be able to reenter the United States if they are found eligible for a new visa and actually have the visa stamped in their passport. I-94 forms (even if valid), accompanied by previous expired visas, will no longer be valid for the automatic re-entry of persons traveling from Canada or Mexico if during their visit they applied for a new visa that has not, in fact, been issued.

Additionally, if your application requires additional administrative processing, you may not be able to reenter the U.S. until such processing is complete. You must keep that in mind before you decided to go for visa stamping in Canada or Mexico.