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November 9th : H1B renewal stamping in Tijuana, Mexico

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  • November 9th : H1B renewal stamping in Tijuana, Mexico

    I went for my H1B extension stamping at Tijuana Mexico on November 9th.
    The stamping went well and I had to stay a day to collect my passport.

    I went to San Diego by Sunday evening. I have taken a package with San Diego Leisure where they take care of trips to/from Tijuana to/from San Diego, the Banamex DD and the hotel accommodation for a night. I took this package as a peace of mind as I can just concentrate on the stamping thing at the embassy.

    The guy from San Diego Leisure came to the hotel I was staying on Monday (November 9th) morning at 8.15 AM and took me across the border to the Real Del Rio hotel and made me check in and put my luggage in my room. It’s better to leave all electronic devices in the hotel itself. Take only the documents and wallet.

    My appointment was at 9.30 AM and we went to the US Consulate around 9.00AM which was right on next block as shown below.

    There were two queues to enter into the embassy. The queue on the left side(Green queue) to the embassy is the queue where I had to stand and the people from the embassy will come along the line to check for Passport, DS forms and the Banamex DD, so take them out and hold them while they come. The red color queue is where I had to stand the next day to get the passport.

    After a half hour to 45 minutes wait the security at the main entrance to the embassy allowed me inside where immediately on the left there are two counters where they check the Passport, DS forms again and they will issue a token number. After this immediately there will be a security check much similar to what we see at the airports. After the security check there is a long hall where I was asked to sit along with the queue already waiting. The queue follows along the chairs and approximately when the difference between the token numbers on the screen is less than 20 with the token number I got, they allowed us into the embassy main room where I was asked to sit again waiting for the token number to come up on the screen.

    This is a large room with counters on the left and center in the room where I had to initially go for finger prints and photograph where they ask for DS Forms and Current I797. After the finger prints/photograph are taken again I was asked to go out of the main room and sit in the previous large waiting room in a queue with chairs. Then after some time again we are allowed into the main room until my token number came.

    When my turn came I went to the visa counter. The questions the Visa Officer asked me were

    1) May I have your I-797 document?
    2) Whom are you working with? (looking at the document I gave)
    3) May I have your recent paystubs and W2’s?
    4) How much is your gross pay? (looking at the paystubs)
    5) Do you work with your company directly or do you work for any other company?
    I told VO I work for a Client ****.
    6) Do you have any letter from the Client?
    7) Where is your Client located? (looking at the client letter)
    8) How do you commute to your work place? (looking at the computer screen)
    9) What is your educational background? (while typing something into the computer looking at the I797 and DS Forms)

    After some time the visa officer said me that my Visa is approved and I can collect the Passport tomorrow (November 10th) at 3.00PM. The VO gave me a white slip which says that my visa is approved and I can collect the passport. The VO had my passport and I-797 document.

    Next day I checked out of the hotel at 1.00PM
    I went on the next day by 2.15 and joined the queue (red line from above image). At 3.00PM they allowed us to the counters where they issue token numbers on the previous day. I have got my passport along with I-797 and came out and checked if everything was right. I was very happy to see everything came out right.

    I went back to the hotel and waited for the trip agent to come to pick me up across the border to the San Diego airport. He came at 3.45PM to the hotel and took me to a different border where there was no queue for I94. I got my I94 and paid $6.00 and entered US in about 10 minutes.

    Note : The Border security will change their shifts at 4.00pm so try to be there before 3.45pm or after 4.15pm so that you do not have to wait in the queue.

    By 6.00pm the trip agent dropped me at San Diego Airport and I had a safe trip back.

    Experience from the Trip:

    1) Make all arrangements (Flight tickets, Hotel, etc) properly before going to Tijuana, MX. My experience with the trip organizer was really great and they were helpful. All I had to consider were flight tickets, and my stay for Sunday night in San Diego.
    2) Make sure you have a client letter. As the VO’s were asking to many other guys who came for H1B Stamping.
    3) Make sure your manager at the client location and your employer is aware of the date you are attending the embassy just in case if they get Calls/Email
    4) The Real Del Rio hotel provided by the trip organizer was good and it costs $67 for a night which is included in a for the trip.

  • #2
    Total cost ?

    If you don't mind, could you please tell me how much you paid the agent ?

    Also, if possible, the contact info.

    I am in SanJose and flying to SanDiego too.