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Successful Visa Stamping (H1 - H1) on Oct 25th 2004 from Tijuana, Mexico

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  • Successful Visa Stamping (H1 - H1) on Oct 25th 2004 from Tijuana, Mexico

    I have successfully got H1B visa stamping from Tijuana, Mexico on Oct 25th, 2004.

    Please note, there are couple of ideal situations in mycase.

    1. I already have valid H1 visain my passport from previous company
    2. I am H1 - H1 visa revalidation (not F1-H1 or B1-H1 etc)
    3. was never on bench for last 5 Yrs
    4. W2 income was always more than LCA maximum

    Just wants to be 'extra ++' cautious, so I went to Tijuana (I was reading some worst experinces from Chennai embassy).

    Let me summarize all details (read below for my visa experience) for the benifit of other members who are planning to goto Tijauna.

    Let me answer a few questions first.

    1. Let us discuss Visa appointment process?

    A: website is: http://www.nvars.com. Pay by credit card is cheaper. It costs CAN$15 = USD11. Better to book either Monday or Friday appt as you can save one PTO.

    2. How to take Mexican Permit?

    A: Strictly speaking (100%), we need either Permit or Mexican Visa. Apply from Mex embassy in advance.

    The real situation is that nobody will be there either to stop or check you while entering into Mexico. Since Mexican Govt is not so strict to track all these things. Further hunderds of people will cross the border daily. So they just don't care.

    In mycase, I already have a valid H1 Visa from my previous company, So i did not care about the permit.

    Note: Do not give money to VG (you know whom I referring to) for Mexican Permit in Tijuana. He can't get the permit for "Tijuana Border". He may be good to get permits for texas border, but not California border.

    There was another consultant in California who charges $300 for the permit. I did not spend that much amount as it's worthless for my case.

    3. How to get Visa receipt from Mexican Bank?

    A: You can take VG's help. I gave $200 to VG for both permit and draft. He did not give permit. But gave me Bank draft.

    Visa appintment at "8 AM" does not mean that you will be allowed exactly at 8 AM. There will be big line with 95% of them mexicans. Assume that you come at 8 AM exactly, you can enter into embassy by atleast 10 to 11 AM. Instead of that go early and get the Bank draft from Benmex bank which will be opened only at 9 AM. This is bank is one block way from Embassy. Then stand in the Queue.

    4. How to travel and where to stay etc

    A: I took greyhound bus from Sanjose to Mexican Border (San Ysidro). Total fare is just $75 to and pro. Very cheap. Did not dare to drive in the rainy season.

    I stayed at Travelodge in San Ysidro. This is very near to San Ysidro bus stop and Mexican border. There are couple of hotels nearby but I don't know any of them.

    5. Any consultants info (Just for information, not to boost their business)

    A: You generally we don't need any consultant's help for getting Permit and Bank draft and Travel in Tijuana. Read above for details.

    6. How to enter into mexico from San Ysidro border?

    A: There is bridge multi-level U shape bridge. Just enter into it. Lot of mexicans will cross the border.

    Once you cross the border, you can see taxi stand. Take the taxi "Libro". very cheap. Do not go on yello cab ($10) or so. 'Libro taxi ' charges by meter. Most mexicans use Libro (orange color). The meter is in Mexican Peso (Mex $5 minum). So usually it will be Mex $26 = USD2.5 to US consulate. I gave $5, he was happy. The journey was about 15 minutes.

    Visa interview details:
    =======================

    1. My Appt was at 8 AM on Oct 25th, 2004
    2. Was at mexico border at 6:30 AM
    3. Crossed the border and took cab (see cab details above) and was at Embassy at 7:15 AM
    4. Visa clerk will check DS 156 and DS 157 and Visa appt letter. Carefully fill DS156/DS157 otherwise, he will ask you to fill again. Meaning delay for you.

    5. Security check - for any metals, electronics etc. So don't take such things. If at all you take cell phone etc like that...there is a guy next to embassy and he will keep them for some money. I saw an indian guy utilized that service for his cell phone.

    6. Call for Finger printing and Photo - An american Visa clerk will ask your DS -156/DS 157/I-797. She will enter the details into computer so that the Visa officer can see those details during the interview. She is the person who will retrive your DS-156 onlne form if you present coded DS 156 form.

    She will take finger prints (both index fingers). She will also take our photo. This photo will appear on our Visa (not the one we attach to DS 156 form).

    She will return all forms (DS156, DS 157 and I-797).

    7. Call for Visa Interview - I went to Window #1. there was American lady. very good and friendly.

    Me: Good Morning Madam
    VO: Good morning, how are you?
    Me: Good. thank you
    VO: Give me your DS 156/DS 157/I-1797
    Me; gave them to her.
    Vo: Is it your first H1b or visa revalidation?
    Me: Visa revalidation
    VO: What is your highest education level?
    Me: Master of Engineering from India
    Vo: What is your salary?
    Me: XX K per annum
    Vo: 'San xxxxx' - is it near to your place?
    Me: I don't know madam. But San Francisco is near to me. (I think she was testing me)
    VO: Did you come to Tijuana by flight or car?
    Me: No, came by Grey hound Bus
    Vo: oh, by bus
    Me: yes, Madam. It was very convenient during rainy season and the bus stop is just in front of mexican border.
    Vo: can you put your left index finger on that red light
    Me: I did put. May be double check the finger printing
    Vo: OK, I am giving you Visa and pay $50 in the next building. Collect your "passport and I-1797 form" at 3 PM.
    Me: thank you madam. (The interview was completed by 8:35 AM.)

    I paid $50 and got the Passport and I-797 at 3 PM. I think since I was already having valid H1, so she did not ask any questions.

    Note: She did not ask any other docs like emp letter, W2/Tax forums, Pay stubs etc. I think they will ask all these when they get doubt.

    Note: There are some restaruants near by so you can buy lunch/juice etc after the interview.

    AT 3:15 PM, I collected my Passport and I-797

    AT 3:30: I took Cab (Libro company). The procedure to call the cab is just similar to India. Just call the cab as it passes on the road.

    At 4 PM: I was at US immigarion. They detached I-94 from my I-797 and stapled to my passport. They also stamped my passport "Admitted on Oct 25th". However, they did not collect $6 for I-94. I have read some where that they usually give new I-94 after collecting $6. But for me they did not give new one and they did not take $6.

    4:15 PM: I was in USA.

    4: - 7 PM: Just wandeing here and there

    7 PM: Went to bus station and came to Bay area at 7 AM next day.

    That;s all.

    If you have any questions, please feel to ask me.

    Thanks

  • #2
    thanks for your posting

    Indeed, It is very important and helpfull info you posted. I strongly guess that your posting would build confidence and courage in a person who wants to go mexico and get it stampped.

    Comment


    • #3
      H1 Visa Stamping from Mexico

      Hi!

      Thanks for sharing this info with all. SInce people like us wonder around with all fear of what would happen and also getting visa stamping in India is getting tough and tough !!! I also got H1 visa but mine is not stamped on passport... Its very courageous of you take this chance by yourself and giving all the other required information with lodging, travelling and paper work.. Is going to Canada and get visa stamp is something anyone can share...

      thanks

      Comment


      • #4
        anonymous_19722004,

        Thanks for sharing your experience. This will help lot of aspirants.

        Comment


        • #5
          Tijuana, Mexico

          H1 Revalidation
          [FONT=Arial Black]I read the post fm 'anonymous'. V.surprising. Acc. to the new rules, I thought one has to go to one's homeland to revalidate..
          CAN SOMEONE TELL ME WHAT HAPPENS IF THE MEXICAN CONSULATE DENIES REVALIDATION [U]AND THE VISA STAMP HAD ALREADY EXPIRED. THAT IS., EVENTHOUGH THE H1 IS VALID UNTIL 2006 AND NEW I94 CARD STATES THE NEW DATE, THE ACTUAL VISA STAMPING FM THE CONSULATE HAD EXPIRED SINCE THERE WAS NO TRAVEL BEFORE THAT DATE (DEC 2002).
          SO, IF THE REVALIDATION IS DENIED, THEN WOULD I BE ALLOWED TO REENTER USA?!
          THANKS

          Comment


          • #6
            If the visa is denied your entry will be denied.

            See below for a message from Embassy in Mexico.

            Due to an April 1, 2002 change in regulations, 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.

            This is not a legal advice. You may use at your own risk or contact a legal professional.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by broadersoftware
              If the visa is denied your entry will be denied.

              See below for a message from Embassy in Mexico.

              Due to an April 1, 2002 change in regulations, 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.

              This is not a legal advice. You may use at your own risk or contact a legal professional.
              I have to bit disagree with what broadersoftware had mentioned even though it was mentioned in Embassy website.

              The facts:

              1. Visa is valid ONLY during travel. Meaning once we get off the flight, visa is no more valid. It's all immigration officer's "mercy" that allows us to re-enter based on his issuance of I-94 with validity date.

              2. For Tijuana, we generally do not board the FLIGHT. We just go there by crossing the border by road. That means, TECHNICALLY we don't need any visa to re-enter into USA. It's all immigration officer's "mercy" that allows us to re-enter based on his issuance of I-94 with validity date.

              3. That means if Mexican Embassy denies to revalidate Visa due to lack of documents like missing W2 forms, paystubs etc etc and if the visa officer think that it's not a MAJOR violation, Visa officer will give a letter. We can show that letter to immigration officer... immigration officer will give I-94 for short term.

              4. Suppose, if the visa applicant is subjected to administratiive processing thus denieing visa ...during that situation also we can show that letter to immigration officer and he allows us by giving short term I-94.

              5. From (3) and (4), what we can conclude is that IF OUR visa is denied due to minor things (i.e not mistake of ours), then one can re-enter into US ONLY at the MERCY of IMMIGRATIOn OFFICER. Generally immigration officer will consider such requests.

              6. Assume that the Visa is denied due to major violations like having Terrorist's links etc, then it will be difficult. But even then We can request the immigration officer.

              7. Practically, imagine like this...

              a. When we apply for H1 --- It's something like District Court
              b. When we attend for H1 Visa stamping at Embassy -- It's like High Court
              c. When we apply stand in the line for I-94 at the immigration Counter - It's SUPREME COURT

              8. Note that, 7c can override 7b. so on so fourth. Just imagine our Indian courts. The situation is same. So, 7c is supreme.

              9. Since we can reach to Immigration Officer at POE (meaning Supreme Court)easily, so many of us got to border countres like Mexico and Canada.

              Hope that's clear now.

              Comment


              • #8
                So, in summary, even though we have valid visa, immigration officer may not allow us to re-enter into us. Just like overriding High Court's judgement by Supreme court.

                So as long as you have clean record. JUST DON'T WORRY. MAKE USE OF US Embassies in the border countries.

                Note: Use my suggestions at your own risk.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Revalidation

                  thanks very much 'Anonymous'.
                  I am considering doing this - if I hv more questions I 'll ask you..
                  regds

                  Comment

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