The closest airport to Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, is in El Paso, Texas.
You can either make all the arrangements yourself, or you can get some help from agents. They can assist you with getting a Mexican permit, making the U.S. visa fee payment for attending the interview, crossing the border from El Paso to Ciudad Juarez, and getting a ride back from Ciudad Juarez to El Paso. Of course, they will charge you a fee for their services. If you plan to use such services, you will be picked up around 7:45 AM from a local hotel such as the Econo Lodge near the airport. (This timing may change. We recommend you check with them before planning your day.) Econo Lodge is quite a cheap hotel, and most candidates stay in that hotel, as the agent provides transportation from there early in the morning.
(Disclaimer: We are not associated with them in any way, and we don’t endorse their services. As always, you assume all liability when working with them.)
If you don’t plan to hire anyone, you will have to get the Mexican permit by yourself and make the payment to Banamex near the consulate. You can’t get a Mexican permit or make a payment on weekends, so you have to plan your appointment accordingly.
You can either rent a car from the El Paso airport and park near the border, or you can take a cab to the border.
Around Ciudad Juarez
Holiday Inn is a convenient place to stay in Ciudad Juarez. It is very secure and is just a block away from the consulate. You need to leave your bags there before going to the consulate. Holiday Inn provides breakfast as well.
There are not many restaurants and shopping venues around the consulate. You can either eat in the hotel, at Subway, or at Mission Guadalupe (which can be expensive).
There is a mall called S-Mart near the Holiday Inn. Restaurants accept U.S. dollars, but shops only take Mexican pesos. You can buy Mexican pesos from inside the mall. The mall has an expensive restaurant called Maria Chuchena that has gourmet Mexican dishes.
At the Consulate
Try to leave all liquids, phones, make-up, etc., in your bags at the hotel room before going to the consulate. Otherwise, you will have to pay a fee (such as $5) for a locker.
You need to go to Building D at the consulate. You will be asked for documents such as your DS-160 confirmation page and your passport before you are allowed into the building. Once you are in the building, a staff member will check those documents again. You will be given a number. Wait for your number to be called to get your photograph and fingerprints taken. If you are asked any visa-related questions at that time, answer truthfully. Afterward, you will be given another number and will be asked to wait for the actual interview.
Your documents will be checked at the time of the interview, and you may be asked several other questions. If your visa is approved, you will be asked to collect the passport from the DHL location you specified at the time of appointment. However, it is possible that you may not be given your passport the very next day—it may take a few days before it’s ready. Be prepared to adjust your travel arrangements accordingly.
If your name ends up going through the security check, you will be given a 60-day reentry permit that allows you to enter back into the U.S. You can then apply again at a later date.
After the Consulate
Get a cab to take you to the border. The cab will take you to Cordova Bridge. Cross the bridge on foot.
There is usually a long line to get Form I-94 at the immigration office. It is a glass building. Proceed to the windows marked “permits”. Even if there are many windows, there may not be officers at most of them. At times, it can get very tough with bags, the sun, and the heat, especially if you have a baby. You have to pay $6 to get the I-94. Make sure to keep exact change with you. After getting the I-94, cross the border by foot.
If you have parked your car on the U.S. side, you can walk to the parking lot. Alternatively, taking a cab to El Paso airport will cost you a little more. If you have used the agent’s services, he will drop you off at the airport.
You should try to book a flight that leaves El Paso after 7:00 PM Central Time to ensure you have adequate time during the day.
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