What Do Mexican Citizens Have to Do to Obtain Permission to Travel to the USA

From US State Department Website

If citizens of the USA want to travel to Mexico, we need a valid USA passport. That passport allows us to stay in Mexico for up to 180 days. We pay a tax of approximately 16-19 USD upon our departure, which we are not usually aware of because it is added to the price of our airline ticket. The same is not true for citizens of Mexico who wish to visit the USA.

The information below outlines what is needed for a Mexican citizen to obtain a B-1 or B-2 Visa (tourist or short term business visa). The process to actually emigrate to the USA is even more complex and expensive.

STEP 1: Complete the DS-160 online. There are 11 sections. According the website, it takes approximately 75 minutes to complete the form.

STEP 2: Once the DS-160 is accepted and you have received confirmation, you must appear to submit your DS-160 and review the information on it, have your fingerprints taken, and have a photo taken. You must also pay the 160 USD per person application fee. (That is 3,140.58 MXN as of 23 February 2017; the average disposable net-adjusted income for Mexican families is 12,850 USD per year. To apply for a visa for one member of a family would take approximately 24% of that family’s disposable income for the year.)

US Consulates are located in 10 Mexican cities: Mexico City, Juarez, Guadalajara, Hermosillo, Matamoros, Merida, Monterrey, Nogales, Nuevo Laredo, and Tijuana. Puerto Vallarta is 204 miles from Guadalajara. It takes at least 5.5 hours by car and longer by bus; therefore, if someone from Puerto Vallarta was applying for a visa, that person would either have to stay with family in Guadalajara or pay for a hotel room in order to complete the process. This could take several days. See below.

STEP 3: You must schedule an appointment for an interview with the Consulate. The wait time for an interview in Guadalajara on 23 February 2017 was 3 calendar days. In Tijuana, it was 9 calendar days. The following information describes what to bring to the interview.

“Optional documentation can vary depending on the applicant’s personal situation. The following are mere suggestions that may help the officer to assess your intentions to return to Mexico and is not an exhaustive list of what applicants should present at their interview.

NOTE:  These documents may or may not be reviewed at the time of your interview

  1. Passports containing all previous U.S. visas, previously issued BCCs (Border Control Cards), even if expired

  2. Birth certificate (original or certified copy)

  3. Voter Registration Card (IFE/INE) if 18 or over

  4. Proof of Finances (bank statements, Cedula Fiscal, tax documents)

  5. Proof of Education (school diploma, Cedula Profesional)

  6. Proof of Employment (pay slips, company credential, letter from Human Resources Department)

The above items should not be considered an exhaustive list and presentation of these documents does not guarantee visa issuance.  Be prepared to explain to the visa officer and present evidence regarding why you are going to the US and why you will return to Mexico.

Please arrive no more than 15 minutes before your scheduled appointment. You may not enter with food, guns, weapons, or any liquids, including beverages, hand sanitizers and anti-bacterial gels. All electronic equipment is also prohibited, such as cellular telephones, photographic or video cameras, radios and computers.  There are not storage facilities; therefore, if you arrive with any of the items above, you will be turned away and asked to make a new appointment.”

STEP 4: You must go to your local DHL office to pick up your passport and visa, if that visa was approved. However, the site includes the following information:

“A U.S. visa gives you permission to travel to the United States, but does not guarantee your entrance or determine the length of time you will be allowed to stay. An immigration officer at the point of entry makes those decisions. When you arrive, an immigration officer will review your passport, visa, and I-94 arrival and departure card to verify if and how long you can be admitted to the U.S. The immigration officer will capture your photo and your fingerprints just like during the visa interview process. If you are approved, you will be directed to the baggage and customs inspection areas to collect your luggage. In some cases, an immigration officer may direct you to the secondary inspection area for further questions. During secondary inspection, a second immigration officer will review your case and ask you about your travel and background.”

Source: Democrats Abroad Mexico, Costa Banderas Chapter: Wendy Woodworth, uploaded by Dean McIntyre

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