Friday, April 28, 2006

Stamping at Nogales, Mexico

Stamping at Nogales Mexico

We had planned to get our visa stamping done at Nogales, Mexico, because that was the only place where appointments were easily available at the earliest.
I would like to write a web log of our travel and the procedure involved, since I found it very difficult to get any information in the web.
This is for US Embassy Nogales, Mexico

Step 1: Fix an appointment thru
You need to play $10 and register in the website and get a visa appointment.

Step 2: You can get a Mexican Visa or you can take the risk for going to Mexico without a visa, for 72 hrs you are legal. Also as per the law, a permit is NOT required if you are planning to stay within 20 KM of the border

We took the Mexican Visa. It takes 4 weeks for the Mexican consulate to process the application so if you are applying please give ample time. Procedure for that at the Mexican Embassy, Los Angeles

1. The Consulate is open from 7 to 1.30 everyday.
2. Download the application form from
3. Gather all documents. The concerned person should appear in person to submit the application. You can also send by mail I think.
a. 2 passport size photos
b. Passport Copies
c. Pay Stubs
d. Bank Statement
e. Valid I-94 or Approval I-797
4. After 4 weeks they call us for an appointment. Please take 2 passport size pictures, 2-passport photos right side facing and cash. The Visa cost $134 per person. The visa type is FM3.
5. They do fingerprinting and then issue the visa

Step3: You can reach Nogales by Road if you are in CA or you can fly. The nearest Airport is Tucson, AZ. From there you can rent a car, park it at the border and then enter Mexico. There are several parking lots before you enter the border, the closest is UETA parking. They charge $4 for day. It is pretty safe.

Step 4: You just walk down to Mexico. If you have a visa then enter the immigration and get it signed. Otherwise you can just get a permit for $22 and walk into Mexico.

Step 5: There are several Taxis available. Just tell them Consulate Americano and they will take you to the consulate. It is $7. You can use the American Dollar everywhere, no need for money exchange.

Step 6: The Consulate opens at 8a.m. It is better to be there by 7.30a.m. A consulate staff verifies for what we are waiting, you can tell them you have an appointment. They then verify all your documents are ready. DS-156, DS-158,DS-157 (male applicants only).

Step 7: You have to go thru security. No electronics, strollers, cosmetics, water, food, even the car remote keys are not allowed. If you are carrying such things, you can leave it by the side with a guy who charges $1 for each item.

Step 8: Keep you passport, I-797 and DS-156, DS-158,DS-157 ready. At the first counter a person verify it and staples it together and gives you a token

Step 9: You wait in queue for you number to be displayed. The next counter they enter all the details to the computer, take fingerprints and photos.

Step 10: You now wait in a different queue and wait for your number to be displayed. Here the officer interviews you and verifies your status. Once your visa is approved, they will give you a receipt to pay the fee. They will also tell you that the passport may be available by 3p.m and to be back and check it out.

Step 11: Pay the fee and come out.

Step 12: Go back at 3p.m and collect your passports.

Step 13: Entering into the US , they will give you a new I-94. This is the painful part, it takes min 2 hrs for this, since there is a big crowd.

The above is the entire procedure. Now to the other details.
The bank Draft of $100 has to be got from Banamex. The Bank is about 2 blocks from the consulate. It is better to get it before the interview, so that you save some time. Else you have to inform the staff and then go and get the draft, which is a pain.

We went into Mexico on Sunday since we had a toddler. We stayed at the Carribean Hotel. The room is $50 and it was ok. The restaurant in the hotel was good.
There is one more hotel across the street, it is Marques D’Dima.
From this hotel the consulate is 20 min by walk. By Taxi it is $7.

The next day to while away the time till 3p.m you can sit in the Burger King down the street from the consulate. The Mc Donald is not good.

In my own personal experience the people were very good and hospitable. It is a world of difference once you cross the border. People don’t speak or even understand English. But you can manage for a day. I will add on more to the trip details later

Some useful website