If you are planning to travel to the United States for tourism, business or medical treatment reasons, it is important to obtain a B1/B2 tourist visa. Although there are online services that promise to help you with the process in exchange for an additional fee, the US Embassy recommends following official steps to avoid possible fraud. Here we present the important steps to process a visa from Mexico for the first time:
Step 1: Fill out form DS-160
The first step in applying for a B1/B2 American visa is to fill out the DS-160 form online. This form collects personal information, details of travel, accommodation and relations in your country. Having a valid passport is a requirement to complete this form. The accuracy and authenticity of the information is important, because this form is the main source of data for the official consulate. After this, you will receive a confirmation page in your email, which you must keep for the process.
Step 2: Registration in the Visa Appointment and Information System
Create an account in the US Department of State’s Visa Information and Appointment System. Use the email address and folio number from Form DS-160 to confirm the account. The system will provide you with a document to pay for the visa application.
Step 3: Schedule an appointment at the Applicant Service Center and Consular Section
After payment, return to the Visa Appointment and Information System website to schedule two important appointments: a visit to the Applicant Service Center (CAS) to register biometric information and an interview at the Consular Section corresponding to your location . . Starting in October 2022, the payment is valid for one year, so you should schedule appointments within that period to avoid problems. Also, remember that you cannot change the date of the CAS appointment, but must cancel and start over.
Step 4: Go to the Applicant Service Center (CAS)
At CAS, bring your valid passport, the DS-160 confirmation sheet, and the printed appointment confirmation. During this appointment, your fingerprints will be taken and digital photos will be taken. Normally, the CAS visit is scheduled at least five days before the consular interview.
Step 5: Go to the interview appointment at the Consular Section
The last step is to attend the interview with the consular official at the embassy or consulate where you scheduled the appointment. You must arrive in advance and bring your valid passport, the DS-160 form confirmation sheet and the printed appointment confirmation. The interview is usually short and in Spanish, focusing on verifying the information provided on the DS-160 and details about your travel, accommodation, companions, and length of stay in the US. You may also be asked about your work or level of education. Short and consistent answers on the DS-160 form are the key to obtaining a visa.
At the end of the interview, the consular officer will determine whether your visa application is approved or rejected. If approved, you will receive details by email about the delivery of the visa, a process that can take up to a month.
To renew an expired visa, all these steps must be repeated. However, from March 2021, applicants renewing a visa in the same category may be exempted from the interview if their visa has expired within the previous 48 months.
Visa cost in 2023:
As of May 30, 2023, the B1/B2 visa for Mexicans will cost 185 US dollars (about 3,346 Mexican pesos). This payment is made after completing the DS-160 form and creating an account in the Visa Appointment and Information System. It is important to note that payment does not guarantee obtaining a visa.
Waiting period to schedule appointments in 2023
Due to the pandemic, the waiting times to get a B1/B2 visa have increased significantly. According to the State Department, these are the waiting times of April 2023 To schedule appointments at Mexican consular sections:
Mexico City: 835 days.
City of Juarez: 757 days.
Guadalajara: 826 days.
Hermosillo: 701 days.
Rewards: 615 days.
Merida: 730 days.
Monterrey: 731 days.
Nogales: 711 days.
New Laredo: 644 days.
Tijuana: 749 days.
In addition, some consular sections may limit the issuance of nonimmigrant visas. For updated information on the situation of the Mexican embassy and consulate, you can check the visa services offered by each of them on their official website.