H1B Stamping in Matamoros Mexico Experience


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Folks, I recently had my H1B extension visa stamped (Feb 2020) in Matamoros, Mexico (First Mexico visit).  My experience below

Visa Preparation : This was a solo visit. My mexican colleague in USA helped me pay visa fee in Mexican bank and booked visa appointment a month in advance. Booked an Airbnb that is within 10 minutes walk from US-Mexico border, ASC, Consulate, and passport pickup. The room was hosted by a lovely mexican family for 20USD/night. I filled FREE border permit form online for temporary 7 day visit. Setup Mexican roaming and data on my phone. Installed Google translate - download spanish language(Must). Download Matamoros Map.

Onward Journey : Flew from Chicago, Illinois to Brownsville, Texas. Took Uber to Brownsville-Matamoros international bridge (There is NO Uber in Matamoros). Crossed the border on foot. You need to pay 1$ (4 quarters) as toll. The mexican officer on other side checked my luggage and did not even bother to look at my passport / permit. He even helped me zip up my luggage. very friendly. 

Visa Interview :  Attended biometrics on day 1 (Don't carry mobile/electronics). Attended visa interview day 2. The basic questions like job title, duties, employer, salary was asked. I got my passport back on day 5.

Return Journey : Paid 5 pesos to cross the international bridge. Again mexican officer did not look at my passport/permit. I waited for 3 hours in CBP office for I94. Cost 6$. As last minute airfare was too high from Brownsville, I booked overnight Greyhound bus from Brownsville to Austin and boarded an early morning flight to Chicago. 

Matamoros :  I am glad to escape the peak winter weather in Chicago and spend it in sunny Matamoros. Another reason why I avoided Canada. Walking on the main road is challenging due to dust and pollution from vehicles. Almost all establishments accepted dollar bills (18 pesos) as payment. I loved the authentic mexican food. I found every mexican person, I came across ,very friendly. I traveled by bus (seccion 16, that runs from border to matamoros downtown for under 10 pesos - not crowded at all). I felt the place where I lived very safe. 

On the whole it was a good experience. I traveled alone, so I did not feel threatened.  For those traveling with families, it may be a good option to seek agents. Good luck and God speed, Visa seekers.

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On 2/26/2020 at 9:05 PM, User099 said:

It took 5 days to get your passport? Is that normal or it just took extra time for you?

After Visa interview got over, The officer issued a small white slip which stated that visa is approved and it would take 5 to 7 business days for paper stamp and 2 weeks for laser visa (not applicable for us). In my scenario it took 4 business days.

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  • 1 year later...

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