got I-94 from Tijuana on 26th Jan 2011


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I thought of posting this as i read lot of questions about getting I-94 on Tijuana (Mexico/ San Diego (US) border

Background -

I got H1B approval (Transfer) without I-94 (I was Out of status as my previous H transfer got denied a month back) so in order to again start working i had to get new I-94 based on new petition.

I had my previous employer H1B Visa stamped valid till Nov 2011 and also had valid I-94 valid till Nov 2011

here is what happened then:

1- I reached San Diego airport at 11:15 in the night. Took shuttle ($40) to reach to San Ysidro (last exit on I-5 before you get in Mexico)

Shuttle drive stopped me just at the border at around 11:55 pm (it is approx half n hr drive from airport)

2- it was kind of quite with few people standing talking but people were regularly coming and dropping people there. I waited for around 10 min just to see and then proceeded towards border on foot

3 - it is basically a big road with multiple lanes on both direction for cars to cross the border in either direction. You have kind of closed/secured walkway on both side of the road way. If you are standing in US and looking towards Max then right hand side walkway is to go to Max and left side walk way is to come to US. Cab drive dropped me on the right side (good guy)

4 - I started walking on the walkway. once you get in that walkway the only direction you can go is straight ahead. right side are couple of Max building and guards are standing and left side is the big road and there are iron bars between you and road.

5 - I took few steps and got through a big one way revolving gate. Just after revolving gate, right side, there is a small guard checkpost and Maxian guards are standing there. PLEASE DO NOT STOP THERE KEEP WALKING as you are allowed to go to Max (assuming you have a valid US visa in your passport)

6 - After taking few more steps (less than 0.1 mile) I saw another one way iron revolving door. I passed through that and i was in Mexico. You would see few Cab and drive. They will ask you where do you want to go (off course in Spanish :). you actually don't even have to go close to the cabs.

7 - The moment you come out of 2nd revolving gate you would see a over bridge to go to other side of the road. Remember you are currently on right side of the big road and in order to come to US you have to go to other side of the road. So take that big over-bridge, walk across, come down and take left on walk way

8 - You would again see a one way revolving gate, get through that and you would see few US Border security guard. They will ask if you need permit (if they do not ask please tell them that you need permit/I94) they will ask you to get in to a small building on the right side

9 - I went inside but had to wait for 15-20 min as officers were not there (may be because it was middle of the night or shift change)

10 - I gave my passport and petition. He figured out that the reason I am looking for new I-94 because I got new petition. Strangely he was not sure if he can give me I-94 as my passport had visa from my previous employer and the new H1B - I797 i had, from different employer. He asked me “did they tell you to get new visa ?†. I got bit scared and told him that my attorney informed me that it is OK to have different employer visa (as long as it is valid). He said OK but still need to check with his Boss. He made a quick call to his supervisor, talked for a min and came back on his desk and gave me new I-94. the officer took my old I-94 card

11 - I was asked to pay $6 in nearby counter (fee to get new I-94) I paid that and lady stapled new I-94 in my passport. 12 - I came out of the building and started walking towards right after taking few steps walkway ended in a building. that is the place for custom and final check of visa. lady on the counter asked me to show my passport. She had a quick look scanned it and let me go and I was in back in US with new I-94.

13- It was middle of the night very less number of people were there and there was NO line. After coming out of the building you would see few Cabs and they would take you any where you would like to go. There is a train/Trolley station as well but train would start running from 4:40 am.

14 - It took me less than an hr from US border to back to US (including 15 waiting to see the POE officer, phone call, discussion etc)

I am just posting this to answer all the people who are saying that now a days they are not giving I-94 on Tijuana border. they were always giving and they are giving now as well. as long as you have a valid reason. How is that possible that on Border they stopped giving I-94..

good luck to any one who attempt to go there...

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  • 1 month later...

they are open 24X7 365 days a week i believe.

Crossing Border US to Maxico no issue - there is not one to check any thing.

Maxico to US - I don't think they are checking any thing. I did not have to answer any quesions which is even close to what you are concerned. I know there were couple of ladies just ahead of me and they were also not asked anything in this regards...

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  • 1 month later...

We got our new I-94s in a total of 45 mins from Parking lot in San Ysidro (San Diego) CA to Tijuana Mexico and back. Here’s our story.

My wife and I had our I-94s expiring on 5/14/11 because my old passport was expiring on that date. My H1B is valid until 9/30/12. So In March I got my new passport from San Francisco Indian Consulate via mail. It took 1 whole month or about 22 business days.

In the meantime, I planned to get the Mexican Visa. We went to the Consulate of Mexico in Los Angeles downtown 10 days ago and the officer over there said we do not need a tourist visa if we plan to be there for less than 6 months AND we have valid US immigrant VISA (our H1B was one) or we have a green card. He also said that however it is up to us if we really wanted the visa stamped, but its not necessary since a new mandate beginning from May 1, 2010. Only if your VISA has expired and you are going for stamping then obviously the per the mandate you don’t have a US Visa and hence you will need a MX visa to travel being a TCN. So anyways I requested him the same thing in writing. He gave us two documents that mentioned those rules and told us to show it to a border post officer if asked. He assured us that this new mandate is known to border posts and we need not worry. I couldn’t see the content in the docs on LA Consulate of MX website, but it can be found on San Jose Consulate of MX website. Armed with those documents (of course with the usual documents), we decided to cross the border at Tijuana on Saturday 4/30/11.

We reached the “Last exit in USA†on I-805 at 4:45PM and parked at $7 flat parking at a 24hr parking spot on Camino De La Plaza (immediate right after you take the exit. Although most people in the forums talk about the parking around or opposite to Jack in the Box since that is really closer to the entry gate, I decided to park here because I had done the same a few years ago for my stamping. We walked at 5PM from parking spot to the pedestrian entry to MX gate which is at the end of the Camiones Way street. It took us 7-8 mins to reach. No one was there at to check at the first revolving gate. Between the 1st and 2nd revolving gate there are a number of offices on your left in the walkway, the first one said something like ‘Immigracion’ and we went and greeted the officer there…told our purpose and asked if we need to document our entry somewhere, he said since you are here on such a short visit, there is no need for anything…just go through the 2d revolving gate, there is an overbridge on your left, go on that and reach the US Border Post at the end of the overbridge. Note that once you cross 2nd revolving door, you are in Mexico. Basically this bridge goes over the freeway since US BP is on other side.. A few feet from where the overbridge ended, led us to a gate and on crossing the gate was the small bldg (blue ornate pillars) having sign “Permit†mentioned in other posts. We stood 3rd in line. There were familiar black uniform US CBP officers inside. Once our # came, officer said “oh H1Bsâ€. We were asked our purpose, she scanned my new ppt, fingerprinted and photo’d. Same with wife. Gave use new I94s until end of current I797 and told to pay $6 each at a window in the same hall. Paid fees, guy printed something on back on I94 (as recpt), we thanked and left. One out we turned right to move through a tunnel that leads to US CBP room. There were 5 people in front of us. Someone in forums had mentioned that go on evenings on weekends since there is less crowd and we experienced that. CBP office asked purpose, whether I was engineer, doctor, lawyer etc, where I worked, did you guys not stay in Tijuana to party etc. Note that he just scanned the ppt bottom row that’s all. The CBP stamping was done in the “Permits†office (blue Admitted stamp). That’s it and we were out, no body scanners, no metal detector frames, nothing. Got out at the door opposite the Train Station McDonalds. Crossed the road to get to the US overbridge to cross freeway, reached pkg spot at 5:45 PM. I couldn’t believe it was so easy. Use my experience and try weekend evenings guys, no sweat, no rush.

This forum has always helped me immensely and I thank people for posting their experiences.

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Hi All,

Yesterday I got the i 94 from Tijuana, Mexico. Mine is the same situation. I got I797B after the H1 transfer. After taking suggestions, I decided to go to Tijuana, mexico. After few questions from office regarding the employment details they gave me I94.

Thanks for all your postings especially for detailed instructions to go there. Any issues let me know.


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  • 3 weeks later...

Hi, I am on H1 with company XXXX and visa, petition, I- 94 valid till Jul 2011. I changed to new employer to YYYY got a petition valid till Feb 2014 without I- 94.

I have asked to leave the county and re-enter to get new I- 94. Can I goto Tijuana - Sandiego-Mexico boarder. Will US customs give me a new I 94 upto new petition date (Feb 2014) or I must goto stamping to Tijuana Mexico. If I need to goto Visa stamping can someone please tell me the process.

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 2 weeks later...

My wife went for h4 visa last month and she got successfully stamped. Initially they issued 221g for PIMS verification. After 4 days we received the passport with the visa stamp. This happened in hyderabad consulate.

Best of luck and thanks for sharing your experiences.

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  • 2 weeks later...

My wife reached US last week.

Here are the complete details of h1 transfer exp:

I came to US in Aug 2010. applied h1 transfer and it got denied. Immediately I reapplied and I got I797b without I-94.

As I have Valid visa stamp from my previous employer, I travelled to Tijuana,mexico and entered US again. I got new I 94 with Employer change.

After I came I sent papers to my wife for H4 visa. She got PIMS verification and after 4 days we got Visa.

Thanks for all for posting experiences. Let me know if required any more info.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Hi Guys,

I noticed that all you guys have gone to the border during a weekend. I have a problem with my license and was planning on taking a Greyhound from Los Angeles to San Ysidro on Friday evening. Do any of you guys know if the Tijuana border is safe during late night? I've heard in other places also that evenings and early mornings are very easy to get through; so i'm assuming late night will be very easy as well, but i'm concerned about the safety. Any idea anyone?


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I stay in the Bay Area and have to get a new I94 because i got a new passport. Does it work if i go to San Fransisco Airport and contact CBP there or just go to the CBP office in the city? Has anybody done that instead of traveling all the way to San Diego to cross the border and get a new I94?

I took an infopass appointment but that was of no use and the lady there told me to leave the country and come back.

Please post your comments and experiences.

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