Ask the U.S. Consul:
Visitor Visas

We are often contacted by U.S. citizens who would like to invite their Mexican friends and relatives to visit the United States and experience American culture.   In order to travel to the United States for short-term business or tourism, Mexican citizens require a non-immigrant, “tourist” visa.  How does someone apply for a tourist visa?  The first step is to obtain a Mexican passport.   Next, follow the instructions on the website of the U.S. Consulate General in Merida, which are available in Spanish and English. Click on the “visas” option.

There are five steps to the process:
(1) fill out an online form
(2) pay the fee and make an appointment
(3) visit the Applicant Service Center to provide a photo and fingerprints
(4) appear at the U.S.  Consulate for an interview
(5) if approved, pick up the visa at a local DHL office.

It normally takes two to three weeks to receive the visa through DHL. There may be other reasons why a decision is delayed on a visa case, so  we recommend applying two or three months in advance of the travel date.

Visa applicants must personally qualify for a visa based on an interview with a U.S.  consular officer. By law, applicants are required to demonstrate that they have a permanent residence abroad and that they will comply with the terms and conditions of the visa. In the case of tourist visas, applicants should be prepared to explain to the interviewing consular officer the length and purpose of their trip.  Additionally, they need to show evidence of funds sufficient for their travel and expenses, and demonstrate social and economic ties to Mexico that will compel their return at the end of their stay. Applicants are encouraged but not required to bring original documents to the interview, such as evidence of their finances or employment.   Finally, it is essential that applicants be completely truthful in the application form and at the interview.   Any misrepresentation may lead to a permanent ineligibility for a visa.

While the great majority of our applicants qualify for visas, some applications are refused.   The most common reason for a refusal is the applicant’s failure to demonstrate strong ties to Mexico that would compel his or her return after a brief, non-working stay in the United States.   Applicants can re-apply at any time, but we recommend they wait until there has been some significant change in their personal situation which would allow them to demonstrate stronger ties.

Sometimes, U.S. citizens offer to ‘sponsor’ their friends and family seeking a visitor visa.   Unfortunately, there is nothing in U.S. immigration law which allows such sponsorship.   Similarly, many applicants submit letters of invitation or recommendation from their U.S. citizen friends or family with their applications.   While these can be helpful to explain the purpose of trip, they are not sufficient to guarantee visa issuance.   This is why it is very important for applicants to explain to the consular officer their personal ties to Mexico, and not to rely on an invitation from a U.S. citizen as their primary qualification for a visa.

Our mission is to facilitate legitimate travel to the United States.   By following the above instructions carefully, your friends or relatives can maximize their chances of qualifying for a tourist visa.   We look forward to receiving their application!

Calle 60 No. 338 K x 29 y 31
Colonia Alcala Martín, Mérida.
Phone: 011-52-999-942-5700
Fax: 011-52-999-942-5758
Email: [email protected]gov