In a policy change applauded by employers, foreign nationals and the immigration bar, Mr. Edward McKeon, the Minister-Counselor for Consular Affairs in Mexico City, announced on December 15, 2008, that the freeze on third country nationals (TCNs) applying for American visas at Mexican border posts has thawed a little. While we are encouraged at the changes, we are working to restore the previous balance which permitted attorneys to represent their clients in person at visa interviews and to permit a larger group of TCN applicants to apply for visas in Mexico.
The new changes permit the following applicants to apply in Mexico:
- evalidation of all visa categories (except B-1/B-2 and visa waiver entrants) where the prior visa in the same category was issued in the home country or in Mexico. The addition is that applicants previously issued the same visa in Mexico may apply for reissuance in Mexico.
- E visa applicants may apply for visas in Mexico where the prior E visa was issued in the home country or in Mexico. The addition is that applicants previously issued an E visa in Mexico may apply for reissuance in Mexico. Also, during the past few months, no post in Mexico accepted TCN E visa applicants.
- "Country of residence" is not necessarily the same as "country of nationality". For example, an E-2 visa issued to a Japanese citizen in London when he was working for Mitsubishi in London is eligible for re-issuance of an E-2 visa in Mexico.
- If the principal applicant meets the eligibility criteria to apply in Mexico, the dependent spouse and children may apply in Mexico even if the dependents do not meet the new Mexico criteria.
Our gratitude to Mr. McKeon for implementing these policies. However, much remains to be done to ensure that American citizens who cannot wait for long periods of time to see their doctor and American students who need their teachers and professors when school starts are not harmed by the time and expense of their doctors and teachers having to travel continents away to apply for a visa to return to America.
Still remaining to be resolved in the cumbersome and lengthy process involved in obtaining online appointments at Mexican border posts. We are working with the Department of State on this problem and welcome your suggestions and would like to hear about your experiences.
Happy Holidays to All.