Articles

Consular Spotlight - Ciudad Juarez
Thursday, April 26, 2018 by Ramon E. Curiel and Leigh Ganchan

 

The U.S. Consulate in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico (CDJ), adjudicates Nonimmigrant and Immigrant Visas for Mexican Citizens and certain Third Country Nationals.  CDJ is the largest consular section in the world; larger than 60% of embassies (CDJ is not an embassy).  There are two “General Information” windows outside the consulate located on the extreme left side facing the building (Windows A and B) for consular questions. The windows are open 7:30 AM to 3:00 PM on Mondays and 7:30 AM to 1:00 PM Tuesday through Friday. No appointment is necessary.  Attorneys with G-28s may ask questions at the window as well as members of the public.  The local staff at Windows A and B can provide both general information and case-specific information. If post is closed for a holiday, the information window will be open until 3 PM the following day.    

 

Fraud Concerns

 

The fraud prevention unit does a lot of community outreach and works closely with local authorities to prevent fraud and help victims of fraud.  Provides training to officers to help them understand local practices and to detect document fraud.  The consulate warned applicants to be aware of the large presence of purveyors of scams and “fixers” offering worthless services. In the local parlance, these are referred to as “coyotes.”  There is a booth staffed by local police located near the consulate that is tasked with helping visa applicants who are victims of fraud.  Applicants should be aware of the “Casas de Huespedes” or “Casitas” which are clandestine hotels that prey on immigrants and sometimes charge more than regular hotels.  These “casitas” often are promoted by taxi drivers at the airport or bus station in Ciudad Juarez.

 

 

DHS Offices in US Consulate in Ciudad Juarez

 

 

USCIS Office in Ciudad Juarez is located within the US Consulate and has jurisdiction over U.S. immigration matters in the Mexican States of Baja California Norte, Baja California Sur, Chihuahua, Durango, Sinaloa and Sonora.  Practitioners need to make sure that the client reside in a State where the USCIS office has jurisdiction as there are two other USCIS Offices in Mexico (Mexico City and Monterrey).

 

Contact USCIS CDJ

 

Email:  cdj.uscis@uscis.dhs.gov.  Please do not include attachments or images in your email unless we have requested them from you.

 

Telephone:

 

656-227-3451 (from within Mexico)

011-52-656-227-3451 (from the United States)

 

Mailing Address from the US:

 

Field Office Director

Department of Homeland Security

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services

PO Box 9896

El Paso, TX 79995

 

Express Mail Address from the US:

 

Field Office Director

Department of Homeland Security

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services

C/O U.S. Consulate

9601 Carnegie Avenue

El Paso, TX 79925

 

USCIS CDJ is usually responsive and you may receive an email or a phone call within days of your inquiry or application package.  Also, USCIS CDJ generally understands cross-border couples to determine jurisdiction (i.e. the family resides in Mexico, but the US Citizen spouse works in the U.S. and commutes every day) with evidence of residence in Mexico (utility bills, children’s school records, etc.).  Checks for applications must be issued to “US Department of the Treasury.”    

 

Contact the Embassy

 

The preferred method of communications with CDJ is either the “Online Legal Inquiry Form” for attorneys, or the “Online Public Inquiry Form,” for the general public.  The links are below:

 

Legal Inquiry Forms:

 

IVs:  https://mx.usembassy.gov/feedback-form-immigrant-visas-residents/

NIVs:  https://mx.usembassy.gov/visas/contact-us-form/

USC Services:

E-mail for passport and CRBA inquiries: CDJpassport@state.gov

E-mail for other U.S. citizen matters not related to passport or CRBA matters: CDJSCS@state.gov

 

The Consulate’s website, under U.S. Citizen Services, has a list of Mexican Attorneys throughout the State of Chihuahua that may assist clients in civil and criminal matters.

 

Public Inquiry Forms:

 

IVs: https://mx.usembassy.gov/public-inquiry-form-immigrant-visas-residents/

NIVs: https://mx.usembassy.gov/visas/contact-us-form/ (Same as Legal)

USC Services: https://mx.usembassy.gov/u-s-citizen-services/ 

 

Nonimmigrant Visa Procedure

 

Appointment Site:  https://ais.usvisa-info.com/en-mx/niv

 

B-1/B-2 and BCCs represent the largest workload. The NIV unit receives a large volume of TN applications with other worker visas being L, H-1B, and some H-2Bs.  Post processes approximately 100 H-2s every day.  Not a large number of third country nationals (TCNs) process through CDJ but they do see some H-1B renewals, particularly for those who live and work in border states.  Note that TCNs can only process renewals in Mexico. A change from H-4 to an H-1, L-1B to L-1A, or L-1 to L-2 are not considered “renewals” for purposes of TCN processing.

 

Please also note that currently the Reciprocity Validity Period for Mexico is 12 months for all employment based nonimmigrant categories (E, H, L, O, P, Q and TN).  Accordingly, practitioners should prepare for constant renewals and/or advise clients as to the travel requirements of each client. 

 

E applications -- CDJ has exclusive jurisdiction over E-2s.  (E-1 visa applications are adjudicated in Monterrey and Tijuana). CDJ has modified its requirements as of May of 2017.  The link to the instructions is:

https://mx.usembassy.gov/visas/overview-of-the-process-investor-visa-e2/

Do follow the instructions as faithfully as possible, as CDJ is currently returning binders for failure to follow the submission guides.  Do use the recommended excel sheets for Balance Sheet, Income Statement, and Cash Flow Statement.  The link to the excel sheets is:

https://mx.usembassy.gov/wp-content/uploads/sites/25/2017/07/CDJ-E2-FINANCIAL-STATEMENTS-1.xlsx  

 

There is a 70-page limit for the application binder.  The following documents are excluded from the 70 pages: Forms DS-160, DS-156E, G-28; appointment confirmation; civil documents; copy of passport bio-page; copy of previous visa; income tax returns; W-2s and/or 1099s and tabs/dividers.  Make sure that no single page has more than one document.  Tax Returns from the company count as one page for purposes of the 70-page limit.  If this is for an essential employee, explain why an American cannot do the job.  If they return the binder for whatever reason, they will return it to the DHL branch chosen at the time of making the appointment.  Assuming they accept the binder, it is taking a month or two for renewals to be approved.  Initials might be quicker since the appointment is scheduled by the ASC.

 

Applicants renewing in the same E-2 visa class within one year of expiration of the prior visa are eligible for an interview waiver if attempting to qualify for the visa using the same enterprise.  For renewals, it is advisable to have the client appear at any ASC in Mexico before the visa expires, so they may be able to return to the US on a valid visa while CDJ is adjudicating the renewal.

 

The application binders can be sent from the U.S. to (recommended):

 

U.S. Consulate General Ciudad Juarez

Nonimmigrant Visa Unit – E2 Visas

P.O. Box 17000

El Paso, TX 79917

 

 

From Mexico:

 

U.S. Consulate General Ciudad Juarez

Nonimmigrant Visa Unit – E2 Visas

Paseo de la Victoria #3650

Ciudad Juarez, Chih. Mexico C.P. 32543

 

Waivers (212(d)(3)) and/or Consents to Reapply

 

Waivers under 212(d)(3) and/or Recommendations for Consents to Reapply are presented in conjunction with the nonimmigrant application.  If the waiver is recommended, the applicant will be notified, and it will take approximately 4 months to receive a response.  Section 214(b) needs to be overcome, and it has been reported that a 214(b) finding can be issued even after the case was sent to the ARO for consideration of the waiver.

 

Immigrant Visa Procedure

 

CDJ is the only Consular Post in Mexico that adjudicates all Immigrant Visas with some minor exceptions in Mexico City.  IV applicants proceed to the intake window when called. At the intake window, staff will match the NVC letter to the physical file, double check the information on the forms to ensure it is correct, collect all necessary documents (civil, affidavit of support, etc.), open the medical examination envelope, and route the file to the adjudicating officer.  If a required fee has not yet been paid (e.g., a child added to the process after NVC pre-processing), payment for that fee would be made to the consular cashier at this time.  Due to heavy volume, the officer does not receive and review the file in advance of the interview.

 

It is advisable that the client come to the interview with a timeline of all prior visits/time spent in the U.S.  It takes a long time for individuals who have spent a lot of time in the U.S.  to recollect this so having it written out helps expedite the process.  If there are arrests, have the client come prepared with court documents and police records.

 

USCIS notifies CDJ electronically each week when waivers (I-601, I-601A, I-212) are approved.  Applicants should bring the original I-797 approval notice, but it is not mandatory.  If there is something that you want the officer to see at the interview, do not send it to CDJ in advance. Chances are it will not get matched to the file. Instead, you should give the documents to the applicant with instructions to present them to the officer.

 

Prepared by Ramon E. Curiel Partner in Oliva, Saks, Garcia & Curiel, LLP in San Antonio, Texas, and Leigh N. Ganchan, Shareholder at Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, P.C. in Houston, Texas.


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