[authors: Eleanor Pelta, Eric S. Bord, A. James Vázquez-Azpiri, Lance Director Nagel, and Lisa Stephanian Burton]
Effective July 1, all E visa adjudications in Mexico will be centralized in three visa posts and all supporting documents must be presented in a standardized format.
The U.S. Mission in Mexico has announced two changes to its E visa processing procedures, both effective July 1. First, all E visa adjudications in Mexico will be centralized in three visa posts: Mexico City, Monterrey, and Tijuana. E visa processing will no longer be accommodated at other consular locations in Mexico. This change will impact both principal E visa applicants as well as accompanying family members. Second, posts in Mexico that accept E visa applications will require that all submissions of documents in support of the visa application be organized and presented in a standardized format described on the U.S. Embassy in Mexico's website.
These changes will affect the current E visa scheduling system in the following ways:
Scheduling of appointments and payment of fees will continue to be done through online services and call centers.
E visa applicants (principals and derivatives) may continue to choose any the 14 Applicant Service Centers (ASCs) throughout Mexico to provide the required biometrics (digital photographs and fingerprints).
The ASC will then schedule appointments for interviews in one of the three processing posts—Mexico City, Monterrey, or Tijuana—based on applicant's preference and appointment availability.
Documents in support of the application, organized according the provided guidelines, may be submitted in person at the ASC in Mexico City, Monterrey, or Tijuana, or mailed directly by the applicant to the visa section that will conduct the interview and adjudicate the visa.
Why Is This Happening?
E visas are an important visa classification for Mexican businesses and individuals that are seeking to invest in or trade with the United States. A properly managed E visa program can be a valuable tool for Mexican-owned businesses in the United States to secure employment authorized work visas for critical employees, managers, and executives who are Mexican citizens.
The U.S. Mission in Mexico believes that these changes will result in increased efficiency and improved quality of adjudications. "Improved quality of adjudications" likely means that these changes will assist consular officers in applying greater scrutiny to applications, including through enhanced fraud detection, verification of material submitted in support of the applications, inquiries into legitimacy of funds, and other factors intended to determine the merits of an application.
What Does This Mean for Me or My Business?
Applicants can expect that this additional scrutiny will extend processing times. Applicants should also be prepared for requests for additional information before an application is adjudicated. In addition, applicants who are applying to renew E-1 or E-2 visas that have expired or that are about to expire can expect that their applications will be reviewed carefully to assess whether the representations made at the time of the initial E visa registration with respect to the nature of the business or investment have in fact been realized.
How Morgan Lewis Can Help
Our bilingual Latin America Practice regularly works with Mexican clients to assist in all aspects of growing and investing in the United States. We combine experience in corporate, tax, immigration, and employment law and related areas to provide a single resource for companies that are looking to grow in the U.S. market. We also assist U.S. businesses with their outbound immigration needs when sending personnel to work in Mexico.