Written by attorney JoAnn Lois Barten

My Interview is Scheduled for Consular Processing in Cuidad Juarez, What can I Expect?

The U.S. consulate in Ciudad Juarez processes the largest volume of immigrant visas in the world for any U.S. consulate or embassy. Last year 132,000 immigrant visas were processed. In the past, the U.S. consulate in Ciudad Juarez handled all of the family immigrant visas for Mexican citizens. However, now the Mexico City consulate interviews brothers and sisters of U.S. citizen cases and international adoptions cases. The U.S. consulate in Cd. Juarez does not want applicants to show up early, no more than 30 minutes before the interview. No applicant is allowed into the consulate before their scheduled time. The consulate does not want applicants to bring a lot of cash. Instead credit cards are better because if a credit card is stolen, it can easily be cancelled and replaced. Typically, if the $404 visa fee has already been paid, no additional fees need to be paid at the immigrant visa interview. There is a waiting area just outside the consulate where applicants are encouraged to go and wait before the scheduled time for their interview. The waiting area is sponsored by city. Instead of waiting on the street in front of the consulate visa applicants will be required to start in the waiting area. This waiting area provides security, protection from the weather and street vendors will not be allowed in the area. The average wait time for a visa applicant once in the consulate is now approximately two hours. After the applicant enters the consulate for the immigrant visa appointment, he or she will go to three windows: one for the taking of fingerprints and photographs; one for receiving and reviewing documents; and one for the immigrant visa interview. The visa interview typically lasts only two to five minutes. Then, the applicant will be asked to pay the DHL fee. In the future, the consulate will no longer handle taking fingerprints or photos of the applicants. the applicant will receive a letter informing him or her to go to another location for taking their photo and fingerprints. If the consulate is going to approve the visa, it still takes two to three days after interview to receive the visa. So in most instances applicants need to plan on being in Cd. Juarez for about a week (longer if children need the TB skin test, and much longer if a waiver is required). Once the visa is approved, the applicant no longer has to remain in Cd. Juarez after their interview for delivery of the visa. Instead, applicants can choose any of the 165 locations within Mexico that DHL courier service is available.

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