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I am Vietnamese and enter the US on the emergency visa waiver, B2, due to early coming before my effective day of H1B. I am wondering if I can travel to Mexico by land without a visa with this visa/status?

Your help is really appreciated!

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  • Do you have a valid U.S. visa (a physical sticker in your passport)?
    – xngtng
    Dec 12, 2021 at 0:52
  • I entered the US with emergency waiver B2 - I-193 (effective until Jan 12). My stamped H1B will be effective from Jan 10. I suppose the emergency waiver B2 can not be seen as a valid visa, is that right? Can I use the H1B to enter Mexico from Jan 1. Legally, I am only allow to enter the US 10 days before the effective day (written on i797 but I was unaware). Dec 12, 2021 at 1:14
  • This is the picture of the emergency visa waiver when I was admitted to the US: ibb.co/0XFspH5 Dec 12, 2021 at 1:34
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    Covid requirements notwithstanding, you can use a valid, unexpired US visa, i.e. a physical sticker and not any admission stamps or status papers (except the Green Card if you are PR), to enter Mexico without a Mexican visa.
    – xngtng
    Dec 12, 2021 at 2:10
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    @xngtng That's an answer, not a comment. Dec 12, 2021 at 3:12

1 Answer 1

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If you have a valid, unexpired multiple entry U.S. visa in your passport, you may enter Mexico for tourist, business or transit purposes for up to 180 days, but no later than expiry of the U.S. visa, without needing a Mexicana visa.

The only thing matters to Mexican authorities is whether there is a physical sticker (visa) within validity period (and not otherwise invalidated) issued by the United States. Whether you have used the visa or not, or if there are supplementary rules on the use of your visa by the U.S. government, does not affect your visa-free eligiblity to Mexico.

Since your H1-B visa is unexpired and there is no mention of valid-from date (even though U.S. immigration rules link the use of this visa to your I-797), you may enter Mexico without a Mexican visa.

Your legal status in the U.S., granted by a border officer on entry, is a distinct concept from a U.S. visa, which only authorizes you to travel to the port of entry to seek admission.

However, Mexico only accepts a valid U.S. visa as a condition of visa waiver; your legal status in the U.S. is irrelevant.

If you have a valid and unexpired visa of the following countries: Canada, the United States, Japan, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and any of the countries of the Schengen Area, you do not need a visa to enter Mexico for tourism, business or transit purposes. All individuals in this category are required to present their valid and unexpired visa along with their passports. Both documents must be valid during your entire stay in Mexico.

If the US visa stamped in your passport is expired but you have an official document or form proving your legal status in USA, you must apply for a Mexican visa at this Consulate. All EAD cards, I-797 A Forms, Advance Parole Forms, I-20 OR DS-2019 are not accepted to enter Mexico.

https://consulmex.sre.gob.mx/sanfrancisco/index.php/servicios-para-extranjeros

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  • Thanks @xngtng for your clear explanation. So is it to re-enter the US from Mexico with the H1B after, let say, a lunch? :) is there any issue with this? Thank you Dec 13, 2021 at 23:22
  • @user2842390 You lose your B-2 status in the U.S. the moment you leave the U.S. So when you reenter U.S. a new evaluation will be done at the border. In this case I probably wouldn't risk demanding an exceptional visa waiver again. But if you reenter U.S. after you can legally enter with your H1-B there shouldn't be any problem.
    – xngtng
    Dec 14, 2021 at 0:25
  • Thanks @xngtng, I mean this time I will go to Mexico for a lunch and return at some point near the allowed time to re-enter the US of H1B. Does this kind of “changing of visa/status” sound fine? Just wonder if the border officer may ask why I only stay for a few hours in Mexico. Nevertheless in the emergency waiver form I-193, it said “due to my unaware early travel”, I guess that waiver form could support me to re enter the US. Dec 14, 2021 at 0:56
  • Staying for a few hours is fine. But you should only do it within 10 days of the start of your H1-B status, since now you are aware of the rule and should know better when can you enter/reenter the U.S.
    – xngtng
    Dec 14, 2021 at 1:08
  • Thank you @xngtng. I hope everything goes as plan! Dec 14, 2021 at 1:18

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