I have a I-797 extension letter, a I-94 valid until 2017 and an expired visa in my passport. I understand that I can travel to Mexico with an expired visa provided I have a valid I-797 and I-94. But I still have one question about requiring a tourist visa to Mexico.

The Mexico VisaHQ site says:

Starting May 1st, 2010, all foreigners, regardless of their nationality, visiting Mexico as tourists, transmigrate or for business matters will not need a visa for Mexico as long as they hold a valid US visa and arrive in Mexico from the United States.

Does this even apply to a person whose visa stamp is expired but has a valid I-94?

  • What do you mean by visa stamp, you mean the visa itself ?
    – blackbird
    Dec 17 '15 at 0:31
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    @blackbird57 for reasons that elude me, the visa sticker is commonly called a stamp in US terminology. I have seen this term mostly (almost exclusively) in connection with H-1B visas.
    – phoog
    Dec 17 '15 at 0:45
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    @phoog The really strange part of that is that the US does not actually use that term for the visa sticker. They call it a 'visa foil'. The US has not stamped visas into passports for more than 20 years. Dec 17 '15 at 2:48
  • @MichaelHampton I'm confused how the OP has an I94 valid so far in the future but an expired visa ? I feel like you would know this :p
    – blackbird
    Dec 17 '15 at 15:40
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    @blackbird57 I'm sure we covered this once before. US visa validity dates are only relevant for traveling to the US. They do not indicate how long you can stay in the US. Dec 17 '15 at 15:42

VisaHQ is right, the visa has to be valid.

According to Timatic, the database used by airlines:

Visa required, except for passengers with a valid visa issued by Canada, Japan, USA, United Kingdom or a Schengen Member State for a maximum stay of 180 days.

Although the US would let you back in if you spend less than 30 days in Mexico, Mexico will not accept an expired US visa as an exemption for a Mexican visa.

That said, if you stick to the border zone, you will not normally be checked on entering Mexico, only when re-entering the US. So, in practice, you could go to Tijuana (for example), although it's not technically allowed.


The question you need to ask yourself, since it is the question the border-guard will be asking himself, is: "If the United Mexican States decides they need to deport you, can they bus you back to the US, or will they have to fly you to wherever you come from?"

Is the paperwork you have obviously adequate to re-enter the US? If not, you'll need a Mexican visa.

  • This does not seem very authoritative. It's entirely possible that the Mexican program requires an actual unexpired visa even in cases where the US does not. Do you have a link to support your answer?
    – phoog
    Dec 17 '15 at 3:23

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