Beginning January 10, 2011, individuals filing visa applications in Mexico (including under the TN/TD visa classifications) will now be required to take an additional step prior to their application interviews.
Under the new procedures, applicants must go to an Applicant Service Center (ASC) prior to their interview at the Embassy/Consulate. ASC employees will collect the applicant’s biometric information and provide that data to the Consulate for review by a consular officer prior to the applicant’s interview. While some Embassies/Consulates in Mexico already required ASC processing, it will now be implemented at all Embassies/Consulates in Mexico.
One advantage of the new ASC processing is that individuals renewing their visa stamps may avoid attending an interview at the Embassy/Consulate. Under a new Interview Waiver Program, individuals renewing their visas may only have to visit the nearest ASC to submit application documents and provide fingerprints. Although the application will still be reviewed by the Embassy/Consulate, under this program visa renewal applicants will no longer require an interview with a consular officer. To qualify for the Interview Waiver Program, individuals must:
- Apply with a Mexican passport;
- Apply in the same visa category;
- Possess a valid visa or the visa expired less than one year ago;
- Have never been arrested or convicted of a crime;
- Have never been deported from the United States, denied entry to the United States, or had any other immigration problems; and
- Not have dual citizenship.
As part of its Global Support Strategy (GSS), the government plans to implement ASCs at visa processing posts worldwide within the next two years. The U.S. Embassy in Mexico’s announcement is unclear whether Mexican citizens eligible under the Interview Waiver Program will be allowed to visit any ASC (e.g. in Canada) and avoid traveling to Mexico altogether. This question should be resolved as the new ASC process is implemented.