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a loooong post about our experience in Ciudad Juarez

09-22-09, 10:23 PM
First and foremost I'd like to thank all the members of this forum for their help and time taken to post their questions, answers, and experiences. The information here is very valuable yet it is altruistically given free of charge.

My wife's petition for IV was approved yesterday :thumbs:

We arrived in CJ on Wednesday morning and checked into the hotel (La Quinta, nice place, internet, fridge, microwave, van service to the consulate and medical clinics). We arrived by bus to save a few pesitos (Turistar from Guadalajara, only two stops, 19 hours, very comfy).

We went to the medical clinic for her checkup on Thursday morning. They open at 6am and we were there at about 4:15am to get in line. There were approximately 30 people in line already. However, the line grew easily to over 100 within the next hour and a half. By 6am when they started giving out numbers. They let people in at about 6:15 and started processing them. Many people who were in front of my wife were out by about 7:30.

My wife, on the other hand, didn’t come out until about 8:30. Hmmm. Well, she had to wait to be interviewed by the psychologist because she had admitted (truthfully) to having smoked marijuana before. She told the psychologist that she had tried it twice about 4 years ago. The psychologist (who was very cordial and also honest) asked her a lot of questions about other drugs which my wife has never tried. They are tricky questions like “How did you use cocaine, orally or injected?” Anyway, my wife answered everything truthfully and the psychologist made her give a urine sample to be tested. My wife asked her if her being honest would affect her visa petition. The psychologist said that on the contrary, if she had been dishonest, it would have been worse. Apart from that, they checked my wife’s vaccine record in her IMSS Carnet and gave her 3 more vaccines (Tdap, MMR, and Measles-Rubella, which is the same as MMR..I don't know, that's what's checked on her report that they gave us). All in all, we paid 4,100 pesos for the exam.

OK, this whole incident did actually change some things. Primarily, her results wouldn’t be ready on the same day. They would be ready the next day (Friday) at 10am. This didn’t affect us because we (due to the good advice on this forum) allowed an extra day for the exam and did the medical exam on Thursday while her appointment in the Consulate was on Monday.

It DID affect our state of mind. We were genuinely worried that she had basically screwed up by mentioning any drug use at all. We did a little research online and found various horror stories about couples who admitted to trying a drug for nonmedical use and being denied their visas. Even though nonmedical drug EXPERIMENTATION is not a reason for ineligibility, drug abuse or addiction obviously is. We were worried about how the medical examiners and/or the consular officer would interpret the rules.

I read this and got totally depressed:

Just the same, we comforted ourselves in the fact that we had been truthful and forthcoming, and that my wife IS NOT a drug abuser and therefore shouldn’t be ineligible for that.

We picked up the medical results on Friday at 10am; they were ready. After a seemingly endless weekend, Monday had arrived and my wife had her appointment at 8:15am. We woke up early and were at the consulate at about 7:15am. They clearly say not to arrive too early to the appointment but we figured one hour would be ok. We were right and they let her in almost immediately. She waited inside until they called her to the first window to check some general data. They called her by number (they gave her a number when she went in) at about 9:15am and she went to the first window. There, they just confirmed some basic data like her and my full names, the US address where she would live, her parents’ names, how many years we had been married, and her birth date.

Then, they sent her directly to another window where they took her fingerprints and they took a picture of her. Afterwards, they sent her to another waiting room.

She was there for about 15 minutes maximum and her number appeared on another monitor with a different window number. This was the actual appointment with the Consular Officer. He was polite and even smiled. He asked if my wife preferred to speak in English or Spanish. She answered in English that she could do it in English but that she might need to confirm some questions in Spanish if she didn’t understand. He laughed a bit and continued the interview in Spanish. He made her swear that what she was going to say was true. He then confirmed her name and my name (her husband). He asked if our son already had his residency or citizenship. We had gotten our son’s Consular Report of Birth Abroad at the consulate in Guadalajara in April so we were ready for that question. He asked to see the CRBA (not his Mexican birth certificate, which she also had, by the way). He did not look at our son’s US passport. He copied something off the CRBA in his papers and he highlighted it. He returned the CRBA and some other original documents that I had sent in to the NVC as part of the DS-230 (original marriage certificate, my and her birth certificates). At about the same time he said, “Congratulations, your residence visa has been approved.” With a smile he shook my wife’s hand and sent her to a desk to pay. The whole thing took about 5 minutes.

Now, he sent her to pay the DHL service but not the 400 dollars for the visa. I guess I hadn’t realized it but I had already paid that through the NVC’s website when I sent in the DS-230. That was refreshing news! She basically confirmed that with another person at the cashier’s desk and paid the DHL service (about 100 pesos).

She was out of the Consulate at about 9:45am. So, in summary, she was in the Consulate at about 7:15, waited until about 9:15 to start the whole process and was done with the entire thing in about 30 minutes. We couldn’t have been happier.

I guess that the biggest relief was that they didn’t ask anything about the drug use. Second to that was the fact that they actually told her that she was approved at the end of the very short interview. We weren’t expecting them to tell her right then. We had the understanding that they DO NOT give you the results immediately. We expected to receive the visa or a blue slip (saying why you were declined and what to do next) at the DHL office.

So, the rest is the easy stuff. We went back to the hotel where we had reserved one more night in case it took a little longer to receive the package at the DHL office. We were checking the DHL website with the tracking number frequently. The first thing that showed up was “Informacion del envio recibido” which basically means that DHL acknowledges that they have to pick up a package for you at the consulate and take it to one of their offices. DHL’s offices are open until 7pm Monday through Friday and until 11am on Saturday. We were checking until about 6:10pm when they showed that the visa was in transit to the office to be picked up by us. We quickly got a taxi and were at the office at about 6:40. My wife showed her voter’s card and receipt for the package and went inside. They gave her the packet and we went back to the hotel.

There are 2 DHL offices in Ciudad Juarez where you can pick up your visa. (one on Lopez Mateos and the other on Zaragoza)

We asked out of curiosity if the visa could be sent from the Consulate to an office in another city, such as Morelia where we had come from. They said no because of the security nature of the document. They can only be sent to one of the two offices in Juarez and you just have to wait until it arrives there to pick it up. Unfortunately for many people in the hotel where we stayed their visas were taking 1 to 3 days to arrive. We were lucky again because ours arrived (almost at closing time albeit) on the same day as the interview.

Ok, so, we went back to the hotel and found a flight out of CJ for the next day at 1pm (Aeromexico, one way, nonstop, to Mexico City, 2,200 pesotes).

We had not planned to cross the bridge to El Paso to get the Visa (stuck in my wife’s Mexican passport) stamped and turn in the packet to Immigration. They give you a letter with the packet (DON’T OPEN THE PACKET) that says very clearly that you can cross at ANY BORDER you wish. However, we didn’t have anything to do until our flight at 1pm so we left the hotel at about 7:30am to go to the bridge and get it done once and for all. The packet has the name of the bridge that you have to cross at in the bottom right hand corner. We arrived at the Immigration office at about 8:30am and went to Window 1 (the only one that receives immigrant visa paperwork). We were actually the first ones in line and the lights were off in the Immigration window. An officer came over and took my wife’s fingerprints and took the packet and her passport. We were sent to wait and we did until (apparently) the person in charge of that type of paperwork arrived at 9am and started to process it. She gave us the stamped visa (admitted and approved), kept the packet, and sent us on our merry way at about 9:20am.

I believe we were lucky again. The letter that they give you with the packet says that they are open 24 hours 7 days a week to receive the packets but it suuuure doesn’t seem that way. I truly believe that they work from 9am to who knows when but I WOULD NOT go at night because you might get sent back. Also, because most people in Juarez cross immediately after they get the packet, the place is a zoo in the afternoon. According to the people at the hotel (who waited 5 hours to get their visa stamped, they went at about 6pm) the best time to go (if you go at all) is in the morning.

Overall, we had a stressful couple of days after the medical exam but the rest of the experience was generally positive and in our favor. The people in the Consulate and the Medical Clinic were professional, courteous, and genuinely helpful.

I realize that this is an exceedingly long post, but I wanted to be as detailed as possible so that someone else can benefit from our experience. I look forward to reading any responses or helping with any questions about this post.

Daron and Itzel

09-23-09, 11:23 AM
Your wife was unbelievably lucky - almost everyone in Ciudad Juarez who mentions prior drug use get a three year ban. Really, your story is incredible.

09-23-09, 01:08 PM
Wow, I didn't know that.
I guess we were really lucky. :phew:
Thanks for the info

09-23-09, 06:12 PM
I really was praying for you both and I couldn't be happier to read your post. It didn't seem long at all as I was eating it up with complete pleasure. You wrote a wonderfully detailed and perfect account and thank you so much for posting. I wish my husband had time to give a newer more detailed account himself of his whole time ... but what I posted so far is just gonna have to do since he can't find the time and also isn't thrilled at digging at all the details from his experience since they weren't as smooth and nice as your wife's. What an amazing story to share with us. Thank you again and CONGRATULATIONS!!!!! And yes, there did seem to be certain hours that the officers who receive the packages work the booths at the border. My husband's were received, but with a very angry scolding by the officer because the person who recieves them was off duty for the day. He had gone at night and it was not a nice experience like yours. I suggest going in the morning as well. I'm so, so glad everything went so well. Blessings!

05-29-10, 11:35 PM
Hi Daron & Itzel,
I want to thank both of you very much for posting your long story about your guys experience in Ciudad Juarez. I can't emphasize enough how beneficial your learning experience came to be for my wife and I. We just came back from Ciudad Juarez this afternoon with the CR-1 approval! We took your advice, and everything you wrote down was as accurate as it could have been. We showed up at the medical clinic at 4:00 am and were 5th in line. The line was cluttered just an hour after. We were the first out of the clinic by 6:37am so everything was extremely fast. We also took the same approach you guys did of showing up to the consulate an hour before the schedule appointment (9:15am). Hence, my wife entered the consulate about 45 minutes earlier, although she didnít come out until 5pm. Nevertheless she was approved her CR-1 VISA. We didnít pick up the documents with DHL until the following day at 4pm when they had arrived. We went to the Port of Entry immediately and the time it took to have my wifeís VISA stamp was no longer than an hour.
Personally, It took 204 Days (6 months) from the day I sent the I-130 petition to the day of her CR-1 VISA got approved (lawyer free), and we couldnít be any happier and thankful for your post that did us good. Thank you Daron and Itzel! Your help is greatly admired. :victory:

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