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All applicants must fill out a DS-160 Non-Immigrant Visa Application form to apply for a tourist visa. Our office would be happy to provide you access to this form if you don’t already have access. Please note that you will need to submit it online as opposed to the old paper versions. And, you will have a face-to-face interview at the US Embassy or Consulate.

But those are just the required steps. And we know from many shocked and disappointed relatives, taking those two steps does not guarantee you a visa.

Basically, you need to have a package to present to immigration officials that show you have an enormous amount of ties to Mexico. So much, that it is a safe bet for them to believe that you will be returning to your home country after your trip. Obviously, the more ties you have to the United States (such as children or other relatives), the more difficult it will be for you to get the visa. Or better said, you will need an even greater package that shows your ties to your home country.

What does a good package look like?

  1. You must show your intended plans for your visit to the United States. If your are planning to go to Disneyland, the Dodgers game, a day trip to Catalina, a hotel stay in San Diego, and other events or places like that, it would be helpful to buy those tickets beforehand. The more tourist like activities you have planned, the more it seems that this is in fact a temporary trip. If you have nothing planned for year one week or one month here, then it simply seems like you are coming here to stay. Alternatively, if you are coming for a special event like the birth of your granddaughter, the graduation of a close family friend, or something like that, provide evidence of that special occasion.
  2. It goes without saying that it will be easier for you to get a tourist visa if you have a job in your home country. You would furnish proof that your job is current, that you have asked for and received permission from your employer for a vacation or otherwise limited leave of absence, and that you will have your job when you return.
  3. If you are a student, it would be important to show that you are enrolled for classes upon your return. If you have bought textbooks or otherwise made preparations for future studies, you should show these.
  4. If you have a mortgage on your house or a rental agreement, bring that and show that your residence at that location will continue after you return. Utility bills and any other documents that show current and possible future residence would be helpful.
  5. If you cannot show good motivation to return to your home country, you will be denied the visa. Be prepared to show compelling social, economic and other binding ties to your home country. Your entire package needs to be crafted to show that you have plenty of motivation to continue living in your home country. Sometimes this requires an interview with an immigration attorney to figure out other details in your life that can help your package.


  1. Present your passport with at least six months of validity from the date of the interview for the visa to be issued.
  2. Present your Voting Card (IFE Card).
  3. Proof from Banamex or its equivalent showing that you have paid the visa fee.
  4. Financial support for the length of the visit and departure plans.
  5. Everything else mentioned above in the description of the good package.

Have you ever had a tourist visa rejected?

Don’t bother applying again without the help of the name immigration attorney. Chances are, if you do, the consular officer will not even re-examine your next application. According to the consular officer field manual, they are not required to look at an application from an already rejected applicant unless there is new evidence that overcomes the basis of the original rejection. There is a way to avoid that summary rejection through some tricks of the trade.

Scott McVarish, Lead Attorney at the Immigration Law Office of Los Angeles, is available for speaking engagements, interviews, seminars and trainings on this and many other immigration law topics. Providing pro bono (donated) legal services at such community education events are part of this law office’s “Giving Back” to the community philosophy.