Hi. I am a private employee working for a big international oilfield company. By last December, my employer offered me a position as location manager based on a district in Mexico, close to the US border (limit with Texas). Due to security concerns caused by the activities or armed groups at this city, I was offerred to chose between setting my home at Mexico DF and visit my family on weekends (commuting back and forth to and from the border city), or looking for a resident visa to live in the US, and commute back and forth from McAllen, Texas to my job, everyday.
In order to stay close to my family, I decided the option to apply for the US visa. Using our turist visa, my family and I visited the USA border city in Texas twice; we found a private school for my kids and a University for my wife. We enrrolled kids and wife, got a I-20, paid the SEVIS form, and requested an appointment at the USA consulate in Caracas. (Let me clarify something here: since I was already working in Mexico, I used to cross the border very often -once a week normally- to go for groseries, shopping, and since the plan was to live at the States, look for house, school, etc). The I-20 we got stated the following: language training for one year. That language training had the purpose to bring my wife's English skills up to a technical level good enough to allow her switch to a MBA or similar post graduate training (master degree).
Why Caracas US Consulate? Let me explain: by the time this happened, my assignment was as a location manager in Venezuela, then my home was based in a small city near City of Maracaibo. My girls were attending an American school there, and the company was renting me an apartment there. (I had to leave my family behind to start taking on my new job position in Mexico.)
On June 11, we got our interview at the Caracas Consulate. The consular officer denied our student visa application and furthermore, stated that what we intended to do (that is, study English and with that excuse, to live at the United States) was not "the right way to do things" and revoked mine and my family's valid turist visa.
By that time, I was in the middle of my moving. We returned home (this city next to Maracaibo), finished packing our belongings with the moving company provided by my employer, then travelled to Quito-Ecuador (our home country). There, we applied again for a tourist visa, which was approved after a 2days background check. Since the consular officer in Quito did not find anything unusual upon the first visa denial and visa revoked, he did approved them again. With the new USA tourist visa, I entered the USA via Houston, travelled to McAllen and a company's car picked me up there and took me to the border city in Mexico, to get back to work.
Please keep in mind that I've been working in Mexico by myself since the end of January 2013 (my family stayed back in Quito, spending some extra vacation days with our familiy there).
On my way to the border, the day of my arrival, I asked my driver to stop at the international bridge where I had my Sentry card approved since several weeks ago (never had chance to pick it up). I entered the building, picked the Sentry up and left. The officer who handed it to me said "here you go, it's already activated". The day after (Saturday July 12), I had to go back to McAllen to the airport, to collect my second bag, which due to an airline's mistake was left in Houston. At the international bridge, I handed out my Sentry and I was surprised when the officer detained me and took me to the office for a background check. After 1.5hrs waiting, one of the officers told me that the alert came up due to the fact that my Sentry was revoked since the day after my visa was revoked in Caracas (Sentry was then revoked on June 12th). However, he said it was clarified, since the new visa was totally valid. He also said that I was a mistake by the officer who handed me the Senty, since I was given a revoked Sentry card. Then I was released to cross the border. I arrived to McAllen, picked up my lost bag and returned to Mexico.
I was surprised to find out three days later, that the new tourist visa (mine and my family's) was also revoked. I did find out via email and my family via phone call to my mother in law's house, in Quito. The email I got came from the Caracas' USA Consulate, and my wife was called by an employee working at the US Consulate in Quito. As a final note, I would like to clarify that I have no intentions whatsoever to live at the States ilegally, since that kind of actions would put in risk almost 17yrs of sucessful career with the company I work for. On the other hand, I am bringing my family to live with me at the Mexican city (on the border, after my management team requested an exemption to the security management team to allow me living here), and it would be good to be able to cross the border for shopping or tourism, once in a while. Could you please provide some clue about what went wrong and how would I fix it? The email notification states that if I want to apply for a visa again, I could do it anytime. Same thing was my wife told over the phone. Thanks, raul
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