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Automatic VISA Revalidation

PLEASE NOTE: NO TRAVEL SHOULD TAKE PLACE UNTIL ALL DOCUMENTS (PASSPORT, VISA, I-94,
DS-2019, I-20, I-797, ETC.) HAVE BEEN REVIEWED BY OIA.

The procedure known as "automatic visa revalidation" allows a person with an expired visa to re-enter the United States after a visit to Canada, Mexico, and "adjacent islands" (see below) using a valid, unexpired admissions stamp or I-94 card in place of a visa.

  • Returning from a visit of fewer than 30 days duration to Canada, Mexico or an “adjacent island”. (Note: not eligible if any countries other than Canada, Mexico, or "adjacent islands" are visited). 
  • Must be in possession of:

           1. A valid (unexpired) admissions stamp or paper Form I-94, Arrival/Departure Record. If
               you were issued a paper I-94 card, do not surrender it to the airline or CBP officer 
               when departing the U.S.

            2. A valid passport.
     
            3. A valid DS-2019 (J-1), I-797 (H-1B/O-1) or I-20 (F-1).

Anyone meeting these criteria should be allowed to re-enter the United States as though they had never left. If the person seeking re-entry has had his or her status changed (such as from F-1 to H-1), then the person should be readmitted in the changed classification as if they have a visa in the proper category.

The Immigration and Naturalization Act [INA 101(b)(5)] defines “Adjacent islands” as:

  • Bahamas
  • Barbados
  • Bermuda
  • Dominican Republic
  • Haiti
  • Jamaica
  • Martinique
  • Miquelon
  • Saint Pierre
  • Trinidad
  • Windward and Leeward Islands
  • Other**

**Other British, French and Netherlands territories/possessions in or bordering the Caribbean Sea.

  • Automatic Visa Revalidation does not apply to nationals of countries identified as supporting terrorism. Currently this includes Cuba, Iran, Sudan and Syria. 
  • If during the course of the same trip the person seeking re-entry applies for a new visa then they are no longer eligible for automatic visa revalidation and will have to wait for the visa to be granted in order to reenter the U.S. 
  • If any countries other than Canada, Mexico, or an “adjacent island” will be visited.
  • If any violations of status occurred while in the U.S (accepting unauthorized employment, not maintaining full-time student status, etc.).

For more information on automatic visa revalidation, go to the Department of State Website.