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.
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.
- 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:
- 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.
- A valid passport.
- 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:
- Dominican Republic
- Saint Pierre
- Windward and Leeward Islands
**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.