Automatic revalidation is a process through which individuals whose visa stamps have expired can travel to certain areas and return to the U.S. with an expired visa stamp. You should still carry all other travel documents with you. All of your other documents should be valid, including your passport which should be valid for at least six months into the future. For more information about Automatic Revalidation see the U.S. Customs and Border Protection website and the U.S. State Department website.
J-1 Scholars & Employees: J-1’s and their J-2 dependents whose visas have expired and who plan to travel to Canada, Mexico or the adjacent islands* for 30 days or less may re-enter the U.S. as though their visa were still valid. This applies also to J-1 scholars who changed their status in the U.S. and whose visa is in the category in which they entered the US.
H-1B Employees: Individuals in H-status are also eligible for Automatic Visa Revalidation when traveling to Canada or Mexico for less than 30 days. When in H-status, traveling to any of the adjacent islands under the automatic visa revalidation process is not an option.
I-94 and Automatic Revalidation
- Paper I-94: If you entered the U. S. prior to April 30, 2013, you will have a paper I-94 card in your possession. To re-enter the U S. on the basis of the Automatic Visa Revalidation, you must hold on to your paper I-94 card when you leave the U. S.; this original I-94 card is needed to re-enter the U.S.
- Electronic I-94: If you entered the U. S. after April 30, 2013, you will have an electronic I-94 record. When departing, you will not need to surrender an I-94 card, as it will be in the electronic system. Upon re-entry into the U.S., a Customs and Border Patrol officer will electronically verify and re-validate your I-94 record. There may be cases when you will need to demonstrate your eligibility for automatic revalidation. It is strongly suggested that you print out a copy of your electronic I-94 record from www.cbp.gov/i94 prior to boarding the air or sea carrier.
Who is Not Eligible for Automatic Revalidation
- Individuals who have applied for a new U.S. visa stamp which has not yet been issued;
- Individuals who have applied for a new U.S. visa stamp and were denied;
- Individuals who have been outside of the United States for more than thirty days;
- Individuals who have traveled to a country other than Canada, Mexico, or an adjacent island (adjacent island travel is not permissible for H’s wishing to use automatic revalidation) which is not included in the automatic revalidation provisions;
- Individuals who are citizens of Iran, Syria, and Sudan;
- Individuals who have traveled to Cuba;
*Adjacent Islands: The Bahamas, Barbados, Bermuda, The Dominican Republic, Haiti, Jamaica, Martinique, Miquelon, Saint Pierre, Trinidad, The Windward and Leeward Islands, and Other British, French, and Netherlands territories or possessions in or bordering on the Caribbean Sea.