Travel to Canada, Mexico & Adjacent Islands

Automatic Revalidation provides that, under certain circumstances, a person with an expired F and J visa in their passport can re-enter the U.S. from Canada, Mexico and "adjacent islands" (except Cuba) with an expired nonimmigrant visa. The absence outside the U.S. cannot exceed 30 days and the I-94 Arrival/Departure record must remain valid.

*Please check the visa requirements for the country to which you are traveling before making travel arrangements. You may require a visa to enter certain countries based on the passport you hold.

To re-enter the U.S. under the benefit of automatic revalidation of visa, students must meet the following requirements:

  1. Have traveled ONLY to Canada, Mexico or adjacent islands
  2. The absence cannot exceed 30 days
  3. Students CANNOT apply for a new U.S. non-immigrant visa during this time
  4. Has maintained and intends to maintain non-immigrant status in the U.S.
  5. Carry valid passport with expired visa, I-20 with valid travel signature

IMPORTANT: Students should retain and be in possession of a printout of their I-94 Arrival/Departure record when leaving the U.S. to ensure successful re-entry to the U.S.

Citizens of Iraq, Iran, Syria, Libya, Sudan, North Korea, and Cuba are not eligible for the automatic revalidation benefit and would be required to have a valid visa for re-entry.

Students who are traveling to Mexico or the Caribbean by cruise ship must contact the cruise line before purchasing the cruise package to confirm they will recognize automatic revalidation and allow them to travel outside the U.S. without a valid F-1 visa.

The adjacent islands include:

Saint Pierre, Miquelon, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Bermuda, the Bahamas, Barbados, Jamaica, the Windward and Leeward Islands, Trinidad, Martinique, and other British, French, and Netherlands territory or possessions in or bordering on the Caribbean Sea  [Reference INA, Section 101(b)(5)]

For more information, please review the U.S. Customs and Border Protection fact sheet on Automatic Revalidation.