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.
To re-enter the U.S. under the benefit of automatic revalidation of visa, students must meet the following requirements:
- Have traveled ONLY to Canada, Mexico or adjacent islands
- The absence cannot exceed 30 days
- Students CANNOT apply for a new U.S. non-immigrant visa during this time
- This regulation does NOT apply to nationals of countries designated as "state sponsors of terrorism"
- Has maintained and intends to maintain non-immigrant status in the U.S.
- 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 Revised Regulation on Automatic Revalidation and the U.S. Customs and Border Protection fact sheet on Automatic Revalidation.