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Feb 13, 2024 | Nancy Chen

Expired Nonimmigrant Visa? How To Enter The U.S. With Automatic Revalidation

If you hold an expired nonimmigrant visa, you may still be able to enter the U.S. if you meet certain requirements.

Did you know that if you’re on an expired nonimmigrant visa, you may still be able to enter the United States under certain circumstances? It is called automatic revalidation. This article will explain what automatic revalidation is and who is eligible for the process.

What is automatic revalidation and what are the requirements?

According to the U.S. Department of State, certain temporary visitors with an expired nonimmigrant visa may be admitted to the country at a port of entry. The requirement is that they departed from the U.S. to Canada or Mexico, (or for F and J nonimmigrants, adjacent islands in the Caribbean except Cuba) for 30 days or less and possess a valid (unexpired) admission stamp or paper Form I-94, Arrival/Departure record, endorsed by Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

Also Read: What Happens If You Overstay Your Tourist Visa?

*Note: 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.

If you have an expired nonimmigrant visa but a valid I-94 record and any of the following situations apply, you must reapply for and be issued a nonimmigrant visa before entering the U.S.:

  • You applied for a new visa, but it has not yet been issued
  • You applied for a new visa and were denied
  • You have been outside of the U.S. for more than thirty days
  • You have traveled to a country not included in the automatic revalidation provisions
  • You come from a State Sponsor of Terrorism designated country, including Iran, Syria, and Sudan
  • You are on an F student visa or J exchange visitor visa and have traveled to Cuba
  • You are on an M student visa and have traveled to a location outside the U.S., other than Canada and Mexico

In addition, you should have maintained and intend to resume nonimmigrant status. You also need to possess a passport valid for six months or over from your date of re-entry to the U.S.

For more information, you can check the Code of Federal Regulations.

Also Read: How to Find Your Form I-94 Arrival/Departure Record for U.S. Visitors

What documents do I need to bring?

Bring your valid passport and I-94 record. Other than that, if you are a:

  • F-1 student, bring your I-20 and OPT EAD (if applicable)
  • J-1 exchange visitor, bring your valid DS-2019
  • H-1B temporary workers, bring I-797

The University of Michigan also recommends you bring a printed U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) article on automatic visa revalidation and the relevant Code of Federal Regulations.

What else should I take note of?

Remember not to travel to any countries other than Canada or Mexico (or adjacent islands for F and J immigrants only). For example, you should not go to Canada or Mexico and then to your home country. Otherwise, you will not be eligible for automatic revalidation.

If you want to take advantage of automatic revalidation, you should not change or apply for a new visa while you are in Canada or Mexico.

Also, remember that automatic revalidation does not eliminate any visa requirements for Canada, Mexico or adjacent islands.

Also Read: How To Extend a Nonimmigrant Tourist Visa

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