If you are in the United States in a valid visa status but do not currently hold a valid visa stamp, it may still be possible for you to make a short trip (30 days or less) to another country in North America and return to the US without renewing your visa. This is called "Automatic Revalidation".
The following conditions apply:
Your trip outside the US must be limited to North America . Trips to Canada , Mexico , or any adjacent islands* (except for Cuba ) qualify for Automatic Revalidation.
Note: If you are in a visa status other than F or J, only trips to Canada or Mexico qualify for Automatic Revalidation.
Upon re-entry to the US , you must be in possession of the following documents:
- Valid passport
- I-20 or DS-2019 with travel signature from within the past six months
- I-94 card (Please ensure that your I-94 card is not taken from you upon your departure from the US if you plan to use Automatic Revalidation to re-enter the US .)
- Expired F-1/J-1 US Visa stamp or If you changed your visa status within the US , you must show your previous US visa stamp (expired or valid) and documentation proving that your change of status was approved.
If you apply for a new US visa stamp during your trip, you are not eligible for Automatic Revalidation.
If you have been registered as a part of the NSEERS program (National Security Entry-Exit Registration System), you are eligible for Automatic Revalidation. However, anytime you travel outside the US , even if that travel is less than 30 days, you must officially depart from a designated Port of Departure (POD). If you plan to re-enter the US using Automatic Revalidation, make sure that your I-94 card is not taken from you during your exit procedure. If it is taken, you will not be able to return using Automatic Revalidation. Click here for more information on the NSEERS program.
Note: If your I-94 card has a notation that says "NSEERS" or "FINS", then you are part of the NSEERS program.
If you are a citizen of Iraq , Iran , Syria , Sudan , North Korea , or Cuba , you are not eligible for Automatic Revalidation.
* 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 territories or possessions in or bordering on the Caribbean Sea. [Source: INA § 101(b)(5)]