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 U.S. without renewing your visa. This is called "Automatic Revalidation".
The following conditions apply:
Your trip outside the U.S. 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.
NOTE: Automatic revalidation is not the same as applying for a new visa. If you apply for a new nonimmigrant visa you cannot take advantage of 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 U.S. if you plan to use Automatic Revalidation to re-enter the U.S.)
- Expired F-1/J-1 U.S. Visa stamp or If you changed your visa status within the U.S., you must show your previous U.S. visa stamp (expired or valid) and documentation proving that your change of status was approved.
If you apply for a new U.S. visa stamp during your trip, you are not eligible for Automatic Revalidation.
Related to re-entry, as of April 28, 2011, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) removed the requirement that nationals from certain countries register in the National Security Entry-Exit Registration System (NSEERS). You can view the full notice at the following link: DHS Removes Designated Countries from NSEERS Registration.
NOTE: If you are a citizen of 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)]