Automatic Visa Revalidation is a special provision in the Department of State regulations which permits holders of F and J status with an original/valid Form I-94 to:
- go to “contiguous territory” and return to the U.S. without a currently valid visa stamp in the passport OR
- go to “adjacent island” and return to the U.S. without a currently valid visa stamp in the passport
“Contiguous territory” = Canada and Mexico
“Adjacent Islands” = Angular, Antigua, Aruba, Bahamas, Barbados, Barbuda, Bermuda, Bonaire, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Curacao, Dominica, the Dominican Republic, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Haiti, Jamaica, Marie-Galante, Martinique, Miguel, Montserrat, Saba, Saint Bartholomew, Saint Christopher, Saint Estates, Saint Kitts-Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Marten, Saint Martin, Saint Pierre, Saint Vincent and Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, Turks and Caicos Islands.
Important: Automatic Revalidation is NOT available to students or scholars who are OUT OF STATUS.
Automatic Revalidation Rules and Criteria
- You must not be a citizen of a country that the Department of State determined to be a sponsor of terrorism. Countries currently on this list are Cuba, Iran, Iraq, Libya, North Korea, Sudan, and Syria.
- Time outside the U.S. MUST (1) not exceed 30 days AND (2) be spent ONLY in contiguous territory or adjacent islands. You must be in possession at exit/reentry of a valid SEVIS I-20 or DS-2019 and present it to US CBP officer at the port of entry.
- You must be in possession at exit/reentry of a valid unexpired passport.
- You must be in possession at exit/reentry of a valid Form I-94, either paper or electronic.
- You must have maintained legal and valid F or J status while in the U.S. prior to travel and must resume legal and valid status upon reentry.
- You must not be considered inadmissible to the U.S. under Section 212(a) or 212(d)(3)(a) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). If either one is noted in your expired visa in your passport, you are not eligible for automatic revalidation.
- You MUST NOT apply for a visa at the U.S. Consulate in Canada, Mexico, or the Caribbean. A student or scholar who proceeds to apply for a visa: MUST be prepared to wait the entire period of processing including security checks, as necessary.
- MUST be prepared to return to his/her home country should the application be denied. In this case, he/she is NOT eligible for automatic revalidation.
NOTE: Travel to a third country from Canada, Mexico or an adjacent island is NOT PERMITTED. You must have the original Form I-94, if you still have the paper-based Form I-94 because your last entry into the U.S. with a visa was before May 2013. If your last entry was May 2013 or later you must have a valid electronic I-94 admission record in the USCBP database – you should print out a copy of this record at U.S Customs and Border Protection and retain this copy while traveling. If you are still in possession of a paper Form I-94 and you plan to use automatic revalidation, DO NOT SURRENDER your paper Form I-94 to an airline representative or other transportation entity. The original Form I-94 is REQUIRED to be eligible for reentry using automatic revalidation.
IMPORTANT: An F or J visa holder who somehow gets admitted into the U.S. even though he or she did not meet the rules and criteria will be considered as having committed VISA FRAUD.Visa fraud is a deportable offense and an individual guilty of this offense is subject to removal from the U.S. and will not be eligible to be admitted any time in the future.