Automatic Revalidation allows certain F, J, and H status holders to depart the U.S. and reenter with an expired nonimmigrant visa stamp in their valid passport after visiting Canada, Mexico or the “adjacent islands” for less than 30 days. The policies and regulations regarding Automatic Visa Revalidation are located on the Department of State’s website here and should be reviewed carefully before you travel; also included is a list of the “adjacent islands.”
According to the Department of State, Automatic Revalidation is NOT available to a nonimmigrant who otherwise meets the requirements if s/he:
- Applied for a new visa which has not yet been issued;
- Applied for a new visa and was denied;
- Has been outside of the United States for more than thirty days;
- Has traveled to a country other than Canada, Mexico, or an adjacent island which is not included in the automatic revalidation provisions;
- Is a national of a State Sponsor of Terrorism designated country, including Cuba, Iran, Syria, and Sudan. Review more about State Sponsors of Terrorism and FAQs on this website;
- Is in possession of an F student visa or J exchange visitor visa and has traveled to Cuba;
- Is in possession of an M student visa and has traveled to a location outside the U.S., other than Canada and Mexico.
(Excerpt from http://travel.state.gov/visa/temp/info/info_1299.html.)
You must have the following documents to reenter the U.S. using Automatic Visa Revalidation:
- Form I-94 (This is the white card in your passport; on it will either be written D/S or the expiration date of your status, which must be beyond your date of return). You must be sure that the Customs officer/airline attendant does not take your I-94 upon your departure from the U.S.
- Immigration documents and other documentation: Please see above; you will need all of the documents listed under your status section (“F-1 Student Travel,” “J-1 Student/Scholar Travel,” or “H-1B Travel”) except the valid visa; however, you must carry the passport that contains your expired visa, even if you have renewed your passport and the expired visa is in your old passport.