Automatic Visa Revalidation

Automatic Visa Revalidation

 

Under certain circumstances, nonimmigrants with expired visas are allowed to return to the United States in the same visa status in which they departed, to continue their previously approved activities, without having to obtain a new entry visa stamp.  This is known as "automatic extension of visa validity" or "automatic revalidation."  If you hold an H-1, O-1, J-1 or F-1 visa, you may be eligible.

 

I have an H-1 or O-1 visa.  Can I renew my visa via automatic visa revalidation after my trip to Canada or Mexico?

When you return to the U.S. from a trip to Canada or Mexico, an expired visa in your passport can be considered automatically extended until the date you reenter the U.S.  At that time, your visa status may be converted to a different visa classification if you have changed status in the U.S. You must meet the following conditions:

 

  • You visited only Canada or Mexico
  • The duration of your visit was 30 days or less
  • You had been maintaining and intend to resume the same nonimmigrant status in the U.S. You have time remaining on the period of stay for the nonimmigrant status (the arrival and departure record from the approval notice you last received will still be valid when you plan to reenter the U.S.)
  • You have not applied for a new visa at a U.S. embassy/consulate during this trip

If the above conditions are met, you should be allowed to reenter the U.S. from Canada or Mexico with an expired nonimmigrant visa and a valid arrival and departure record (printed from the U.S. Custom and Border Protection's (CBP) or a valid admission stamp with notations in your passport.

You are not eligible for automatic visa revalidation according to USCIS if:

 

  • You have applied for and been denied a visa while outside the U.S. (including in Canada or Mexico), even if you have a valid arrival and departure  record or admission stamp.
  • You are a citizen of a country on the U.S. Department of State’s list of State Sponsors of Terrorism (Cuba, Iran, Sudan, and Syria).
  • You have been in Canada or Mexico longer than 30 days. In this case, if your visa has expired, you must apply for a new visa at a U.S. embassy/consulate before you can reenter the U.S.
  • You have traveled to other countries in addition to Canada or Mexico. In this case, you must apply for a new visa at a U.S. embassy/consulate before you can reenter the U.S.
  • You have the notation "212(d)(3)" on your U.S. visa. You must apply for a waiver of inadmissibility if you do not hold a double or multiple entry, unexpired visa.

If you have questions or concerns regarding your U.S. visa, call or email JCS Immigration and Visa Law Office.  Our Los Angeles immigration and visa lawyers have helped hundreds of foreign nationals with successful applications for visas to come to the U.S.  [LINK TO CONTACT JCS]

What if I have plans to travel to Canada or Mexico?  Will my U.S. visa cover my trip?

Citizens from certain countries who wish to visit Canada are required to obtain a visitor’s visa (tourist visa) from the Canadian Consulate General in Los Angeles. You should contact the Canadian Consulate to find out whether you must obtain a visa before you can enter Canada.  See the Canadian Embassy’s website for information on Canada’s visa requirements.

Mexico requires all visitors to obtain a tourist card or visa at a Mexican Consulate before they can enter Mexico. See the Mexican Embassy’s website for information on tourist cards/visas.

Will USCIS and Customs and Border Patrol allow me to reenter the U.S. with the same U.S. visa?

If the above automatic visa revalidation conditions are met, you should not need to apply for a new visa at a U.S. consulate IF you show these items to the CBP officer at reentry to the U.S.:

  • Unexpired arrival and departure record printed from CBP's website
  • Eligible expired U.S. entry visa
  • Valid USCIS Notice of Action (NOA) Approval
  • A passport valid for at least 6 months past the NOA end date
  • Employment confirmation letter

What if I need to submit a new U.S. visa application at a U.S. consulate in Mexico?

If you cannot meet the above requirements for automatic visa revalidation, be aware that U.S. consulates in Mexico have placed restrictions on visa application eligibility for Third Country Nationals (TCNs) (i.e. non-Mexican citizens) who are not residents of Mexico. For more information on these restrictions, see the website of the U.S. Embassy in Mexico.

Travel to Canada, Mexico, or Adjacent Islands on J or F Status Visa

If you are a nonimmigrant with F-1 or J-1 status, you and your F-2 or J-2 dependents will be able to reenter the U.S. from Mexico, Canada or the Adjacent Islands with an expired U.S. nonimmigrant visa stamp as long as you were not out of the country for more than 30 days.  Keep in mind that this is generally not recommended if you are returning from your home country.  If you are traveling to your home country with an expired F-1 or J-1 visa, it is best to apply for a new visa while you are in your home country.  If you are returning to the U.S. from your home country, you may face difficulties with an expired F-1 or J-1 visa even if you have your original arrival and departure record.

JCS Immigration and Visa Law Office is dedicated to immigration law. Our focus allows us to stay current with the complex and ever changing immigration laws.  Our experienced Los Angeles immigration attorneys are ready to help you meet all of your LCA and visa needs.  [LINK TO CONTACT JCS]

What are the automatic visa revalidation requirements for J visa holders?



When you return to the U.S. from a trip to Canada, Mexico, or an adjacent island, an expired visa in your passport can be considered automatically extended (and converted to a different visa classification if you have changed status in the U.S.) until the date you reenter the U.S. if the following conditions are met:

 

  • You visited only Canada, Mexico, or a qualifying adjacent Caribbean island
  • The duration of your visit was 30 days or less
  • You have been maintaining and intend to resume J status in the U.S.
  • You have time remaining on your J period of stay (your Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor (J-1) Status will still be valid when you reenter the U.S.)
  • You have not applied for a new visa during this particular trip

 

If the above conditions are met, you should be allowed to reenter the U.S. from Canada, Mexico, or an adjacent island with an expired nonimmigrant visa and an arrival and departure record with a valid admission stamp with notations in your passport.

You are not eligible for automatic visa revalidation according to USCIS if:

  • You have applied for and have been denied a visa while outside the U.S. (including in Canada, Mexico, or on an adjacent island), even if you have a valid arrival and departure card
  • You are a citizen of a country on the U.S. Department of State’s list of State Sponsors of Terrorism (includes Cuba, Iran, Sudan, and Syria)
  • You have been in Canada, Mexico, or on an adjacent island longer than 30 days. In this case, if your visa has expired, you must apply for a new J visa at a U.S. embassy/consulate before you can reenter the U.S.
  • You have traveled to other countries in addition to Canada, Mexico, or an adjacent island. In this case, you must apply for a new J visa at a U.S. embassy/consulate before you can reenter the U.S.
  • You have the notation "212(d)(3)" on your U.S. visa. You must apply for a waiver of inadmissibility if you do not hold double or multiple entry, unexpired visas.

If you would like more information regarding any type of U.S. visa or have questions or concerns regarding your visa, do not hesitate to contact our experienced Los Angeles immigration and visa attorneys.  We offer a free initial consultation.  [LINK TO CONTACT JCS]

Can I travel to Canada or Mexico on my U.S. visa?

Citizens from certain countries who wish to visit Canada are required to obtain a visitor’s visa (tourist visa) from the Canadian Consulate General in Los Angeles. You should contact the Canadian Consulate to find out whether you must obtain a visa before you can enter Canada. See the Canadian Embassy’s website for information on Canada’s visa requirements.

Mexico requires all visitors to obtain a tourist card or visa at a Mexican Consulate before they can enter Mexico. See the Mexican Embassy’s website for information on tourist cards/visas.

 

Will USCIS and Customs and Border Patrol allow me to reenter the U.S with the same visa?   What will I need in addition to my J visa?

If the above automatic visa revalidation conditions are met, you should not need to apply for a new visa at a U.S. consulate if you show these items to the CBP officer at reentry to the U.S.:

  • Unexpired arrival and departure record printed from CBP's website
  • Eligible expired U.S. entry visa
  • Current the Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor (J-1) Status, validated for travel by FSIS
  • A passport valid for at least 6 months past the Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor (J-1) Status end date
  • Evidence of financial support that is valid for the duration of your stay in the U.S.

Can I submit a new U.S. visa application at a U.S. consulate in Mexico?

If you cannot meet the above requirements for automatic visa revalidation, be aware that U.S. consulates in Mexico have placed restrictions on visa application eligibility for Third Country Nationals (TCNs) (i.e. non-Mexican citizens) who are not residents of Mexico. For more information on these restrictions, see the website of the U.S. Embassy in Mexico.  If you need assistance with your visa application, contact our experienced Los Angeles immigration and visa attorneys for expert legal counsel.  [LINK TO CONTACT JCS]

What nationalities has USCIS deemed ineligible for automatic visa revalidation?

Automatic Visa Revalidation is not available to you if you are an Iranian, Syrian, Sudanese, or Cuban national.  You will need to follow the normal procedures for renewing your F-1 or J-1 visa.  Iraqi and Libyan nationals were recently removed from the ineligible list, but because automatic revalidation is at the discretion of the border official, it is more likely that you will face difficulties at the border.  If you need expert legal advice or immigration or visa representation, our experienced immigration and visa attorneys can help you today!  Contact JCS Immigration and Visa Services for your free initial consultation.  [LINK TO CONTACT JCS]

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