Schedule An Appointment


Automatic Revalidation

Home/Blog/Non-Immigrant Visas/Automatic Revalidation

Automatic Revalidation

Under Automatic Revalidation, certain individuals holding expired non-immigrant visas who seek to return to the United States may be admitted at a U.S. port-of-entry. The time spent outside of the United States must not exceed 30 days and must be spent in the countries specified by the regulations. Holders of H, O, E, F, and J status may enter Canada or Mexico and return to the United States without currently valid stamps in their passports. Holders of F and J status may also enter adjacent islands, or islands in the Caribbean, and return to the United States without currently valid visa stamps.

Which Locations are Considered Adjacent Islands?

The regulations at 8 CFR 286.1(a) define ‘adjacent islands’ as those including but not limited to: Aruba, Bahamas, Barbuda, Bermuda, Bonaire, British Virgin Islands, Dominican Republic, Saint Maarten, Turks and Caicos, etc. However, individuals may not travel to Cuba and later re-enter the United States using Automatic Revalidation.

Eligibility for Automatic Revalidation

Automatic Revalidation may apply in cases where an individual has an expired visa stamp in his or her passport that matches the current, valid non-immigrant status. It may also in situations where the individual has changed status in the United States and therefore has a passport stamp matching the old status, either expired or valid.

In order to use Automatic Revalidation, an individual must present a valid, unexpired visa document, such as an I-20, DS-2019, I-797 approval notice, etc. The individual’s passport must also be valid and unexpired. The individual must have maintained proper non-immigrant status while in the United States.

An individual seeking to use Automatic Revalidation must not apply for a visa while in Canada, Mexico, or the Caribbean. In that way, Automatic Revalidation cannot be used as a fallback to return to the United States after an individual fails to obtain a visa stamp at the consulate. If an individual plans to apply for a visa while in Canada or Mexico, s/he must stay in that country until the approval is issued or return to his/her home country to apply for a visa stamp.

Individuals seeking to use Automatic Revalidation must not be citizens of countries that the Department of State has determined are Sponsors of Terrorism. As of 2016, North Korea, Iran, Sudan, and Syria are on the list. While Cuba has been removed from the list, the regulations have not yet been amended to permit travel to Cuba.

Automatic Revalidation is a rule applicable to the United States. It does not provide permission to enter Canada, Mexico, or the Caribbean. Individuals must check the laws of the countries they seek to visit to determine if a visa stamp from that country is required prior to entry.

For case-specific guidance regarding the use of Automatic Revalidation, please contact Stone Oak Immigration PLLC.