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Visiting Canada, Mexico or Adjacent Islands

[The adjacent islands include: the Bahamas, Barbados, Bermuda, Hispaniola (Haiti and The Dominican Republic), Jamaica, Martinique, St. Pierre and Miquelon, Trinidad and Tobago, The Leeward Islands (Anguilla, Antigua, Guadeloupe, Nevis, St. Kitts and The British Virgin Islands), The Windward Islands (Dominica, Grenada, St. Lucia and St. Vincent) and other British, French or Dutch territories or possessions in or bordering on the Caribbean Sea.]

Automatic Visa Revalidation for Reentry to the U.S.
It is possible for nonimmigrants in F-1 or J-1 status, and their F-2 or J-2 dependents, to reenter the United States with an expired U.S. nonimmigrant visa stamp after a visit of not more than thirty (30) days ONLY when traveling to Canada, Mexico, or the adjacent islands (except Cuba).

Note: It is not recommended that Automatic Visa Revalidation be used to apply for readmission to the United States from your home country. For example, a nonimmigrant from Mexico traveling to Mexico for less than 30 days with an expired F-1 or J-1 visa should apply for a new visa while they are in their home country. They may encounter difficulty if they attempt to reenter the U.S. with an expired F-1 or J-1 visa, even if they have retained their original Form I-94 Departure Record.

Requirements
You are eligible for Automatic Visa Revalidation only if (see "Ineligible Nationalities" below):

  1. You are in possession of the following documents at the time you reenter the U.S.:

    • Your most recent Form I-94 marked D/S for "duration of status."  You must retain your Form I-94 when departing the U.S., as it is the basis for your reentry.

    • The expired visa stamp, OR an USCIS approval notice (Form I-797) if you possess an I-94 card from a change of status.

    • A valid I-20 or DS-2019 (formerly IAP-66) which has been endorsed for travel by the International Students and Scholars Office (ISSO).

    • A valid passport

  2. You have only been to the countries or territories listed above for a period of no more than 30 days.

  3. You have maintained your F or J status, and intend to resume the same status when you return to the U.S.

  4. You have not applied for a new visa while abroad (see next paragraph).

If You Apply for a Visa While Abroad
Automatic Visa Revalidation is not available to citizens of any country who apply for a U.S. visa while abroad.  If you intend to apply for a U.S. visa while in one of the countries listed above, you should decide carefully, as you will not be able to return to the U.S. until your visa is approved.  This caution is particularly important for nationalities that may be subject to an extensive security check.  If your visa is denied, you must return to your home country and reapply at a U.S. consulate there.

Ineligible Nationalities
Automatic visa revalidation is not available to nationals of Iran, Syria, Sudan and Cuba.  If you are a citizen of one of these countries and your F-1 or J-1 visa is no longer valid, you will need to follow the procedures for renewing your F-1 visa or renewing your J-1 visaClick here for an updated list of ineligible countries ("state sponsors of terror").

Important note:  Iraq and Libya were recently removed from the list. However, we strongly caution citizens of these countries that they may still encounter difficulties -- even refusal -- if they attempt to take advantage of Automatic Revalidation.  This is because individual border officials may not be aware that these countries have been removed from the list and because granting permission to enter the U.S. under Automatic Revalidation is at the discretion of the border officials.  Please consult with your ISSO advisor for further guidance.

Additional Information
For complete texts of the regulations regarding visa revalidation, see the following sections of the Code of Federal Regulations: 22 CFR Section 41.112 (d), and 8 CFR Section 214.1 (b).  These can be viewed on the World Wide Web at http://www.gpoaccess.gov/ecfr/.

 

ISSO
Boston University
February 28, 2005

Boston University International Students & Scholars Office