J-1 Scholars and their J-2 dependents whose visas have expired and who plan to travel to Canada, Mexico or the adjacent Caribbean islands for 30 days or less may re-enter the U.S. as though their visa were still valid. This applies also to J-1 scholars who changed their status in the U.S. and whose visa is in the category in which they entered the US.
Individuals in H-status are also eligible for Automatic Visa Revalidation when traveling to Canada or Mexico for less than 30 days. When in H-status, traveling to any of the Caribbean islands under the automatic visa revalidation process is not an option.
- When using the Automatic Visa Revalidation process to re-enter the US, you should carry all relevant travel documents you would normally be required to bring, with the exception of a valid visa sticker in your passport. This visa sticker in your passport may have expired. This applies also to J-1 scholars, H-1B employees and dependents who changed status in the U.S. and whose visas are in the category in which they entered the U. S.
- If you entered the U. S. prior to April 30, 2013, you will have a paper I-94 card in your possession. To re-enter the U S. on the basis of the Automatic Visa Revalidation, you must hold on to your paper I-94 card when you leave the U. S.; this original I-94 card is needed to re-enter the U.S.
- If you entered the U. S. after April 30, 2013, you will have an electronic I-94 record. When departing, you will not need to surrender an I-94 card, as it will be in the electronic system. Upon re-entry into the U.S., a Customs and Border Patrol officer will electronically verify and re-validate your I-94 record. There may be cases when you will need to demonstrate your eligibility for automatic revalidation. It is strongly suggested that you print out a copy of your electronic I-94 record from www.cbp.gov/i94 prior to boarding the air or sea carrier.
- Individuals who apply for, but are denied, a J or H visa during a visit to Canada, Mexico or the Caribbean islands (the latter not for H-1B) are not eligible to participate the in the Automatic Visa Revalidation program. Individuals who visited other countries, but are returning to the U.S. via Canada, Mexico or the Caribbean islands (the latter not for H-1B) are also not eligible for the automatic visa revalidation process.
- Please note that this option is not available to citizens of Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan and Syria.