Special Rules for Travel to Mexico, Canada, and/or Contiguous Territory--“Automatic Visa Revalidation
The Department of State (DOS) regulations have a special provision called "automatic revalidation." The "automatic revalidation" rules apply to almost
all visa classes from "A" through "V”. This document refers only to F, J, H, and O visa classes, since they are the most common on university campuses.
Automatic revalidation permits:
Persons with F, J, H and O status in the U.S. to enter "contiguous territory" (Canada and Mexico) and return to the U.S. without a
currently valid visa stamp in the passport.
Persons with F and J status in the U.S. to enter "adjacent islands" (islands in the Caribbean except Cuba) and return to the U.S. without
a currently valid visa stamp in the passport.
Note that travel to adjacent islands applies only to those currently in F or J status. It does not apply to those currently in H or O
Automatic revalidation applies in two ways:
If you have a visa stamp in your passport that matches your current status, but it has expired, that visa stamp is considered to be ”automatically revalidated” to a current date for
your return to the U.S., even though it has expired.
- If you have changed status while in the U.S., and you have a visa stamp that matches your old status (either expired or un-expired),
that visa stamp is considered to be automatically changed to a stamp matching the new status and revalidated to a current date for your return to the U.S., even though it is not the
same as your current status and may have expired.
Please note: There are some risks involved in using the “automatic revalidation” provision.
Rules and Criteria for Automatic revalidation
Frequently asked questions regarding "automatic revalidation" of visas