Automatic ReValidation H1B Canada Mexico

Written by Anil Gupta
  By Anil Gupta - Updated on  13 May, 19

Automatic ReValidation H1b visa Canada Mexico
Automatic ReValidation H1b visa Canada Mexico

Automatic revalidation H1B visa is an official process for people with expired visa stamp in their passport, to help re-enter USA without getting a new visa stamp.

This CBP rule is also known as contiguous territory rule.

Automatic Revalidation H1B Canada, Mexico to enter USA?

Non-immigrants including valid H1B visa holders and students in F status, who went outside U.S. for travel to Canada, Mexico, or an adjacent islands, except Cuba (for F and J non-immigrants) for 30 days or less are eligible for automatic re-validation.

You should NOT visit any countries other than Mexico or Canada in that period in this visit.
Travelers who are on a F visa or J visa status are allowed to visit adjacent islands to the U.S.(i.e., the Caribbean).

Related: i94 Correction after Passport expiry and renewal in US

Documents required for Automatic Revalidation

  1. Approved Visa/PetitionExample, if you are on H1B, then carry your approved original i797A notice of approval.
  2. Passport with expired visa stamp (foil)
  3. Un-expired i94
    You will have this new i94 attached to your i797A notice of approval after you got an approved extension for your visa type.Example: H1B, H4 or L visa holders get their new i94 after extension approval in i797A.

Process to apply for Automatic Visa Revalidation

You do not need to do anything special to use this facility or inform anyone before your intended travel on cruise or land or air.
Just walk in to the immigration desk as usual at the port of entry in USA, when you return and present your documents. The experience is same as you would enter US with a valid visa stamp.

Related: How to get FBI Police Clearance Certificate for Visa and Immigration

Is valid i94 required for revalidation at US port of entry

Yes, the i94 should have NOT expired. The visa stamp in your passport is okay to have expired.

Is the expired Visa in passport automatically renewed for future travel?

NO, Once you use the ‘Automatic Revalidation’ process, the old expired visa in considered valid only up-to that date and day.
It cannot be used for future re-entry from any other country.
Off-course, the same revalidation can be used again based on the conditions mentioned above.

No new visa is issued and the stamp in your passport still shows the same expiry date.

Entered US on H1B, changed status to H4

Automatic re-validation is also allowed in case you changed your status after entering the US territory on some other visa.
For example, if you entered US on H1B visa and later changed status to H4 within USA, you are still eligible to use visa revalidation at port of entry.

Once you use this service, the changed visa status is also revalidated.

Going for Visa Stamping to Canada or Mexico?

Automatic revalidation is NOT available if you are going to apply for new visa stamp in Canada or Mexico. You have to have the new visa stamp to re-enter USA in this case.

The rule is that there should be NO pending visa application at the time of re-entry to make use of ‘Automatic Revalidation’ process.

H1B worker with an expired visa visits US embassy in Canada or Mexico to get new H1B visa stamp.
If the new visa stamp is issued in your passport, you can re-enter USA using the new visa.
If, the visa stamp is denied or is pending with US embassy, you cannot use automatic visa revalidation rule.

Related: i140 H1B extension or transfer after 6 years

Any Country who’s citizen is not eligible for Visa Revalidation?

Yes, citizens of countries who is designated as a ‘State sponsor of terrorism‘ by US government are not eligible to visa re-validation.

Adjacent Islands eligible for Visa revalidation

The adjacent islands are:

  1. Saint Pierre
  2. Miquelon
  3. The Dominican Republic
  4. Haiti
  5. Bermuda
  6. The Bahamas
  7. Barbados
  8. Jamaica
  9. The Windward and Leeward Islands
  10. Trinidad
  11. Martinique
  12. Other British, French, and Netherlands territory or possessions in or bordering on the Caribbean Sea

   77 Useful Questions & Answers from comments

  1. Pranav Kulkarni
    Pranav Kulkarni 13 May, 19 at 11:13 am

    UPDATE : Did my landing thru the Thousand Islands Bridge(Landsdowne) on a Sunday morning .Took a rental car. Carried all the suggested documents, but I was not asked to show a single one. I was asked to write the address where they could mail PR card. *( not sure if I need to submit any application for it… kindly advise if any of you know about it )* . Then I was sent to the Customs window where I submitted Good accompanying and Goods to Follow lists. I was given a receipt and copy of GTF list as proof.
    I was told I will need PR confirmation letter to travel into Canada later ( Only if travelling by road, in my own car,not rental).
    Went to Kingston for lunch and sight seeing.
    Returned thru the same bridge by 6 PM and used AVR option (uneventful) .

    • Anil Gupta
      Anil Gupta 13 May, 19 at 4:25 pm

      Thanks for sharing your experience. We appreciate it.

  2. Mani
    Mani 10 May, 19 at 5:11 pm

    Hello Sir,

    My wife has Unexpired H4 stamp. She has a changes of status to h1 and has valid I797. I have read that for expired visa, the category of visa doesnt have to be same as that of I797 (H4 and later H1 in our case). Is this also applcable for unexpired visas? Logically it shd be but just trying to understand if there is any fine legal line in between.

    • Anil Gupta
      Anil Gupta 10 May, 19 at 5:29 pm

      As per my information, unexpired visa is not eligible as in your case.

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