Automatic ReValidation H1B Canada Mexico

Anil Gupta  11 Jan, 19      9  USA

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/Petition

    Example, 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.
Automatic ReValidation H1b visa Canada Mexico
Automatic ReValidation H1b visa Canada Mexico

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 upto 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 revalidation is also allwed 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.

Example:
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