Automatic Visa ReValidation (AVR – Within 30 days Canada, Mexico)

Automatic revalidation H1B Canada or Mexico cruise or land or air allowed with un-expired i94 for short travel of 30 days or less. H1B to H4 COS allowed.

Anil Gupta
  By Anil Gupta    Updated  24 Jun, 20


Update June 24, 2020: Kevin Pistone, the chief CBP officer in Vancouver pre-clearance at Canada border has confirmed with AILA that the AVR process is not affected by Trump’s H1B travel executive order ban.

The same was tweeted by Greg Siskind:

Even though it is not affected, we strongly advise to not use it as long as the travel ban is active.

What is AVR?

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

The short form is known as AVR process.

This CBP rule is also known as contiguous territory rule.

Who Can Use AVR?

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

You should NOT visit any countries other than Mexico or Canada in that period in this visit.

Travelers who are on an F visa or J visa status are allowed to visit adjacent islands to the U.S. i.e. the Caribbean but not H1B, H4, L, or other such visas.

Documents Required for AVR

#1 Approved Visa or Petition i797

For example, if you are on H1B, then carry your approved original i797A notice of approval.

Sample H1b Approval i797a form
Sample H1b Approval i797a form

#2 Passport with Expired Visa Stamp (foil)

You should carry your old or expired passport if the US visa stamp is pasted in an old passport.

#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.

H1B i797 with attached i94
H1B i797 with attached i94

Who is Not Eligible for AVR?

Automatic revalidation is not available if you are going for visa stamping in Canada or Mexico.

You have to have the new visa stamp to re-enter USA in this case.

There should be no pending visa application at the time of re-entry to make use of the ‘Automatic Revalidation’ process.

Example:

  • H1B worker with an expired visa visits the US embassy in Canada or Mexico to get a new H1B visa stamp.
  • If the new visa stamp is issued in your passport, you can re-enter the USA using the new visa.
  • If the visa stamp is denied or is pending for form 221g or DS 5535 processing with the US embassy, you cannot use the automatic visa revalidation rule.

FAQ

What is the process to Apply for Automatic Visa Revalidation?

There is no special 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 into the immigration desk as usual at the port of entry in the USA, when you return and present your documents. The experience is the same as you would enter the US with a valid visa stamp.

Is valid i94 required for using AVR at US port of entry?

A valid i94 is required for using AVR at the US port of entry.

The i94 should not have expired.

The expired visa stamp in your passport is fine.

Is expired Visa in passport automatically renewed for future travel after AVR?

Once you use the Automatic Visa 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 process can be used again if you are eligible.

Does CBP issue a new Visa with AVR process?

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

Can I use AVR if I changed status to H4 while H1B visa is stamped in passport?

Automatic revalidation is 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 AVR service, the changed visa status is also revalidated.

Can I use AVR to return to US if I get Form 221g in Canada or Mexico?

You cannot enter the USA using the AVR process if your visa application is pending with the US embassy in Canada or Mexico.

Is there any Country who’s citizen is not eligible for Visa Revalidation?

Citizens of countries who are designated as a ‘State sponsor of terrorism‘ by the US government are not eligible for visa revalidation.

Can H1B use AVR if I am going on Bahamas Cruise?

H1B visa holders cannot use AVR to enter the US if they are going to the Bahamas for the cruise.

H1B can only use AVR with Mexico or Canada travel.

Can I use AVR if I get Form 221g in Mexico?

You cannot use AVR to return to the US if you get form 221g or DS5535 admin processing in Mexico.

As per reports, some US Mexico border locations like Nogales, Laredo, etc have allowed some H1B people to return to use after getting form 221g admin processing.

As per our information, this is not allowed and it may pose future issues at the time of your green card processing even if the CBP officer allowed you.

Can I use AVR for i94 extension after Passport Renewal?

You cannot use AVR process for i94 extension after passport renewal.

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

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Author

Anil Gupta
  By Anil Gupta           

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