Automatic Visa ReValidation (AVR) H1B 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.

Written by Anil Gupta
  By Anil Gupta          Updated  18 Feb, 20


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 but not H1B, H4, L or other such visas.

Documents Required for AVR

#1 Approved Visa or Petition i797

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 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
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 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.

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

A valid i94 is required for using AVR at 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 AVR process.

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

Automatic re-validation 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 USA using AVR process if your visa application is pending with 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 US government are not eligible to visa re-validation.

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

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

Going for Visa Stamping to Canada or Mexico?

Automatic revalidation is NOT available if you are going to visa stamping 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.

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


   124 Useful Questions & Answers from comments

  1. Shan
    Shan 6 May, 19 at 6:59 pm

    Hello Anil,
    My wife has expired H4 stamp from India 2011. She changed status to H1 since 2014. Has approved i797 till Sep. 2019. Never got her H1b stamped. We are planning a cruise from Vancouver to Alaska. Can she enter back in Alaska through Visa revalidation process?

    • Anil Gupta
      Anil Gupta 6 May, 19 at 8:11 pm

      Please read the article and the conditions for AVR process.

      • Shan
        Shan 6 May, 19 at 9:04 pm

        Thank you for your response and helping everyone.
        Per the article above she should be eligible until Sep. 2019 with same approved 797. And should not have renewal in progress. You were quite clear in your responses earlier so i thought I will get some more insight. Please let me know if I am missing anything. Apologize for seeking more support here. Again, I really appreciate all your efforts.

        • Anil Gupta
          Anil Gupta 7 May, 19 at 5:26 am

          No problem. It is difficult to respond to each and every situation individually.

          I hope you understand.

  2. Pranav Kulkarni
    Pranav Kulkarni 25 Apr, 19 at 10:11 am

    Hello everyone,

    What is the best way to take advantage of AVR while re-entering USA, flight or by road ?
    Which one is less risky ? Should we take a flight back into US or drive back ?

    Kindly share ur experiences/ opinions .

    Thank you

    • Anil Gupta
      Anil Gupta 25 Apr, 19 at 10:31 am

      Both are same as per my information.

  3. Nihal
    Nihal 22 Apr, 19 at 6:28 pm

    I entered US on F1 in 2007 and changed to H1B in 2010. Since then i am on H1B. Never went for H1B stamping. So i have valid I797 and I94 and expired F1 Visa(on passport)

    If I visit Canada, do I need H1b stamped or I can use AVR?

    • Anil Gupta
      Anil Gupta 22 Apr, 19 at 10:19 pm

      I think you are eligible for AVR process.

  4. Nik Amin
    Nik Amin 19 Apr, 19 at 7:23 am

    Hi there,

    I have a really quick question on AVR, and I appreciate your response on this.

    I’ve been in the US for awhile now, many H1b stamps, however I haven’t been out
    of the country for 4 to 5 years now and my old H1b stamp expired on Jan 2018, I
    joined another firm on Feb 15 2018, and have a approved i797 through
    2021 w/ that firm.

    Basically, I’d like to go with my family to Vancouver from CA and back
    for about a week in May, using my new i797, and the attached valid i94 card, and
    expired visa stamp, the only thing that I have a little dilemma is the
    employer name on that stamp, which was the previous employer, I don’t have a
    stamp with the new employers name since I never left since.

    1. Should that be ok to travel back to the US?, my wife and son are all set
    on their own.
    2. We plan to drive. Is there something I should remember to
    mention at the border on the way out on AVR?
    3. Get a departure stamp? Or
    anything I need to mention on the way in?



    • Anil Gupta
      Anil Gupta 19 Apr, 19 at 11:37 am

      You can use your H1B I797 and use AVR process. There is nothing extra required to be done. Just travel normally and show your documents while coming back to US.

      • Nik Amin
        Nik Amin 19 Apr, 19 at 12:45 pm

        Thanks Anil.

  5. Pratik Gada
    Pratik Gada 16 Apr, 19 at 10:18 pm

    My H1B stamped visa is expired many years ago and after that I got multiple extension on it and have valid current I797/i-94. I am planning to visit Mexico for 7days so
    – am i still eligible to enter Mexico without it’s tourist visa (since my stamped US visa is expired)?
    – will i face any issue to activate visa revalidation during entering back to US?

    • Anil Gupta
      Anil Gupta 17 Apr, 19 at 7:41 am

      You should be able to use Automatic visa re-validation to enter USA.
      I am not sure about Mexico visa’s requirement.

  6. Pankaj Kothare
    Pankaj Kothare 11 Apr, 19 at 11:34 am


    Can a F1 student on stem-opt with approved I-140 (EB1a self-petitioned) enter USA, with expired visa stamp but valid I-20 using the Automatic Revalidation Rule (AVR) for a visit less then 30 days to Mexico or Canada?

    • Anil Gupta
      Anil Gupta 11 Apr, 19 at 12:29 pm

      You should be able to if you have an un-expired i94.

      • Pankaj Kothare
        Pankaj Kothare 11 Apr, 19 at 12:29 pm

        Hi Anil,

        Her I-94 is expired on the DHS website but she has valid I-20 until Jan 2021 so I think her I-94 is valid until Jan 2021 until the time of her OPT expiration. Can she travel?

        • Anil Gupta
          Anil Gupta 11 Apr, 19 at 12:30 pm

          You think or you know i94 has expired? Be specific with your question.

          I cannot just speculate based on what you ‘think’. If i say you something, tomorrow you are going to come back and say that i mis-guided when you are not disclosing full information.

          • Pankaj Kothare
            Pankaj Kothare 11 Apr, 19 at 12:30 pm

            Let me clarify and sorry for the confusion. Her I-94 is valid until Jan 2021 until her stem-opt expiration.

  7. milan
    milan 8 Apr, 19 at 10:14 am

    I have H1B expired Visa with my previous employer. I moved to new employer and got H1B extension with new I94 uptil 2022.
    Also I got AP with my i485.

    1) If I visit Canada, do I need Canada Visa if I have EAD?
    2) What should I use if I come back to US? Which option would be better (H1B revalidation or AP)?
    3) Is there any issue wtih my existing expired visa with old employer and H1B extension approved with new employer?

    • Anil Gupta
      Anil Gupta 8 Apr, 19 at 11:45 am

      You do need Canada Visa as its a different country than USA. Canada has their own visa rules.

      My suggestion is to maintain H1B until you finally get i485 approved.

      I would strongly suggest to use H1B to re-enter USA.

      No issues with expired old employer visa. You can use the AVR process.

      • milan
        milan 8 Apr, 19 at 10:12 pm

        hi Anil,
        This question is related to same topic.
        Lets say I am going to India. I dont want to get the visa stamping for my H1B as I have AP. I will use AP to come inside USA.
        Then I will be in parole status. Please note still i have valid H1B uptil 2022 with same employer.

        1) If I do H1B transfer to another employee, will I be back H1B status again?
        2) If I use AVR process in canada, will I be back H1B status again?

        • Anil Gupta
          Anil Gupta 9 Apr, 19 at 5:55 am

          Please read the linked article in my earlier answer. It has answer to your new questions.

  8. Prabeesh Raman
    Prabeesh Raman 2 Apr, 19 at 7:36 am

    Hi I recently moved from my employer to new employer, H1B Transfer is pending with USCIS. I have valid visa stamped in my passport and my wife passport which is expiring in August 2019.
    Since the H1B transfer is in progress and i only have the receipt of it. Can i still travel to Canada and come back through AVR?
    Does visa stamped from different employer and pending H1B Transfer ok for AVR process?

    Or should i wait until the H1B transfer is completed and only then AVR process will be valid?

    • Anil Gupta
      Anil Gupta 2 Apr, 19 at 9:37 am

      AVR process comes into picture only when your stamped visa has expired. You said your visa is still valid.

      Not sure if you want to travel to Canada for tourism or for any specific visa stamping purpose? If you want to travel for tourism, i suggest to wait for transfer approval.

      • Prabeesh Raman
        Prabeesh Raman 2 Apr, 19 at 9:58 am

        I am going to get my PR activated . Yes my Visa(with previous employer name) is valid until August 2019 for me n wife. But currently H1B transfer to new employer in progress. So it shouldn’t be a problem in using the AVR in this case right?

        • Anil Gupta
          Anil Gupta 2 Apr, 19 at 12:09 pm

          As i already said that AVR is not even applicable in your case as your visa is still valid.

          Visa stamp from any Employer can be used to enter US as long as its valid.

          • Prabeesh Raman
            Prabeesh Raman 2 Apr, 19 at 12:30 pm

            Awesome thank you

  9. Abhijit
    Abhijit 26 Mar, 19 at 12:41 pm

    Hello Anil, i have queried regarding H4 Stamping in Canada as we need to activate PR, in your other blog. I came to know about AVR process in this blog. Same situation – H1 B I797 approved and H1 B Stamp available on my Passport, But my dependents(wife, 1Kid) have expired visa. 2nd kid is USA Citizen. I have a Location amendment RFE in progress. Instead of going of H4 stamping, is it possible with above VISA stamp and RFE situation, we can go for 3-4 days to Canada, activate the PR and come back to USA without H4 dependent having visa stamps, using AVR process, or my RFE will impact my entry to USA.

    • Abhijit
      Abhijit 26 Mar, 19 at 12:51 pm

      to add to above question – my dependents have I94 in the I797 approval bottom, it is not updated on USCIS/CBP website as they have not traveled.

      • Anil Gupta
        Anil Gupta 26 Mar, 19 at 1:03 pm

        If your dependent has all the documents as mentioned above for AVR, you can come back to US without H4 visa stamp.

  10. Priya
    Priya 25 Mar, 19 at 7:37 am

    We are US residents, and we are on L1/L2 visa. Spouse’s company has applied for Change of status to H1/H4 visa for us.

    Once the transfer process is completed on file, can we travel to Canada and avail AVR rule to travel back to US? Our L1 expires end of month, and we have never had H1 stamping done before.

    If we were to try to go for visa stamping in Canada would that work given we are Indian citizen and have never had H1/H4 visa stamping?

    Thank you for your help!

    • Anil Gupta
      Anil Gupta 25 Mar, 19 at 10:24 am

      Not sure why do you want to use AVR rule when you have filed your application as H1B change of status?
      You do not need H1B stamping if your ‘change of status’ is approved by USCIS unless you have a specific need to travel outside USA.

      Any specific reason?

  11. divya
    divya 21 Mar, 19 at 2:43 am

    Come someone please help me out?
    I94 expired on AUG 2017,Moved to another employer filed new petition on Apr 2018(end of 240 day period) and continued working with the same client.
    first H1B is denied on OCT 2018 while my second petition is still under process.Based on my Attorneys advice,We withdrawn the second H1 on Feb 25 2019 after recieving couple of RFE’s on this bridge case.
    I left the country on Mar 7th 2019 to re apply New H1 after 365 days cool off period in 2020 April.
    As per USCIS,My “Unlawful presence” begins on the day of first H1B transfer denial in this case ”
    based on the above statement i had stayed 120 days counting from OCT 31 2018 to Mar 7 2019 which is less than 180 days stay.
    My concern is,Even though the first petition is denied my second H1b is still under process with USCIS. Am i still illegal to stay?Is it going to effect my Future H1? Please answer.


    • Anil Gupta
      Anil Gupta 21 Mar, 19 at 7:34 pm

      Your question about H1B transfer and unlawful presence is out of scope of this article. I have added it to forum and answered there.

      You can ask follow up question on forum itself.

  12. Raju
    Raju 20 Mar, 19 at 7:56 pm

    Hi Anil,
    Need few clarification
    1, I resigned the Company A on May 7 and joined with Company B on May 9 but the transfer denied on Aug 31 and Company A send the correspondence to USCIS on May 29
    2, Company A petition & Valid stamped VISA is expiring on Sep 21 and I-94 expire on Oct 1.
    3, H1B transfer initiated by Company C on Sep 26 with the receipt notice I started the work , Current petition receive RFE Jan 19
    4, if Apply new petition with Company D with consular processing
    how it will work and should appear stamping to the near by country.

    • Anil Gupta
      Anil Gupta 20 Mar, 19 at 8:36 pm

      Your question about H1B transfer and denials is out of scope of this article. I have added it to forum and answered there.

      You can ask follow up question on forum itself.

  13. Prash Pon
    Prash Pon 8 Mar, 19 at 10:32 am

    Hi Anil,

    I entered the US on an F-1 student visa. I now have an approved I-797A. My F-1 visa has expired and I also haven’t left the country after receiving my I-797A and therefore do not have a H1-B stamp on my passport. Can I travel to Canada using this process?

    • Anil Gupta
      Anil Gupta 8 Mar, 19 at 11:24 am

      You should be able to travel to Canada and come back within 30 days using Visa Re-validation process if your H1B i-94 and i797 are valid.

  14. Joay
    Joay 6 Mar, 19 at 10:04 pm

    Hi Anil,

    My H-1B got expired in Sept 2017 and I have a valid I-94 and I-797 valid until Nov 2019. We have a family function in Toronto. my question is Can i travel to Canada for 2 weeks and come back with out H-1B stamp.

    • Anil Gupta
      Anil Gupta 6 Mar, 19 at 10:50 pm

      Do you have any previous H1B visa stamp in your passport at all?

      • Joay
        Joay 6 Mar, 19 at 10:50 pm

        Yes, I have H-1B visa stamp and which is expired in Sept 2017. Now I have only valid and approved I-797 and I-94 which is valid until Nov 2019.

        • Anil Gupta
          Anil Gupta 6 Mar, 19 at 10:58 pm

          In that case, yes, you can enter USA using visa revalidation process from Canada.

          • Joay
            Joay 6 Mar, 19 at 10:58 pm

            So I dont have to go for the H-1B stamping and I will get the new i-94 stamped entry date on my passport?

            • Anil Gupta
              Anil Gupta 6 Mar, 19 at 11:06 pm

              You will not need a new H1B stamp.
              You will also not get a new i94.

              You can simply enter US using your i797 and existing valid i94.

              • Joay
                Joay 6 Mar, 19 at 11:06 pm

                Thank you so much Anil for the answer of my questions.

  15. Ramprrasad
    Ramprrasad 27 Feb, 19 at 8:47 pm

    Hi, My wife’s has valid visa until Jan 2021, but her i94 is getting expired next week because of the passport expiry. Now that she has a new passport, we want to change the I94 date. Is it possible to do Automatic Revalidation without having canada visa? I don’t have time to apply and get canada visa now.Pls advice

  16. Sachin Jain
    Sachin Jain 25 Feb, 19 at 10:18 pm

    Hi, I entered US on B1B2 visa in 2013 and changed the status to F1. Currently I have L2 visa with a valid I 797 and I 94. I have not visited any country since I entered USA. Can I visit Mexico or canada under automatic revalidation programme ?


    • Anil Gupta
      Anil Gupta 25 Feb, 19 at 10:27 pm

      You said you have L2 visa? Is it a stamped L2 visa in your passport or you are talking about L2 petition i797 approval?
      Visa and petition are two different things.

      • Sachin Jain
        Sachin Jain 25 Feb, 19 at 10:59 pm

        I have L2 petition approval not the visa. Can I travel ?

        • Anil Gupta
          Anil Gupta 26 Feb, 19 at 8:51 am

          Has your B1/B2 visa stamp expired or is still valid?

          • Sachin Jain
            Sachin Jain 26 Feb, 19 at 9:09 am

            I entered US on April 18th 2013 and my B1/B2 visa stamp expired on October 17th 2013. I have never travelled outside of USA. But my B1/B2 visa is valid till 2021. Please advise.

            • Anil Gupta
              Anil Gupta 26 Feb, 19 at 9:53 am

              You are giving conflicting statements.
              How can your B1/B2 Visa Stamp expire if it is valid till 2021?

              Visa stamp is same as Visa that’s pasted in your passport.

              If you are talking about the rubber stamp that immigration officer stamps on your passport, then it is called i94 and not visa stamp.

              You will not be eligible for visa re validation if your visa stamp is still valid.

  17. Logesh Radhakrishnan
    Logesh Radhakrishnan 16 Feb, 19 at 10:00 pm

    Hi Anil,

    My wife has an expired H1b Visa, but her I797 petition is approved. She is applying for L1A Blanket and trying to get her visa stamped in Canada. If her L1A blanket is denied, Could she travel back to US on Automatic Visa Revalidation(based on her expired H1B visa and approved petition)?

    • Anil Gupta
      Anil Gupta 17 Feb, 19 at 10:19 am

      She can use the approved but expired H1B visa stamp and approved H1B i797A petition (with valid and non-expired i94 attached to it) to enter USA from Canada if her L1A blanket visa stamp is denied.

      • Logesh Radhakrishnan
        Logesh Radhakrishnan 18 Feb, 19 at 12:42 pm

        Thanks for the reply Anil. In the official website, it has been mentioned as below.

        “The following temporary visitors whose nonimmigrant visas have expired, but who have a valid admission stamp or paper Form I-94, must reapply for and be issued nonimmigrant visas prior to their reentry to the United States, if one or more of the following situations exists (this is not a complete listing):

        The nonimmigrant traveler with an expired nonimmigrant visa (but valid admission stamp or paper Form I-94):

        Applied for a new visa which has not yet been issued;
        Applied for a new visa and was denied;”

        Would not L1A denial come under point 2 and we have to re-apply for H1B visa before re-entering. I am just struggling to decipher what they mean.

        • Anil Gupta
          Anil Gupta 18 Feb, 19 at 4:10 pm

          That applies to same visa type that you are trying to enter US with.
          In your case, she cannot use her L1A to enter as it has been denied.
          Also, if she was on L1A in USA and then went to Canada for L1A stamping, she can’t use her L1A after denial.

  18. saritha kontham
    saritha kontham 13 Feb, 19 at 3:49 pm


    I came to United States in 2009 on F1 visa and got my H1B in 2015. I visited India in 2011 when i was on my F1 and have never visited India since then. I Recently got my H1B extension as well but do not have H1B stamped on my passport. Am planning to visit Alaska by Cruise which departs from Seattle and comes back to Seattle with one of the stops in Vancouver Canada, will i be eligible for Automatic revalidation with my approved I-797 and valid I-94.

    Please suggest


    • Anil Gupta
      Anil Gupta 13 Feb, 19 at 4:46 pm

      I think you can use Automatic visa validation to enter US.

      • saritha
        saritha 13 Feb, 19 at 5:51 pm

        No, my passport only have expired F1 visa, i never went back to India for H1 B stamping, I have approved I-797 valid until Dec 2020

        • Anil Gupta
          Anil Gupta 13 Feb, 19 at 6:01 pm

          Yes, i think you can still use automatic validation.
          You can confirm with an attorney if you want.

          • saritha
            saritha 13 Feb, 19 at 6:20 pm

            I actually spoke with the US Customs Border Protection officer Seattle and he said i can travel with an expired H1 Visa and i should be coming back to US with no issues, i wanted to check different forums as well to make sure

            • Anil Gupta
              Anil Gupta 13 Feb, 19 at 6:20 pm

              As i said, as per my knowledge, you can use automatic revalidation.

              • Saritha
                Saritha 13 Feb, 19 at 6:30 pm

                Thank you for your quick response

  19. Nisarg Shah
    Nisarg Shah 6 Dec, 18 at 2:08 pm

    My wife’s old H1B visa stamp has expired, but she has an approved extension. Can we take a cruise to Bahamas?

    • Anil Gupta
      Anil Gupta 6 Dec, 18 at 2:10 pm

      Yes, you should be eligible for visa re-validation with an approved i797.

      • Nisarg Shah
        Nisarg Shah 6 Dec, 18 at 11:34 pm

        Thanks for your prompt response! Do you know if we need visa for Bahamas?

        • Anil Gupta
          Anil Gupta 7 Dec, 18 at 7:48 am

          I think you do need visa for Bahamas being an India passport holder.
          You do get some benefit if you have calid US visa though.
          Check here:

  20. Leonard Arambam
    Leonard Arambam 12 Oct, 18 at 2:41 pm

    I want to go on a cruise to the eastern Caribbean islands next year. H1B is approved but not stamped on my passport – do I qualify for automatic revalidation?

    • Anil Gupta
      Anil Gupta 12 Oct, 18 at 4:09 pm

      No, H1B visa is not eligible for automatic re validation and travel to Caribbean islands. Only F and J visa holders are allowed to Caribbean for this scheme.

      • Maritza Scarborough
        Maritza Scarborough 9 Dec, 18 at 10:40 am

        Hello, Mr. Gupta. My situation is similar: I have H-1B approval with Dallas ISD, but I do not have an H-1B visa stamped in my passport. I am from St. Kitts & Nevis and I had to go to the U.S. Embassy in Barbados to get my initial F-1 student visa, which has been expired since 2015. I am currently living in the U.S. and I have been wanting to visit my island for the past 3 years, but I was afraid to take the risk of leaving and possibly being denied reentry. I really need to go home this month (my father is sick) and I was wondering: would I absolutely have to fly to the U.S. Embassy in Barbados to get an H-1B visa stamp in my passport, or would I be able to go to an embassy in Canada or Mexico? Also, do you have any idea how long the process may take regarding the required time in advance to book the embassy visa appointment and how long it may take to receive the actual stamp in my passport? (I think the passport stamp took a day last time.) I don’t quite understand the rationale for people currently living in the U.S. being required to leave without any guarantee of approval and reentry.

        • Anil Gupta
          Anil Gupta 9 Dec, 18 at 11:31 am

          I think since this will be your first H1B stamp after previous F1, you will be required to visit your home country (Barbados) US embassy.
          Canada and Mexico US embassy are also an option but the first time stamping there is usually high risk.

          Passport stamping takes 2-3 days if everything goes fine.
          Time to book appointment varies by each US embassy daily. You have to check specific embassy for details.

          • Maritza Scarborough
            Maritza Scarborough 9 Dec, 18 at 11:45 am

            Wow, that was a quick response… and straight to the point! Thank you SO MUCH, Mr. Gupta! I really appreciate you taking the time. ☺️