An H-1B visa holder intended to take a cruise trip to Mexico with his family. His only concern is that the H-1B visa is expired even though his I-94 is still valid. Can he take the trip and return to the United States without a valid visa? The answer is that he may be able to re-enter the United States under the automatic revalidation provision of immigration law.
What Is Automatic Revalidation?
Under the automatic revalidation provision of immigration law, certain temporary visitors holding expired nonimmigrant visas who seek to return to the U.S. may be admitted at a U.S. port of entry by CBP, if they meet certain requirements, including, but not limited to the following:
- Nonimmigrants who departed the U.S. for brief travel to Canada, Mexico, or an adjacent island (for F and J nonimmigrants) for thirty days or less;
- Nonimmigrants with a valid (unexpired) Form I-94, Arrival-Departure Record, endorsed by DHS.
More Information about Automatic Revalidation
Who Must Reapply for and Be Reissued a Visa at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate?
Many nonimmigrants will need to reapply and be reissued visas to reenter the U.S. when their existing visas have expired, even if they are in possession of valid I-94 forms, because automatic revalidation applies to limited categories of travelers. Refer to the Automatic Revalidation Fact Sheet on the CBP website.
The following temporary visitors whose nonimmigrant visas have expired, but who have valid I-94 forms, must reapply for and be issued nonimmigrant visas prior to their reentry to the U.S., 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 Form I-94):
- Applied for a new visa which has not yet been issued;
- Applied for a new visa and was denied;
- Has been outside of the United States for more than thirty days;
- Has traveled to a country other than Canada, Mexico, or an adjacent island which is not included in the automatic revalidation provisions;
- Is a national of a State Sponsor of Terrorism designated country, including Cuba, Iran, Syria, and Sudan. Review more about State Sponsors of Terrorism on this website;
- Is in possession of an F student visa or J exchange visitor visa and has traveled to Cuba;
- Is in possession of an M student visa and has traveled to a location outside the U.S., other than Canada and Mexico.
Additional Resources – Laws
The automatic revalidation provision of U.S. immigration law is described in both 8 CFR 214.1(b) and 22 CFR 112(d).