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If a person travels to Canada, Mexico, or the US adjacent islands with the exception of Cuba for less than 30 days, they can re-enter the US even if their visa has expired. Many people think that once their visa expires, they must immediately apply for a new one or they will have to leave the US. But if you qualify and fulfill some requirements, you might be eligible for automatic visa revalidation.

To get automatic visa revalidation, you must to have a valid Form I-94, Arrival/Departure Record, which is endorsed by DHS. The Automatic Visa Revalidation is also known as the Contiguous Territory Rule.

Below is the list of US adjacent islands and territories that are eligible for automatic visa revalidation:









British Virgin Islands

Cayman Islands



Dominican Republic











Saint Christopher

Saint Eustatius

Saint Kitts-Nevis

Saint Lucia

Saint Maarten

Saint Martin

Saint Pierre

Saint Vincent




Turks and Caicos Islands

Other British, French, and Dutch territories or possessions bordering the Caribbean Sea

The visa is revalidated for the same period of time that it was valid the first time. Through automatic revalidation, you will get the same visa you had before. So if your visa was valid for only 2 years, your revalidation is valid for an additional 2 years.You cannot request to have a new visa or change status through this process. You must abide by the same visa rules you had before.

Requirements for applying Automatic visa revalidation

  • You must have a US nonimmigrant visa which has expired.
  • You must have travelled to Canada, Mexico, or any of the US adjacent islands.
  • Your travel must not be for more than 30 days.
  • You must have a valid admission stamp on your Form I-94.
  • You must have an authorization for your current status such as a Form I-129 for non-immigrant workers or Form I-20 for F-1 visa students.
  • You must not have a pending or rejected new visa application.
  • You must not be from a country which is a state sponsor of terrorism. These countries are:
    • Iran.
    • Syria.
    • Sudan.
    • Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea).

Automatic Visa Revalidation Ineligibilities

You are not eligible for an automatic visa revalidation if you are in the following situations:

  • You have an expired Form I-94;
  • You have applied for a new visa and it has not been issued yet;
  • You have applied for a new visa which was denied;
  • You were not in the US for more than 30 days;
  • You travelled to a different country than Canada, Mexico, or an adjacent island;
  • You are from a terrorism designated country;
  • You have an F-1 or J-1 visa student visa and travelled to Cuba;
  • You have an M-1 visa and travelled to another country except for Canada and Mexico.

Do Visa Waiver Program Citizens Qualify for Automatic Visa Revalidation?

If you are in the US because you qualify for the Visa Waiver Program (VWP), then you do not need go through the automatic visa revalidation process. You may not automatically extend the validity of your VWP, but if you travel out of the US and re-enter, it will be counted towards the time you are allowed to stay with a VWP.

Automatic Revalidation does not apply to:

  • Students traveling from a contiguous territory (e.g. Canada) to a noncontiguous territory (e.g. India) with the intention of returning to the United States via a contiguous territory (Canada).
  • Citizens of Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan and Syria.
  • Students whose visa has been cancelled.
  • Students who have applied for a visa renewal in a contiguous territory and are awaiting a decision (visa has not been issued). Certain individuals will be subject to a security clearance and should expect delays of 20 business days or longer. If the visa application is denied, students cannot re-enter the United States until they obtain a new visa from the U.S. consulate or embassy in their home country.