The automatic visa revalidation process allows some temporary visitors who have expired nonimmigrant visas to reenter the U.S. at a port-of-entry if they meet specific requirements. These individuals include the following:
- Nonimmigrants who were briefly traveling to Canada, Mexico, or an adjacent island for 30 days or less (F and J nonimmigrants)
- Nonimmigrants with a valid admission stamp or Form I-94 – Arrival/Departure Record, endorsed by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS)
The “adjacent islands” refer to nearby islands often visited for tourism or vacation purposes, such as The Dominican Republic, The Bahamas, Barbados, and Jamaica. However, there are some exceptions. For instance, you must have a valid visa to return from Cuba, and you may need a visa to enter Cuba. However, you do not need a valid visa to visit and return from Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, or the Northern Mariana Islands, which are U.S. territories, unless you plan to visit any other country while en route to one of these territories.
It is often nonimmigrant students who take advantage of the automatic revalidation process. In addition to a valid Form I-94, students also must have a valid Form I-20, Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status. Form I-20 confirms that an individual is legally enrolled in a course of study in the U.S.
In other situations, nonimmigrants with expired visas typically would have to reapply and obtain a reissued visa to be eligible to reenter the U.S. These nonimmigrants would need to reapply for a visa even if they had valid admission stamps or DHS-endorsed Forms I-94.
The immigration attorneys of Peek & Toland have the experience that you need when you are seeking any relief or benefit under federal immigration laws. We will determine the facts and evidence that are relevant to your case, evaluate your options, and help you decide the best course of action for your situation. We intend to place you in the best position possible to achieve your goals. Contact our Texas immigration attorneys at our office today and learn how we can assist you through this complicated situation.