According to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), “they have the authority and the responsibility over the admission of travelers to the U.S. 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:
- Non-immigrants who departed the U.S. for brief travel to Canada, Mexico, or an adjacent island (for F and J non-immigrants), other than Cuba for thirty days or less;
- Non-immigrants with a valid (unexpired) Form I-94, Arrival-Departure Record, endorsed by DHS.”
What is Automatic Revalidation in short?
In short terms, Automatic Revalidation is to allow certain non-immigrants to admit at the U.S. port of entry even though they hold an expired nonimmigrant F/J visa, but have a valid I-94 form and returning to the U.S. from one of the U.S. neighboring countries listed by the DHS within 30 days of their departure, with conditions applied.
Many of the F and J non-immigrant visa holders do not know about the Automatic Revalidation provision they could use, even though they have their visa expired. OPT and OPT Extension cases also fall under the Automatic Revalidation provision category
The U.S. customs and Border Protection provides the fact sheet you may want to look at. Please check the U.S. CBS Fact Sheet and know more about it.
It is important to also know that a non-immigrant who have applied for a new visa and haven’t been issued one or have got denied may not renter into the U.S. under the automatic revalidation provision. Example, say you are on F non-immigrant visa and applied for a H-1B and got a denial, you may not be allowed to reenter U.S. under the automatic revalidation provision.
Does Automatic Revalidation apply to the H-1B non-immigrant visa?
It surely does. A person can go to certain neighboring U.S. countries listed by the DHS and return back to the U.S. even having an expired visa stamp under Automatic Revalidation provision. You need to make sure you do not give your I-94 while departing from the U.S., since the I-94 need to be produced during your return to the U.S. at the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). You may consider carrying your employment authorization document I-797 along to show your proof of employment at the CBP Check.
Some cases have been reported to H1BWiki who have traveled on expired H-1B visa stamp and have returned back using the Automatic Revalidation Provision. We would like to hear more cases from you. Please share your experiences or write to us your questions at [email protected]