Berkeley Lab

Travel to Canada or Mexico with Expired Visa Currently in Valid Nonimmigrant Status

Travel to Canada or Mexico with an expired visa stamp in your passport is possible under certain conditions. This benefit is also known as Automatic Revalidation. Certain temporary visitors holding expired nonimmigrant visas who seek to return to the United States from Canada or Mexico may be admitted at a U.S. port-of-entry by a Customs and Border Protection officer if they meet certain requirements, including but not limited to the following:

  • The underlying authorization for the current status continues to be valid for the Form I-129 for non-immigrant workers and Form I-20 for students in F status.
  • The person’s absence from the U.S. was 30 days or less.
  • The person did not visit any countries other than Mexico or Canada in that period. Travelers who are on an F-1 or J-1 visa are allowed to visit adjacent islands to the U.S.(i.e., the Caribbean).
  • The person does not have a pending or rejected application for a new visa. Since it is not possible to renew a non-immigrant visa in the U.S., a person on a non-immigrant visa may travel to a nearby country to apply for a new visa.
  • The person is not a citizen of one of the countries designated by the U.S., as a state sponsor of terrorism.

Prior to any international travel, including to Canada or Mexico, you are strongly urged to contact your Visa and Immigration Services Advisor to review your travel plans and ensure you have the proper visa documentation. For all international travel, you must ensure that you have a properly signed and endorsed Form DS-2019 if you are a J-1 visa holder, and a top portion of your original Form I-797 if you are an H-1B visa holder. If you are an F-1 academic student, you must travel with your properly signed and endorsed Form I-20 as well as your Employment Authorization Document (EAD) card if you are on Optional Practical Training (OPT). As an F-1 student, we recommend that you first check with your Designated School Official prior to departing the U.S.

If you would like to check if you are required to hold a visa to enter into Canada or Mexico, please see: