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Travel to Canada or Mexico

These procedures apply only to H-1B, H-4, O-1, and O-3 status holders. For J-1 and J-2 automatic visa revalidation procedures, see J Travel to Canada, Mexico, or Adjacent Islands.

Automatic visa revalidation requirements

Traveling to Canada

Traveling to Mexico

Reentering the U.S.

Automatic visa revalidation requirements [top]

When you return to the U.S. from a trip to Canada or Mexico, an expired visa in your passport can be considered automatically extended (and converted to a different visa classification if you have changed status in the U.S.) until the date you reenter the U.S. if the following conditions are met:

  • You visited only Canada or Mexico
  • The duration of your visit was 30 days or less
  • You had been maintaining and intend to resume the same nonimmigrant status in the U.S. (e.g. H-1B, O-1)
  • You have time remaining on the period of stay for the nonimmigrant status (that is, the I-94 card, printout, or "tear-away" I-94 from the approval notice you last received will still be valid when you plan to reenter the U.S.)
  • You have not applied for a new visa at a U.S. embassy/consulate during this trip

If the above conditions are met, you should be allowed to reenter the U.S. from Canada or Mexico with an expired nonimmigrant visa and a valid I-94 record (printed from the U.S. Custom and Border Protection's (CBP) I-94 website) or a valid admission stamp with notations in your passport.

You are not eligible for automatic visa revalidation if:

  • You have applied for and been denied a visa while outside the U.S. (including in Canada or Mexico), even if you have a valid I-94 record or admission stamp.
  • You are a citizen of a country on the U.S. Department of State’s list of State Sponsors of Terrorism (Cuba, Iran, Sudan, and Syria).
  • You have been in Canada or Mexico longer than 30 days. In this case, if your visa has expired, you must apply for a new visa at a U.S. embassy/consulate before you can reenter the U.S.
  • You have traveled to other countries in addition to Canada or Mexico. In this case, you must apply for a new visa at a U.S. embassy/consulate before you can reenter the U.S.
  • You have the notation "212(d)(3)" on your U.S. visa. You must apply for a waiver of inadmissibility if you do not hold a double or multiple entry, unexpired visa.

Traveling to Canada [top]
Citizens from certain countries who wish to visit Canada are required to obtain a visitor’s visa (tourist visa) from the Canadian Consulate General in Los Angeles. You should contact the Canadian Consulate to find out whether you must obtain a visa before you can enter Canada. See the Canadian Embassy’s website for information on Canada’s visa requirements.

Traveling to Mexico [top]
Mexico requires all visitors to obtain a tourist card or visa at a Mexican Consulate before they can enter Mexico. See the Mexican Embassy’s website for information on tourist cards/visas. 

Reentering the U.S. [top]
If the above automatic visa revalidation conditions are met, you should not need to apply for a new visa at a U.S. consulate IF you show these items to the CBP officer at reentry to the U.S.:

  • Unexpired I-94 record printed from CBP's I-94 website
  • Eligible expired U.S. entry visa
  • Valid Form I-797 approval notice
  • A passport valid for at least 6 months past the I-797 end date
  • Employment confirmation letter from your UH department as evidence of financial support for the duration of your stay in the U.S.

If you have difficulty reentering the U.S. according to the above instructions, please refer the CBP officer to this regulation: 22 CFR 41.112(d).


  • Airline restrictions: Be advised that some airlines will not allow individuals to board flights into the U.S. if they do not have valid visas in their passports. Airline representatives are often not aware of this auto-revalidation option and may assume that someone with an expired visa is not legally allowed to enter the U.S. If an airline boards a person who is not admissible into the U.S., the airline may incur hefty fines upon arrival in the U.S. To avoid these fines, some airlines have established a broad rule requiring all non-U.S. citizens/permanent residents to present valid entry visas before they may board a U.S.-bound flight.
  • Visa application at U.S. consulates in Mexico: U.S. consulates in Mexico have placed restrictions on visa application eligibility for Third Country Nationals (TCNs) (i.e. non-Mexican citizens) who are not residents of Mexico. Therefore, if you travel to Mexico and are not able to use automatic visa revalidation for reentry to the U.S., you may have problems obtaining a visa if you are not a Mexican citizen or resident. For more information on these restrictions, see the website of the U.S. Embassy in Mexico.