J Travel to Canada, Mexico, or Adjacent Islands
These procedures apply
only to J-1 and J-2 status holders.
For H-1B, H-4, O-1, and O-3 automatic visa revalidation procedures, see Travel to Canada or Mexico.
Automatic visa revalidation requirements
Traveling to Canada
Traveling to Mexico
Traveling to adjacent islands
Reentering the U.S.
Automatic visa revalidation requirements [top]
When you return to the U.S. from a trip to Canada, Mexico, or an adjacent island, 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, Mexico, or a qualifying adjacent Caribbean island
- The duration of your visit was 30 days or less
- You have been maintaining and intend to resume J status in the U.S.
- You have time remaining on your J period of stay (your DS-2019 will still be valid when you reenter the U.S.)
- You have not applied for a new visa during this particular trip
If the above conditions are met, you should not need a valid visa to reenter the U.S. at the end of your trip. You should also be allowed to keep the I-94 card (if you were issued one by the U.S. Cusstoms and Border Protection (CBP) officer at your last entry) when you depart the U.S. for Canada, Mexico, or an adjacent island. Airline agents are not always aware of this allowance and may try to remove the I-94 from your passport. If you do not have an I-94 card, keep a copy of the I-94 printout from the CBP's I-94 website as evidence of your last admission.
You are not eligible for automatic visa revalidation if:
- You have applied for and have been denied a visa while outside the U.S. (including in Canada, Mexico, or on an adjacent island), even if you have a valid I-94 card/record.
- You are a citizen of a country on the U.S. Department of State’s list of State Sponsors of Terrorism (includes Cuba, Iran, Sudan, and Syria).
- You have been in Canada, Mexico, or on an adjacent island longer than 30 days. In this case, if your visa has expired, you must apply for a new J visa at a U.S. embassy/consulate before you can reenter the U.S.
- You have traveled to other countries in addition to Canada, Mexico, or an adjacent island. In this case, you must apply for a new J 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 double or multiple entry, unexpired visas.
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.
Traveling to adjacent islands [top]
“Adjacent islands” include: Saint Pierre, Miquelon, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Bermuda, the Bahamas, Barbados, (Cuba*), Jamaica, the Windward and Leeward Islands, Trinidad, Martinique, and other British, French, and Netherlands territories or possessions in or bordering on the Caribbean Sea. (INA § 101(b)(5))
*Travelers to Cuba cannot utilize automatic visa revalidation. Although Cuba is included in the statutory definition of “adjacent islands,” DOS regulations exclude Cuba from the list of acceptable "adjacent islands." (22 CFR § 41.112(d)(2)(ii))
See the Electronic Embassy website for information on other countries’ immigration requirements.
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 card that was not taken by the airline upon your departure from the U.S. OR I-94 printout from CBP's I-94 website
- Eligible expired U.S. entry visa
- Current DS-2019, validated for travel by FSIS
- A passport valid for at least 6 months past the DS-2019 end date
- Evidence of financial support that is valid 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 the following regulations: 8 CFR 214.1(b) and 22 CFR 41.112(d).
IMPORTANT: Visa application at U.S. consulates in Mexico
you cannot meet the above requirements for automatic visa revalidation,
be aware that 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. For more
information on these restrictions, see the website of the U.S. Embassy in Mexico.