Travel to Canada or Mexico - Automatic Revalidation

Travel to Canada

Unless your country of citizenship is among the visa exempt countries, you need a Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) from Citizenship and Immigration Canada.  You can apply for a tourist TRV, generally issued for a six-month period, at your nearest Canadian Immigration Visa Office.

You Need to Know

International students on F or J visas should not travel to Canada to obtain a new visa stamp from a United States Consulate.  If you apply for a visa stamp in Canada, you will need to wait until it is approved before you can come back to the US.  If your new visa application is not approved by the US Consulate in Canada, you will not be permitted to re-enter the US and will have to return to your home country directly from Canada.  Only in your home country will you be able to apply for your visa stamp to re-enter the US. 

Travel to Mexico

For a short visit, a tourist visa may be required for citizens of certain countries. Others will need a tourist card to enter Mexico. A list of Mexican Consulates in the US is available at Mexico Online.

Travel from Canada or Mexico—Automatic Revalidation

Most F-1 and J-1 students can travel to Canada, Mexico, and the adjacent Caribbean Islands and re-enter the United States on an expired visa, but only if their stay is less than 30 days. This brief travel makes you eligible for automatic revalidation when you re-enter the US, if your remaining immigration documents are current.

Adjacent Islands include:

Saint Pierre, Miquelon, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Bermuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Jamaica, Windward and Leeward Islands, Trinidad, Martinique, and other British, French, and Netherlands territories or possessions.

Checklist for Automatic Revalidation

  • Visiting Canada, Mexico, or adjacent Caribbean Islands for less than 30 days
  • A current I-94
  • A valid unexpired passport
  • SEVIS I-20 or DS-2019 with travel authorization signature
  • Evidence of health insurance
  • Evidence of funding
  • Copy of transcript
  • Proof of enrollment for the upcoming semester if available
  • Have not applied and do not plan to apply for a new entry visa at a US Consulate
  • Not a citizen of Iran, Iraq, Cuba, Libya, Sudan, Syria, or North Korea