Automatic Visa Revalidation

Have you ever thought about what it means to have an automatic visa revalidation, or the process to which you can go about it? This article will give you in detail what it entails.

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A US Visa is a document that allows any foreign person entrance into the United States. And anyone who seeks entrance must first obtain a US Visa which is placed on the traveler’s passport.

What is the Automatic Visa Revalidation?

A person who travels to Canada, Mexico, or the US adjacent islands with an exception of Cuba for less than 30 days, can re-enter the US if their visa has expired. The person who needs revalidation should also have a valid Form I-94, Arrival/Departure Record, which is endorsed by DHS. The Automatic Visa Revalidation can also be called  Contiguous Territory Rule.

The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) have structured the program to make revalidation and extension of nonimmigrant visas easier.

With the revalidated visa, a person can still remain in the US for the time of the extension.

The visa is revalidated for the exact period of time that it was valid the first time. You cannot ask to have a new visa or change status by this process. You are to follow the same must visa rules you had before.

What are the Eligibility Criteria for the Automatic Visa Revalidation?

Fir you to be eligible for the AVR, there are some requirements you have to fulfill for you to be eligible for automatic visa revalidation and they  are as follows:

  • You should have a US nonimmigrant visa that has expired.
  • You should have traveled to Canada, Mexico, or any of the US adjacent islands.
  • Your travel shouldn’t be for more than 30 days.
  • You should have a valid admission stamp on your Form I-94.
  • You should have authorization for your present status like Form I-129 for non-immigrant workers or Form I-20 for F-1 visa students.
  • You should not have a pending or rejected new visa application.

You should not be from a country that sponsors terrorism. some of these countries include:

  • Iran
  • Sudan
  • Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea)

Automatic Visa Revalidation Ineligibilities

You can’t be eligible for an automatic visa revalidation if you are in the following situations:

  • If You have an expired Form I-94;
  • You have request for a new visa and it has not been given yet;
  • You had requested for a new visa which was denied;
  • You were not in the US for more than 30 days;
  • You travelled to a another  country other than Canada, Mexico, or an adjacent island;
  • You are from a  country that support terrorism;
  • You posses an F-1 or J-1 visa student visa and travelled to Cuba;
  • You have an M-1 visa and go to another country other than for Canada and Mexico.

How to apply for Automatic Visa Revalidation?

To receive an automatic revalidation, there is no particular application process. You are not required to send in any forms to the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

You also are not required to go to a US Embassy or submit supporting documents. There are processes that you must follow if you are applying for a new visa and you are outside of the US in your own home country.

Although if you are in the US and your visa wants to expire or it has already expired but you are in the grace period, you can apply for visa revalidation.

Travel outside of the US

The first step is to go outside of the US to Canada, Mexico, or the US adjacent islands. You should be careful though, Canada or some of the adjacent islands may need a visa to let you in the country. So if you want a visa for Canada, make sure you first apply for that.

As soon as you leave the US, the countdown begins. You are permitted to stay for up to 30 days and not more than that.

Show the required documents at the US port of entry

As you get to the US port of entry from Canada, Mexico, or the adjacent islands, you should have the following documents:

  • A valid passport with a US nonimmigrant
  • A valid Form I-94 that has not expired yet.
  • If while you are in the US, you received an extension or change of status, you should bring your Form I-797, Notice of Action.
  • If you have an F-1 or M-1 visa, you should have your Form I-20, Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrants that was given by the school or institution you are attending.
  • If you have a J-1 visa, you should bring your DS-2019, Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor Status given by your program sponsors.
  • If you have dependents, like a spouse or children who also want automatic revalidation, you should also bring the same documents for them too.

The officers at the US port of entry will then check your documents and your information. They will deliberately pay attention and ask if you listen to the law and your visa rules while you were in the US.

Your criminal record should be clean to promote your chances of re-entry. If you have been taken to jail or committed a crime, then your chances of getting the automatic revalidation are low.

Wait for the decision of the CBP officers

When done reviewing all the available information, the officers will then decide. It is given to these officers of the CBP if you will be allowed to enter or not. They have the power and are permitted to make a judgment whether you are qualified to re-enter the US. The fact that you have all the documents,  doesn’t guarantee that you will get approval for automatic visa revalidation.

Once the CBP officers approve your visa revalidation, you can enter the US. Your nonimmigrant visa is now valid for the same period as your formal one. therefore if your visa was valid for only 2 years, your revalidation will be valid for an additional 2 years.

Do Visa Waiver Program Citizens Qualify for Automatic Visa Revalidation?

You can just go through the automatic visa revalidation process if you have a nonimmigrant visa. If you are in the US as a result of your qualification for the Visa Waiver Program (VWP), you do not have to do this. You can not automatically extend the validity of your VWP, but if you go out of the US and re-enter, it will be added towards the time you are allowed to stay with a VWP.

What Can I Do If My Revalidation is Denied?

If the CBP officers deny your visa revalidation, you gain assess to enter the US again. You can reside in a foreign country (Canada, Mexico, or the adjacent islands) until you go back to your home country.

when you get to your home country, you can apply again for a US nonimmigrant visa. But this time, you will have to pass through the process of applications again, which includes submission of forms, getting the supporting documents, the visa interview at a US Embassy, and waiting for processing.

Conclusion

Revalidation help to stay a little longer in the United States so you can keep enjoying just the same duration as your previous visa.

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