Automatic Visa Revalidation
on Return to US
at the Office of International Programs would be grateful
if you would make sure that all of the international scholars
in your department (i.e. those in J, H, TN, O or another
nonimmigrant status) receive the very important message
have sent this message directly to the scholars for whom
we have email addresses, but these are less than half of
the international scholars at Penn.
would also be grateful, therefore, if you would ask scholars
who did not receive the message directly from us to send
an email message to email@example.com
to provide us with their email addresses. Please stress
how important it is in the current changing climate that
we have a valid email address for every international scholar
OIP Advising Staff
write to inform you of an important INS regulatory change that
will in certain cases affect students and scholars who travel
to Canada, Mexico or the islands of the West Indies.
April 1, 2002 new INS regulations will take affect restricting
"automatic revalidation of visas" for persons who travel
to so-called "adjacent territories." Under the old regulations,
a person could travel to Canada, Mexico, or adjacent islands for
a period of less than 30 days with an expired U.S. visa stamp
and reenter the U.S. using that expired visa stamp along with
a valid F, J or H immigration document (i.e. a valid I-20, IAP-66
of April 1 the new regulations cancel automatic revalidation for
two classes of persons:
all persons traveling on passports issued by Iraq, Iran, Syria,
Libya, Sudan, North Korea and Cuba
all persons who visit a U.S. consulate in Canada, Mexico,
or adjacent islands and submit an application there for a new
note that under this second provision, if you travel to Canada,
for example, with an expired visa stamp in your passport and apply
for a new visa at a U.S. consulate you will only be able to return
to the United States if your new visa is granted. If your visa
application is denied you will not be able to return to the United
States. In the event of visa denial in Canada (or in Mexico
or the adjacent islands) you will have to travel to another U.S.
embassy or consulate, probably one in your home country, to apply
for a new visa there. This second provision of the new regulations
thus ends a very popular, convenient and risk-free strategy for
obtaining a nonimmigrant U.S. visa.
revalidation will remain in effect after April 1, however, for
persons who do not apply for U.S. visas while they are in Canada,
Mexico or the West Indies (except, of course, for persons traveling
on passports issued by the seven countries listed above, for whom
automatic revalidation is cancelled in all circumstances). Thus
(unless you are from one of the seven countries listed) you will
still be able to travel to these adjacent territories with an
expired visa and return using the expired visa and your valid
I-20, IAP-66 or I-797 if you do not apply for a new U.S. visa
while you are there.
Department of State describes these new regulations as an effort
to provide "greater security screening of visa applications."
The regulations will take effect on April 1, without prior public
comment. There is, however, a public comment period that ends
on May 6, 2002. Comments received by the Department of State in
this period may possibly lead to revision of the new regulations.
We will be sure to let you know if any further changes are forthcoming.
you very much for your attention. Please do not hesitate to visit
OIP to meet with an advisor if you have any questions about these
OIP Advising Staff