Travel to Canada, Mexico and the Adjacent Islands


A student or scholar in F-1 or J-1 visa status who wants to visit Canada, Mexico or the adjacent islands for less than 30 days, and is not a citizen of the country they intend to visit, may be able to do so even with an expired visa, with a few exceptions – read below.  This is called “automatic revalidation of the visa” and only pertains to countries that are adjacent to the United States (Cuba not included). However, it is very important that the Form I-94 (white card) not be removed from the passport when leaving the U.S.  Be sure to take the following documents:

  • A valid passport (valid for at least six months into the future).
  • The current or expired passport containing the expired visa.
  • A valid/current Form I-94.
  • A valid Form I-20 or DS-2019 with a recent signature from the International Students and Scholars Office.
  • Evidence of return transportation arrangements.
  • Sufficient funds for length of stay in Canada, Mexico or the adjacent islands
  • Evidence of current status in the U.S. (Pace I.D., copy of current registration, etc.).
  • A tourist visa for the country to be visited, if required (see below).
  • Automatic Revalidation of Visa is not available to citizens of the following countries: Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan, Syria [Reference, 8 CFR 214.1(b)(3)]

If you opted to apply for a new F-1 visa in those countries and the visa is denied, Automatic Revalidation of the Visa is not allowed and the person would need to depart that territory to their home country to apply at the U.S. Embassy there for a new visa.  With these exceptions, we highly recommend that you consult with an advisor in the International Students and Scholars Office before planning any travel of this nature.

Depending upon your nationality, you may need a tourist or visitor’s visa to enter these countries. Information concerning tourist visas and who is required to obtain them can be obtained visiting the website of the Consulate General of the country you wish to visit (most are located in New York City) or the Embassy (located in Washington, DC). If a tourist visa is required, go in person to the Consulate to file the application, or if necessary, file by mail. Be sure to give yourself sufficient time before your trip to obtain the visa. You will need a travel signature and letter certifying student status from the International Students and Scholars Office for your visa application.

The adjacent islands are:

  • Saint Pierre
  • Miquelon
  • The Dominican Republic
  • Haiti
  • Bermuda
  • The Bahamas
  • Barbados
  • Jamaica
  • The Windward and Leeward Islands
  • Trinidad
  • Martinique
  • Other British, French, and Netherlands territory or possessions in or bordering on the Caribbean Sea