Travel to Canada and Mexico

ALERT:

Berkeley International Office (BIO) currently recommends minimizing international travel due to the rapidly-changing nature of U.S. immigration policy. For important information regarding current U.S. immigration policy, Executive Orders, and travel advisories, please see BIO's Immigration Policy Updates & FAQ webpage.

Entering Canada

For a short visit, a tourist visa may be required from the Canadian government for citizens of certain countries. You can choose to apply online or through a paper application. For more information, visit Canada Citizenship and Immigration. For tips on entering Canada, see Canadian Border Services Agency.

Entering Mexico

Mexico Flag

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

Expired Visas and Returning to the U.S.: Automatic Revalidation

Automatic Revalidation means that an expired nonimmigrant visa (F or J) may be considered automatically extended to the date of return to the United States under certain circumstances after visiting Canada, Mexico, or adjacent islands (with the exception of Cuba) for less than 30 days. Note: Automatic revalidation is only available for travel directly between only the U.S. and Canada, Mexico or eligible adjacent islands. (If you are a citizen of Mexico or adjacent islands and plan to use Automatic Revalidation when visiting your home country, please talk to a BIO adviser before travel.)  Adjacent islands include:

Anguilla, Antigua, Aruba, Bahamas, Barbados, Barbuda, Bermuda, Bonaire, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Curacao, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Haiti, Jamaica, Marie-Galante, Martinique, Miquelon, Montserrat, Saba, Saint-Barthelemy, Saint Christopher, Saint Eustatius, Saint Kitts-Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Maarten, Saint Martin, Saint Pierre, Saint Vincent, Grenadines, Trinidad, Tobago, Turks and Caicos Islands, Other British, French and Netherlands territory or possessions bordering on the Caribbean Sea.

Automatic Revalidation is NOT available in the following cases. Consult with Berkeley International Office with questions. 

  • You are a national of Iran, Syria, Sudan, North Korea
  • You last entered the U.S. under the Visa Waiver Program
  • During your trip, you will apply for a visa while in Canada, Mexico, or adjacent islands
  • You have have a currently pending or rejected visa application
  • You have traveled to a country other than Canada, Mexico, or an adjacent island (i.e. Cuba) which is not included in the automatic revalidation provisions
  • You have been outside of the U.S. for more than 30 days

Automatic Revalidation Requirements:

If you are flying to Canada or Mexico, make sure the airline does not take your Paper Form I-94 Card upon departure from the United States, if you have been issued one. If you have not been issued a Paper Form I-94 Card, download a copy of the I-94 Electronic Record before departure from the United States.

To re-enter the United States under automatic revalidation, you must have been been properly maintaining your current status are are returning to continue that status. You should be prepared with the following:

  1. Passport valid for at least six months from date of re-entry.
  2. U.S. visa stamp in your passport from your last entry to the United States
  3. Form I-20 or DS-2019 with current travel endorsement (see below, 'F or J Status')
  4. Paper Form I-94 card or download a copy of the I-94 Electronic Record 
  5. It is strongly advised to carry recent evidence of financial support for the total duration of your stay in the United States; students may also want to carry a copy of the current semester's CalCentral enrollment.
  6. F-1 students on OPT should carry the the documents listed on our Travel and Re-entry to the U.S. While on OPT page. J-1 students on post-completion Academic Training should bring proof of their Academic Training employment job offer letter.
  7. Special Case: If you received a Change of Status within the U.S and do not currently have an F or J visa in your passport, you may still use Automatic Revalidation. You will need your Form I-797 Change of Status Approval Notice.  Please consult with a BIO advisor before you travel.
  8. Other documents as listed below.

F or J Status

You must enter the United States with either a new Form I-20 or DS-2019or with your most current document PROPERLY ENDORSED for travel and re-entry within the past ten months (or within six months for F-1 students on OPT) by an international student advisor at Berkeley International Office. If UC Berkeley did not issue your Form I-20 or DS-2019, contact your program sponsor at least two or three weeks before departure to obtain their signature.

More Information

Visit the Automatic Revalidation webpage on the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) website.

Automatic revalidation is not the same as applying for a new visa. If you apply for a new nonimmigrant visa while abroad, you cannot take advantage of automatic revalidation.