Travel to Canada and Mexico

Applying for a U.S. Visa at a U.S. Consulate in Canada or Mexico

OVIS recommends you apply in your home country, whenever possible.  If your application processing is delayed, it is usually preferable to wait in your home country than a third country.

The U.S. Consulates in Canada and Mexico sometimes suspend visa processing operations for third country nationals, so it is important to check in advance. 

Speak to your OVIS advisor before planning a trip to Canada or Mexico for your visa application.

Re-entering the US from a Canadian Land Border

Travel to Canada for less than 30 days will not result in a new I-94 entry record unless the non-immigrant traveler pays a small fee and presents the appropriate immigration documents. This is important because I-94 travel history should ideally match the I-94 entry date to prevent future issues. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) issued the following statement:

"For land border admissions, CBP issues a Form I-94 only upon payment of a fee. See 8 CFR 235.1(h). Nonimmigrants intending to enter the United States at land POEs have the option either to pay the required fee at the border during processing or pay the required fee online or via the CBP OneTM mobile application up to seven days in advance of arrival."

Automatic Revalidation

After initial entry to the U.S., nonimmigrants who have an expired visa in their passport may re-enter the U.S. without obtaining a new visa if their travel was solely to the contiguous countries of Canada and Mexico.  F and J visa holders may also be able to benefit from Automatic Revalidation after travel to the Caribbean Islands (excluding Cuba).  Travel must be for a period of fewer than 30 days. This procedure is known as Automatic Revalidation of the U.S. visa.

To take advantage of Automatic Revalidation, travelers must have, in addition to the documents for re-entry stated above, a copy of their electronic I-94 record (or white I-94 card, if you have one).

  • If you are a citizen of Cuba, Iran, Sudan, or Syria, you are not eligible for automatic revalidation of your expired non-immigrant visa.
  • If you have applied for a new visa while out of the country, you may not re-enter the U.S. until the new visa is issued, even if your old visa is still valid.
  • Is in possession of an F student visa or J exchange visitor visa and has traveled to Cuba
  • Depending on your country of citizenship, you may be required to have an entry visa for Canada, Mexico or any of the other Caribbean nations in order to enter those countries. Your U.S. visa does not automatically grant entry into these other contiguous countries. 

You can find more information on Automatic Revalidation on the U.S. Department of State website.