Renewal Process

Renewing a Visa

The visa stamp in your passport tells you when and how often you can enter the U.S., but it does not govern your authorized period of stay in the country. You can be in the U.S. beyond the expiration of the visa stamp, so long as your immigration status and I-94 record of arrival remain valid.

If you wish to travel outside the U.S. after your visa has expired, you do need to apply for and obtain a new visa stamp in your passport before you can reenter the country. Renewal applications cannot be done in the U.S.

If you are planning international travel to a third country, you may be required to show evidence that you have a valid U.S. visa stamp for reentry to the U.S.  Check the travel requirements for your destination countries in advance, in case you need to renew your U.S. visa stamp prior to traveling to a third country

In Your Home Country

We recommend applying for the visa stamp at the Embassy or Consulate in your home country. If your visa application experiences delays, it is usually best to be in your country while you wait for the visa to be issued.

Applying to Renew a Visa

Some consular posts will accept applications from third country nationals. Review the information on the post's website to determine whether you can apply to renew your visa. Also check whether, based on your citizenship, you must apply for a visitor visa to enter that country.

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.