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International Students Service Center - Baruch College

TRAVELING TO CANADA OR MEXICO

For travel to Canada or Mexico, first check with your Embassy to see if a tourist visa will be required to enter either country.You will need to have your passport, visa documents (I-94 card and I-20 or DS-2019), and Baruch Colege student ID card with you when you travel, and be certain that your I-20 or DS-2019 has an authorizing signature for travel no older than February 1, 2005. Canada now requires tourist visa applications to present a letter from their school's international student office, verifying their status as a student.

In 2002, The U.S. Department of State announced new rules for non-immigrants who use the "automatic revalidation of visa" benefit [22 CFR 41.112(d)] to re-enter the United States after a 30-day or less visit to a "contiguous territory" (Canada, Mexico, and, in the case of F and J non-immigrants, the "adjacent islands other than Cuba") without having to obtain a new visa prior to re-entry. To qualify for this privilege, you must:

  1. Presently be in valid F-1 student / scholar status.
  2. Have a valid SEVIS I-20 in your possession, which has been signed for travel
  3. Have a valid SEVIS I-94 card with you (do NOT surrender it when you leave the U.S.)
  4. Have a valid passport
  5. Be in one of the contiguous territories or adjacent islands for less than thirty (30) days.

Warning/Caution: 

If you are planning to travel to any of the adjacent islands listed below please be aware that Baruch College students have experienced problems with trying to reenter to the US.

Be sure to check with the INS. The adjacent islands are: the Bahamas, Barbados, Bermuda, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Jamaica, Martinique, St. Pierre & Miquelon, Trinidad & Tobago, the Leeward Islands (Anguilla, Antigua, Guadeloupe, Montserrat, Nevis, St. Kitts, and the British Virgin Islands), the Windward Islands (Dominica, Grenada, St. Lucia, and St. Vincent) and other British, French, or Dutch territories or possessions in, or bordering on, the Caribbean Sea. Note: The special exemptions do NOT apply to students who are citizens of the countries named above. In those cases, students must obtain an F-1 visa to re-enter the United States, except for Canadians.

Under the new rule, ANY non-immigrant who chooses to apply for a new visa while in Canada or Mexico will no longer be eligible for the "automatic revalidation" benefit during the course of that trip, but will have to wait until the visa is approved in order to re-enter the United States. If the U.S. visa application is denied, that individual will not be permitted to re-enter the United States, and will instead have to return to his or her home country.

Also citizens of "state sponsors of terrorism" (as designated in the State Department's annual "Patterns of Global Terrorism" report) are no longer eligible for the automatic revalidation of visa benefit. Section 306 of the Enhanced Border Security and Visa Reform Act of 2002 lists the following countries as state sponsors of terrorism: Iran, Syria, Libya, Sudan, North Korea, and Cuba.. This means that a person who is a citizen of Iran, Syria, Libya, Sudan, North Korea, or Cuba in the United States in any non-immigrant classification can only enter Canada and return to the United States IF he or she has an unexpired multiple-entry U.S. visa in the passport for his or her current status.

However, non-immigrants traveling to Canada or Mexico for less than thirty days and returning to the United States (other than citizens of Iran, Syria, Libya, Sudan, North Korea, and Cuba) who do not intend to apply for a new U.S. visa can still make use of the automatic revalidation benefit, and re-enter on their expired U.S. visas, as long as they have a valid, unexpired passport, their I-94 card, and a valid and signed SEVIS I-20 or DS-2019.

SPECIAL NOTE ABOUT I-94 DEPARTURE CARDS:

F-1 and J-1 students with expired U.S. visas who are traveling to Canada, Mexico or adjacent islands for up to 30 days, who will not be applying for a new U.S. visa while there, AND who will be resuming their studies upon their return should NEVER surrender their I-94 card. Canadian or Mexican nationals returning to their home country should surrender their I-94 card as they enter their country, and obtain a new I-94 card the next time they enter the United States.