Re-entry to the United States with an expired visa is normally prohibited for nonimmigrants. However, in certain situations, the requirement for a valid visa is relaxed. The US Department of State refers to this program as automatic revalidation.
F-1 and J-1 visa holders are allowed to re-enter the United States with an expired visa stamp after a short trip to Canada or Mexico or an adjacent island nation (see list below), as long as they meet all eligibility requirements explained below.
.Under automatic revalidation, re-entry with an expired visa is permitted ONLY when:
To take advantage of automatic revalidation, a F-1 or J-1 student must have a valid I-94. Students with electronic I-94 records should travel with a printed copy of the I-94. If you were issued a paper I-94 card, make sure the airline or border official does not take your Paper Form I-94 Card upon departure from the United States. All travelers must also carry their other immigration documents (passport, I-20/DS-2019). When returning to the United States, you should be re-admitted using the same Form I-94.
Before departing the United States to visit an eligible country using Automatic Revalidation, be sure that you have the necessary visas to visit the countries on your planned itinerary.
Currently the following are considered contiguous territories and adjacent islands for automatic revalidation:
Canada; Mexico; The Bahamas; Barbados; Bermuda; Dominican Republic; Haiti; Jamaica; Martinique; St. Pierre and Miquelon; Trinidad; Leeward Islands (Anguilla, Antigua, Guadeloupe, Montserrat, Nevis, St. Kitts, and the British Virgin Islands); Windward Islands (Dominica, Grenada, St. Lucia, and St. Vincent); Other British, French, or Dutch territories or possessions, in or bordering the Caribbean Sea.
The list of eligible Caribbean Islands can be found here.
No! As stated above, to be eligible for Automatic Revalidation, you must travel only to a contiguous territory or an adjacent island. If you stop in any country not listed above you are no longer eligible for Automatic Revalidation. Therefore you need a valid U.S. visa to enter the U.S. in this situation.
If citizens of your country are normally required to have a visa to travel to Canada, then yes, you must have a valid Canadian visa if you plan to travel to Canada. You can find the list of citizenships requiring a Canadian visa here. Using Automatic Revalidation does not eliminate any visa requirements for Canada, Mexico or adjacent islands.
Contact ISS to discuss your situation.