Travel and Reentry

Law Cites 8 CFR § 214.1 (b) “Readmission of Non-Immigrants”
8 CFR § 214.2 (f)(4) “Temporary Absence”
8 CFR § 41.112(d) “Automatic Revalidation”

Temporary Absence

A student seeking to be readmitted after a temporary absence (defined in the regulations as a period of 5 month or less) with a properly endorsed I-20 may be admitted to resume a full course of study.

30-Day Admission with form I-515

The Port of Entry (POE) Official may deny an F-1 student admission into the U.S. without the required documentation. However, the POE Official has the authority to admit a student in F-1 status for a thirty-day period. If the student is admitted to the U.S., the POE Official will issue the student and any accompanying dependent(s) a Form I-515 and a date certain Form I-94. Student and his dependent(s) should report to the DSO immediately in order to apply for an extension of stay to D/S. The application is submitted to the BCIS District Office that has jurisdiction over the school. Upon approval, the student and any accompanying dependent(s) are extended for duration of status.

The following documents must be submitted to the BCIS District Office along with the Form I-515:

  • New Form I-20
  • Original Form(s) I-94(s)
  • Proof of Financial Support and Enrollment
  • Copies of Passport(s) identity and validity pages (Some District Offices may require the originals)
Automatic Revalidation

Under certain circumstances an “F” non-immigrant may be eligible to re-enter the United States with an expired Visa provided that his/her travel was to Canada, Mexico or adjacent Caribbean Islands for 30 days or less. Documents required include a valid passport, properly endorsed I-20, and valid “F” status.

There are “Two” exceptions to automatic revalidation:

  • Citizens of Cuba, Iran, Iraq, Libya, North Korea, Sudan and Syria, are not eligible for automatic revalidation. The Department of State periodically updates the list in its report to Congress entitled “Patterns of Global Terrorism”.
  • An “F” non-immigrant that applies for a new U.S. Visa while visiting Canada, Mexico or adjacent Caribbean Islands must obtain the new visa in order to re-enter the United States. If the Visa is denied, the “F” non-immigrant is not eligible for automatic revalidation. The “F” non-immigrant will have to return to his/her country of citizenship or permanent residence to apply for the new visa.
Special Registration

As part of the National Security Entry-Exit Registration System (NSEERS), non-immigrant males (age 16-45) from designated countries undergo “Special Registration.” This includes fingerprinting, photographing, and an interview at the POE and/or at the BCIS District Office. These individuals could experience lengthy delays in admission to the U.S. and should plan accordingly when making arrangements.

A student, who is subject to Special Registration, is also required to depart and re-enter via designated ports only. A list of the designated ports is available through the BCIS web page at: