From https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/us-visas/visa-information-resources/visa-expiration-date/auto-revalidate.html:

Under the automatic revalidation provision of immigration law, certain temporary visitors holding expired nonimmigrant visas who seek to return to the U.S. may be admitted at a U.S. port-of-entry by CBP, if they meet certain requirements, including, but not limited to the following:

  • Nonimmigrants who departed the United States for brief travel to Canada, Mexico, or an adjacent island (for F and J nonimmigrants) for thirty days or less;

  • Nonimmigrants with a valid (unexpired) admission stamp or paper Form I-94, Arrival/Departure Record, endorsed by DHS.

What confuses me is that according to my understanding, when I leave the US, Form I-94 and the latest admission stamp are no longer valid. (And if so, then how can one have a valid Form I-94 if they left the US?) Is it not the case? When does Form I-94 and admission stamp become invalid then?

Also, nowadays forms I-94 are electronic (at least if you enter the US by air), so does one still need to have a paper copy of I-94, or would a previous admission stamp be enough?

1 Answer 1


The actual regulation doesn't say that the I-94 must be valid, but that the period of stay indicated on the I-94 must be unexpired. That's the reason for the parenthetical mention "unexpired" in the quoted text. 22 CFR 41.112(d)(2)(i) says that the program is available to one who

Is in possession of a Form I-94, Arrival-Departure Record, endorsed by DHS to show an unexpired period of initial admission or extension of stay, or, in the case of a qualified F or J student or exchange visitor or the accompanying spouse or child of such an alien, is in possession of a current Form I-20, Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status, or Form IAP-66, Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor Status, issued by the school the student has been authorized to attend by DHS, or by the sponsor of the exchange program in which the alien has been authorized to participate by DHS, and endorsed by the issuing school official or program sponsor to indicate the period of initial admission or extension of stay authorized by DHS;

You ask:

does one still need to have a paper copy of I-94, or would a previous admission stamp be enough?

It might even be that the admission stamp would be unnecessary; a simple database lookup should be enough. But to be safe, it would be a good idea to print and present a copy of your I-94 record from the I-94 site, because 8 CFR 1.4(f) says

The term “possession” with respect to a Form I-94 includes, but is not limited to, obtaining a copy or printout of the record of an electronic evidence of admission or arrival/departure from the appropriate CBP systems.

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