I am a F-1 student, my visa has expired but my passport is still valid, I am also still enrolled in school and my case for adjustment of status (permanent residency) is pending. Will I get in trouble if the flight from Puerto Rico to the US or from the US to Puerto Rico is diverted to a foreign territory (Haiti, Dominican republic...) for whatever reasons (Bad weather, plane issues...)?

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    Welcome to travel.SE. In trouble with whom?
    – Karlson
    Commented Nov 4, 2015 at 22:53
  • @Karlson - In trouble with the immigration
    – user36858
    Commented Nov 5, 2015 at 2:33
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    The overwhelming majority of USA citizens on your flight won't even have a passport for this flight: it is a domestic flight and a drivers license suffices. Commented Nov 5, 2015 at 4:10
  • @AndrewLazarus I think the concern is going back to the US in case the plane needs to make an emergency stop outside US territory
    – blackbird
    Commented Nov 5, 2015 at 20:05
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    @blackbird57 And my point is that the US citizens in that emergency landing won't have a passport at all. They'd have trouble getting into the airport lounge, even before the problem they lack suitable ID for getting back into the States. I've been in an emergency landing in a foreign country but it was an international flight to begin with, so this wasn't an issue. Commented Nov 5, 2015 at 23:45

1 Answer 1


Your student status would be unaffected if your flight has to make an emergency landing in another country. Nor would it be if you travelled there yourself.

People in the US on student visas (F and J) do not need a valid visa to re-enter the US under the automatic revalidation scheme, if they traveled to Canada, Mexico, or certain Caribbean islands, for a maximum of 30 days outside the US. Under automatic revalidation, you re-enter the US in your existing status. You should have a copy of your I-94 and I-20 with you (you may need these anyway when departing Puerto Rico).

The official rules for automatic revalidation, as given to air carriers, are available in the Automatic Revalidation Fact Sheet.

However, since you are applying to adjust status to permanent resident, this is much more complicated, and you cannot rely on automatic revalidation. Leaving the US while your application is pending, without advance parole, is considered abandoning it. How this hypothetical situation would affect your application for permanent residence isn't something we can help with here; try our sister site Expatriates for that question.

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    Automatic revalidation cannot be used in this case, because F status requires no immigrant intent, so if they leave the US they cannot be admitted into F status with intent to immigrate on it. Also, leaving the US during Adjustment of Status without Advance Parole and without H or L status automatically abandons the Adjustment of Status.
    – user102008
    Commented Nov 5, 2015 at 9:20
  • @user102008 True. But it's still an Expatriates question. Commented Nov 5, 2015 at 18:02

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