OISS strongly advises you to consult with an OISS advisor prior to making any travel arrangements.
Please click this link to obtain current travel warnings before you travel abroad.
TRAVEL WITHIN THE UNITED STATES
Many people think that their passport and visa documents are only needed when traveling abroad. WRONG! If you are planning a trip within the United States to cities near or far, it is important that you carry your passport and immigration documents with you. Since September 11, 2001, there has been heightened security not only at border crossings, but also at bus terminals, train stations, and airports throughout the United States. You never know when you will be stopped by an authorized government agent and questioned randomly. Therefore, we urge you to carry your immigration documents along with a WSU ID with you for all travel outside Detroit. While in Detroit, please at least carry copies of your immigration documents.
AUTOMATIC REVALIDATION OF VISAS
The automatic extension of visa provision allows students and scholars to travel to a contiguous territory or adjacent island and return to the U.S. using an expired visa or an older, different visa for those who have changed status in the U.S., provided the visit does not exceed 30 days. Contiguous territory refers to Canada and Mexico. The term "adjacent islands" means Saint Pierre, Miquelon, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Bermuda, the Bahamas, Barbados, Jamaica, the Windward and Leeward Islands, Trinidad, Martinique, and other British, French, and Netherlands territory or possessions in or bordering on the Caribbean Sea (except Cuba).
Two major changes to automatic revalidation took effect on April 1, 2002. The two changes are:
- Citizens of states that sponsor terrorism cannot use the "automatic revalidation" provisions at all. The DOS currently has identified four ineligible countries; they are: Cuba, Iran, Sudan, and Syria.
- If a person applies for a visa of any kind at a U.S. embassy or consulate while visiting Canada, Mexico, or the Caribbean, that person is not permitted to return to the U.S. under the "automatic revalidation" provisions.
Students and scholars should understand that as long as they hold a valid I-20 or valid DS-2019, they can remain in the U.S. if their visa stamp has expired. This regulatory change does not impede their ability to continue and complete programs of study. International travel, however, is a personal choice, and this change may require that students and scholars think carefully about their travel plans.
The automatic extension of validity of visa at ports of entry benefit is available to a nonimmigrant who:
- Was admitted to the United States on the basis of a nonimmigrant visa.
- Has an I-94 valid for an unexpired period of admission or extension of stay, or for duration of status (D/S).
- Has a current Form I-20 or DS-2019 endorsed for reentry.
- If in a petition-based category such as H-1B or O-1, has a current Form I-797 approval notice.
- Is applying for readmission after an absence not exceeding 30 days solely in Canada or Mexico or, if in F, J, or Q-2 status only, after an absence not exceeding 30 days solely in Canada, Mexico, or adjacent islands in the Caribbean other than Cuba.
- Has maintained and intends to resume nonimmigrant status.
- Is applying for readmission within the authorized period of initial admission or extension of stay.
- Has a valid passport.
- Has not applied for a new visa during this particular trip. THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT!
- In not admissible as a nonimmigrant under INA § 212.
- Has never had a visa canceled under INA § 222(g).
- Is not a citizen of a country that has been designated as a ‘state sponsor of terrorism,” which includes: Cuba, Iran, Sudan, and Syria.
Please note that you might need to obtain an entry visa to enter these countries.
Even though a national of a country other than Cuba, Iran, Sudan and Syria may be eligible for reentry under the automatic extension of visa validity provision under regulations, they may still require security or other clearances before being allowed to reenter the United States, which may require them to remain outside the U.S. for more 30 to 120 additional business days or more in some cases. It is your responsibility to understand what is required to reenter the U.S. prior to departing.
F -1 or J-1 Status need the following documents to re-enter the United States:
- Valid Form I-20 (F-1 & F-2) DS-2019 (J-1 & J-2) properly endorsed for re-entry by OISS;
- Valid passport (valid for at least 6 months from date of entry)
- Valid I-94 card
- It is strongly recommended that you carry recent evidence of financial support for the duration of your stay in the U.S. Students may also want to carry copies of their transcripts and current schedule of classes
- F-1 students on OPT should carry their Employment Authorization Document (EAD) and an official letter of offer
- Visiting scholars should have a copy of their invitation letter
H-1B or O-1 Status need the following documents:
- Valid passport
- Valid I-94 card
- Original I-797 Approval Notice
- Current letter of employment explaining you are currently employed by WSU in the same position as described in the H-1B or O-1 petition, and that you must enter the U.S. to continue that employment
- WSU OneCard
- Copy of your most recent pay stub
- If H-1B, copy of most recent Labor Condition Application (LCA)
- If H-1B, and if applicable, original Form I-797 Approval Notice for a Waiver of the Foreign Residence Requirement (Form I-612).
* Please note that if you are a citizen of Cuba, Iran, Sudan or Syria, you will always need a valid visa to reenter the U.S.
** Under the new rule, any nonimmigrant who chooses to apply for a new visa while in contiguous territory will no longer be eligible for the "automatic revalidation" benefit during the course of that trip, but would rather have to wait until the visa is granted in order to re-enter the United States. This would seem clearly to prevent someone whose visa application is denied from then reentering the U.S. under the automatic revalidation provision, but the broad language could also be read to prevent individuals whose visa application is still pending from using the automatic revalidation provision to reenter the U.S. before the visa application is decided.
TRAVEL ABROAD (including visiting Canada or Mexico for more than 30 days)
Whether or not to travel abroad is a personal decision. Scholars whose U.S. visas have expired will need to apply for new U.S. entry visas to return. You should anticipate longer waiting periods to obtain visas, closer scrutiny of your visa documents, in-person interviews, and possible security clearance delays. We urge you to check with the U.S. consulate or embassy where you will apply for the visa, or its website (http://www.travel.state.gov/visa/visa_1750.html) before leaving the U.S. to determine that particular post's policies and procedures as it changes frequently. Please allow yourself ample time for applying for new visas.
J-1 exchange visitors need the following documents to re-enter the United States:
- Valid Form DS-2019 (J-1 & J-2) endorsed for re-entry by OISS;
- Valid passport;
- Valid J-1 visa; and
- Letter from supervisor verifying continued employment/sponsorship
H-1B or O-1 Workers need the following documents:
- Valid passport;
- Valid H-1B or O-1 visa;
- Original I-797 Approval Notice;
- Copy of I-129 petition;
- 2-3 most recent pay stubs; and
- Letter from supervisor confirming continued employment
Travel and H-1B portability
Under certain circumstances, a foreign national holding H-1B status in the U.S., on whose behalf a new employer (i.e. Wayne State University) has properly filed an H-1B petition under the H-1B Portability provisions, may travel abroad and apply for re-admission to the U.S.
Note: OISS does not recommend you travel until the H-1B portability petition by WSU is actually approved by USCIS since you may encounter an immigration official who is not familiar with this rule.
You should have in your possession the following documents when returning to the U.S. from international travel (including to Canada or Mexico):
- Passport valid for more than 6 months from the date of intended return;
- Valid H-1B visa obtained at a U.S. consulate overseas (presumably annotated with the name of a previous H-1B employer);
- Original I-797 Approval Notice for the previous H-1B employer;
- Original I-797 Receipt Notice issued to WSU that filed the H-1B portability petition;
- Proof of your employment with WSU, such as recently issued pay stubs and/or a recent letter from your supervisor confirming your employment;
- Photocopy of your I-94 issued at the time of your last entry; and
- Photocopy of WSU's H-1B portability petition filed with the USCIS, which includes the Labor Condition Application.
* Note for scholars with more than one employer -- please note that the back of your I-94 card must list all of your employers, not only one. Thus, when you travel, please be sure to present all relevant documents from all of your employers so that an immigration officer will be fully aware of the scope of your stay in the U.S. For example, an H-1B employee working for two H-1B employers (with two separate H-1B approval notices) must be cautious and present both H-1B approval notices for an immigration inspection at a port of entry. And he/she must make sure that the names of both H-1B employers are noted (by an immigration officer) on the back of the I-94 card. If not, you may lose an eligibility to work for one of the H-1B employers after returning to the U.S. from an international trip.
STAYING INFORMED WHILE YOU TRAVEL
Immigration policies and visa policies are changing at a rapid pace, so please continue to read the OISS Newsletter and visit our website (www.oiss.wayne.edu) while you travel to keep yourself informed of new updates.
Updated February 20, 2015