USCIS approved my change of status from F-1 to T-1 recently. My attorney tells me that there is a procedure called “automatic visa revalidation” which will allow me to reenter from a short trip to Canada or Mexico without first being issued a visa. Kurzban’s Ch 5.IV.E.3: “This provision may not apply where the person changed status in the U.S. and never had a visa or the visa has expired. Letter, Hernandez, HQ 70/6.2.5 (Nov. 2, 2001), reprinted in 79 No. 2 Interpreter Releases 38, 54–56 (Jan. 7, 2002) [Canadian with expired E visa who left with valid I-94 for less than 30 days could return; however, if he entered as a visa-exempt visitor and then did C/S to an E in the U.S. instead of obtaining the visa, he could not return on the I-94].” My F-1 visa is expired. Does the Hernandez letter mean that there is no more automatic visa revalidation?
I have old issues Interpreter Releases going back to before 1981 when I left government service as an immigration prosecutor. I looked at our January 7, 2002, Interpreter Releases and read the Hernandez letter and it clearly limits its applicability to Canadian E-2’s under 8 C.F.R. sec. 212.1(l) because of the provisions of NAFTA. As you are not a Canadian national and your visa status is not an E classification, the automatic visa revalidation procedure is still available to you after a short trip to Canada or Mexico not exceeding 30 days, provided that you are otherwise admissible (e.g. no criminal grounds of inadmissibility.)
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