Mexico (Cancun) Travel Experience for I-94 Extension - IMP Please read - Bumpy ride - Happy ending

@anil_am22 @Kalpesh_Dalwadi . My H1 Approved till Jan 2025. Wife Current EAD & I-94 expiring on Feb 6 2022, So thought of Using AVR by flying to Mexico (Cancun).

  1. Our VISA expired Sep 30 2013.
  2. Our VISA was from Different Employer, Currently I am with different employer.
  3. Applied H1 / H4 renewal on Premium (H1) approved on 5th day. till Jan 2025.
  4. Applied H4 EAD in Oct after H1 approved with H4 receipt number
  5. In Dec we visited Canada Land border ( Rainbow bridge) tried 2 times, CBP dined to extend h4-i94 based on my h1 i-94 but allowed to enter in to USA as her current i-94 valid till Feb 6th 2022.
  6. Plan to VISIT Mexico for 3 days and use AVR (Automatic VISA Revalidation) while retuning to USA
    7, Booked flights and Hotel, At Philly airport, While check in we asked flight check in staff, that we have valid i-94 but visa expired can we travel to Mexico, they said its fine.
  7. Landed Cancun. At Cancun immigration. They did not allow us to enter in to MEXICO. I have showed all the documents and AVR rule from CBP website and They said, those are American rules and we need not to follow them.
  8. I Requested to recheck, as this AVR rule is an agreement between Canada, Mexico and US. This rule is mainly for non immigrant visa holders with expired visa and valid i-94. Still they dint listen to us and didn’t allow us to in to Mexico.
  9. They said, you should have valid (unexpired) Mexicans visa or US Visa or or Schengen visa or green card to enter in to Mexico.
  10. They escorted us to Immediate Flight to USA ( Phoenix-AZ). They dint stamp FMM forms for me, wife. They wrote 132 code on those forms, I asked them what is that. they dint explain anything. But they stamped for my SON as he is US citizen.
  11. 4 hrs flight to Phoenix, At US port of Entry I explained the same. That CBP office also not aware of this fully.
  12. They took us to CBP office, there 4 officers started debating.
  13. One says with in 30 days, they are allowed to come back, another guy says, though thats right, expired VISA was with different Company and now he is with different company how its revalidation… They started debating.
  14. Finally One guy went to their Supervisor. Luckily supervisor is aware of all these immigration rules.
  15. He said its okay to allow them inside, more over these people not even entered in to Mexico as they were kicked off from Mexico Port of entry.
  16. But they verified all our documents, they have crosschecked all my H1b. One more surprising thing is, I have submitted my 485 in DEC 2021, I haven’t received my receipt numbers yet, But those people know that I have already submitted my 485 from current employer. Seems that helped me.
  17. After 10 min, again Supervisor called the officer and told issue the i94 to h4’s as well based on my h1 validity.

Net net guys, All CBP officers in Canada, Mexico and USA are not fully aware of these rules (AVR rules, Concurrent Territory rules ect).

Above all you have to be extremally lucky to attempt this. In my case that supervisor is aware of the rules, Otherwise we should have been deported from USA. We are in States past 15 yrs. Home, kids study, job … you can assume my situation in flight from Cancun to Phoenix. Though rules and laws are there… there is no guarantee, that always they will workout.

Just thought of sharing… All the very best to the people who wants to Attempt this route.


As per the rules, Mexico was right to not allow entry as their own immigration rule allows entry only with valid unexpired US visas.

The return to the US using an expired US visa from Mexico/Canada is allowed (Auto revalidation) as it is a US immigration rule and not Mexico’s.

So, everything in your case worked the way it should have. You were not informed well about Mexico immigration rules though you were right about the US immigration AVR rule.


Thank you for confirming… I was in the impression that Mexico should allow us… Since they deported us, I was really panic, how things will go at US Port of Entry… Finally worked out which is good…

Thank you for all your help and efforts.


You need tourist card to enter Mexico if your US visa has expired.


To get that Tourist card we need to have Mexican Visa or valid US visa. People whoever suggested to fly to Mexico… no one mentioned that we can travel to Mexico only when you have either one… if you read in cbp website or in Murthy forum or Rahul Reddy & Nueman live… even in this forum also no one mentioned we need Mexican visa. Everyone said you can travel to Mexico and Come back to USA with expired visa with valid i94. I am just clearing the air… whoever wants to try this option…


There is a point that Mexico port officers kicked out you, but you can enter the USA with a valid H1B- valid approved document, this is what I got written information from my attorney. i.e., if you are returning from Canada/Mexico without valid USA visa stamp, but have approved H1B original document, you can enter into USA without any hassles.

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If your intention is just to get I94 extension, you should have gone to Oteymesy border and got I-94 stamped. My wife has done in this fashion, got successfull I-94 stamp until H4 validatio date when her passport was expired prior to H4 visa stamp.

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My wife’s is not update based on her VISA. Fresh I-94 extension based on my H1 approval. I have tried at Canada border (Niagara falls). it dint work, so travelled.

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Thanks for sharing experience. If I have H1 extension approved till 2025 ,based on that how easy it is to get H4 I94 extension till 2025 while H4 extension is still pending? Does CBP officer know any rule or we have to convince them or request to extend h4 I94 or it depends on their mood? My purpose is to travel maxico by air instead of Canada by road to take advantage of h4 EAD automatic extension ,but not much realistic data or experience are available to take decision. I heared people r not getting extension by road entry.

It will work. But if you plan to travel to Mexico, make sure you have valid US visa or Mexican VISA. and make sure you travel before the current I-94 expired. It worked for me. Even Road entry at Mexican border also working, Yesterday one of my wife’s colleague visited Laredo TX border. She got her I94 extended. Please find the references: CBP Customer Service
another reference - Contiguous Territory Rule Permits Reentry from Canada or Mexico - Murthy Law Firm | U.S Immigration Law
Is Mexico FMM (Tourist Permit) Required for US Visa Stamping (or i94 extension)? - USA


Thanks for explanation. That’s a really helpful information. I have both visa for H1 and H4 until August 2022 and planning to take a trip for H4-i94 extension before that. In that case I believe no maxican visa is needed.

Also if you have any idea,which port of entry you suggest where I can expect to get H4 -i94 extension upto new H1B -i94 validity?

@jay25oct our port of entry was Pheonix. Donno about other POEs. With my experience, you should be good as u have valid Visa and I-94 till Aug…

@anil_am22 @Kalpesh_Dalwadi QQ. As my Passport is valid till (expiring) Aug 2023. They issued i-94 till Aug 2023 though I have I797 till Jan 2025. After renewing my Passport, do I need to VISIT any CBP office to extend my i-94. or I-94 from I-797 suffice to to be valid in USA?

And My Wife’s and Kids H4 is still pending with USICS. This i-94 extension will have any impact on that?

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Thanks. Thats what I thought. i think I should ask upfront to CBP officer to extend H4-I-94 instead of guessing that officers know the rule and by default extend I-94 until new h1b extension expiry date. The only issue will come if officer refuse for extension due to pending h4 extension decision from USCIS.

You will need to do one of the this:

  1. to travel to the border again to get a new i94 for yourself after passport renewal OR
  2. file extension of your visa with USCIS to get new i94

The validity of i797 is not equal to your i94 stay in the USA. i94 is extremely important and it should be extended to match your i797 or longer.

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@anil_am22 But still I have the i-94 attached to my I-797 right which is till 2025 ( At CBP they dint not take it), wont that be suffice?

and I asked the CBP officer, should I come here to extend my i-94 once my passport renewed. He said not needed, as you have physical i-797 with i94 valid till Jan 2025. Bit confused…

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To travel to Mexico for automatic I94 revalidation do we need to get Mexican Tourist Visa (or) it is fine if we have valid (H1B and H4 visa) approval notice.

Any inputs will be appreciated. Thanks!

If you have valid US visa, you dont need tourist card.

Sorry to ask you the question again.

You mean valid I797 notice of approval right?

As we have not gone for visa stamping more than 4 years. our visa stamps are expired in passport.