IF my visa stamp on my passport is about to expire. Do I need a new one ?
If you are not planning to travel outside the U.S., you do not need a new visa. The visa that is stamped in your passport is for entry purposes only. Once you are in the U.S., your I-20 or DS-2019 and I-94 card become the active documents that permit you to remain in the U.S. You are allowed to stay for “Duration of Status” (the period of time you remain a student in good standing.) The date noted on your I-20 or DS-2019 as the expected completion date of your studies is the expiration date of your F-1 or J-1 status. This date can be extended through the Office of International Student Services if necessary.
Where do I apply for a new visa?
You can apply for a visa at the U.S. Consulate or Embassy in your home country when you go home for a visit. It is important to realize that some consulates require an appointment. Additionally, significant delays of three to four months are not uncommon. Background checks can cause more delays and be triggered by an arrest, coursework that appears in your transcript, or simply by your country of citizenship. If your visa will be expired at the time you wish to re-enter the U.S., check with the consulate or embassy to determine how long it is currently taking to process new visas by visiting the Department of State website.
What do I need to take to the Consulate in order to apply for a new visa?
- Passport valid for at least six months after the proposed date of (re)entry into the U.S.
- Current SEVIS I-20 or DS-2019, with PDSO signature and signed for travel.
- A letter of good standing from the DSO.
- A copy of your transcript, available from the Registrar’s Office.
- Proof of financial support.
You should be able to verify your ability to cover the amount indicated on your I-20 form. You will be asked to provide an affidavit of support, bank statements, a research/teaching assistantship verification letter, and/or a scholarship/grant verification letter. Proof of ties to your home country. This is a nonspecific item, but since you are applying for a non-immigrant visa, you may need to show that you intend to remain a permanent resident of your home country.
You can bring a letter offering you a job in your home country, letters from family or friends, evidence of ownership of property in home country, or copies of bank statements from a bank in your home country to the Consulate as proof that you have stronger ties to your home country than the United States.
Two completed Non-immigrant Visa Application Forms (Form DS-156 and Form DS-158) At least one standard passport photograph, and The Application and Issuance Fee.
There is a standard $100 visa application fee for all applicants plus an issuance fee, in some countries. Check with the Department of State to determine if you will be charged an issuance fee, also called a Visa Reciprocity Fee.
May I apply for a new visa within the United States?
Under most circumstances and especially after September 11 terrorist attacks, U.S. consulates will not issue new visas for non-immigrants. You must travel outside the country for a renewal.