The U.S. Visa Stamp in My Passport Is About To Expire or Has Expired. 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 Certificate of Eligibility (I-20 or DS-2019) and I-94 become the active documents that permit you to remain in the U.S. You are allowed to stay in the U.S. for D/S, which means, “Duration of Status”, the period of time that you are a student in good standing. The anticipated completion date noted on your I-20 or DS-2019 is the expiration date of your status. If you will need an extension of your I-20 or DS-2019, you must request an extension at the International Services Office BEFORE the expiration date listed on your documents.
If the visa stamp in your passport is still valid (not expired and with available/multiple entries), you may still need to obtain a new visa. As per US Department of State memorandum from December 2005 to all US Consulates, "When a student has been out of the country for more than five months, the student's F-1 ...visa would be considered to be invalid..." (more information). If you have been outside of US for more than 5 months, we encourage you to contact US Consulate in your home country to check on possible need to apply for a new visa.
What Will I Need To Apply For A New Visa?
- A valid passport.
- Current I-20 or DS-2019- (signed for travel within 6 months by an International Services Advisor).
- Proof of payment of the SEVIS fee (printed receipt).
- Proof of financial support-A copy of your bank statement, assistantship letter, scholarship letter, affidavit of support, or any combination sufficient to prove full financial support as indicated on your I-20 or DS-2019.
- Copies of your LSU transcript to prove you have been a full-time student in good standing since your enrollment as an F-1 or J-1. THIS TRANSCRIPT WILL BE YOUR PROOF OF ENROLLMENT FOR ALL PAST SEMESTERS. If you were enrolled at another U.S. institution as an F-1 or J-1 prior to enrollment at LSU, you will need a copy of that transcript at well.
- If you are pre-registered for future terms, The Office of the Registrar (Thomas Boyd) can provide this verification. You can also print a copy of your next semester’s schedule by logging on to PAWS, select “Registration Services” and click on “Personal Schedule”.
- One passport-size photograph- This is a standard passport “facing front” photograph. It may be wise to take two photographs with you
- GRADUATE STUDENTS: A letter from your graduate advisor or department chair verifying your academic progress toward completion of the degree(s) noted on your SEVIS I-20 or DS-2019
Remember that evidence of sufficient ties to your home country is still necessary. This is important and needs to show that you intend to return home after your studies. Under US law, all applicants for non-immigrant visas are viewed as intending immigrants unless they can convince the consular officer that they are not. You must therefore be able to show that you have reasons for returning to your home country that are stronger than those for remaining in the United States. "Ties" to your home country are the things that bind you to your hometown, homeland, or current place of residence: job, family, financial prospects that you own or will inherit, investments, etc. You may be asked about your specific intentions or promise of future employment, family or other relationships, educational objectives, grades, long-range plans, and career prospects in your home country. Each person’s situation is different, and there is no magic explanation or single document, certificate or letter, that can guarantee visa issuance.
Applying For a Visa in Your Home Country or another Country Abroad
You can apply for a U.S. visa at the American Consulate or Embassy in your home country when you go home for a visit, or in an American Consulate or Embassy in some other country when you are traveling abroad, if that Consulate accepts appointments for non-citizens. It is important to realize that most Consulates may require an appointment (even in your own country), or may have an extensive processing time, especially when you are applying outside your home country’s U.S. Consulate.
For detailed information, visit the following websites:
Application and Issuance Fee charged for visa: there is a standard $160 plus a determined visa application fee. Depending on the country you are from, there may also be an issuance fee. Check with the Consulate for the exact cost.
Applying for a Visa in Canada or Mexico
Some students can apply for a renewal of their visa at the border posts of Mexico or Canada. There are severe restrictions on scheduling an appointment in Canada or Mexico, so verify your eligibility BEFORE you travel. To enter a third country, you may also need an entry visa and should inquire with the consulate either by phone or through their websites.
The following websites may be helpful:
- Travel.State.Gov - Nonimmigrants Present in the U.S., and Visiting Canada or Mexico
- Citizenship and Immigration Canada
Determining Eligibility to Apply For a New Visa in a Third Country
The International Services Office has been notified of several updates concerning visa issuance for international students, scholars, and visitors traveling abroad. The most significant is the State Department announcement that all men between the ages of 16 and 45 from certain Arab and Muslim countries will be subject to a waiting period for non-immigrant visa applications that will add an additional period of up to 20 working days to the application process.
Applicants subject to the new security screening will also be required to complete a new background questionnaire form that will cover previous military service and weapons training, previous travels and whether the applicant had any other passports.
If you fit any or all of the above-mentioned criteria, you are not eligible to renew your visa in Canada, Mexico, or any other “third country” and must make arrangements to renew your visa in your home country.
Automatic Visa Revalidation - Short trips to Canada and/or Mexico
NOTE: If an F-1 or J-1 student’s US visa stamp is valid (unexpired), this provision/benefit is not needed for your travel to Canada/Mexico. You may re-enter the US, even if your trip is less than or more than 30 days, with your valid visa and all other required documents for re-entry.
The rule found in the Code of Federal Regulations at 22 CFR 41.112(d) allows non-immigrants to re-enter the U.S. without a valid (unexpired) U.S. nonimmigrant visa stamp. To be eligible for this provision, the following conditions must apply:
- Period abroad did not exceed 30 days
- Visit included ONLY Canada or Mexico (contiguous territory); a special provision for F and J non-immigrants extends this to adjacent islands (Bahamas, Barbados, Bermuda, Hispaniola (Haiti and The Dominican Republic), Jamaica, Martinique, St. Pierre and Miquelon, Trinidad and Tobago, The Leeward Islands (Anguilla, Antigua, Guadeloupe, Nevis, St. Kitts and the British Virgin Islands), The Windward Islands (Dominica, Grenada, St. Lucia and St. Vincent), and other British, French or Dutch territories, or possessions in or bordering on the Caribbean Sea. Cuba is not included.
- Non- immigrant is otherwise admissible to the U.S.
- Non- immigrant did not apply for a new U.S. visa while abroad
- Non- immigrant has maintained valid non-immigrant status prior to departure from the U.S. and will return to the U.S. to resume that same status.
- Non- immigrant is in possession of appropriate documents to demonstrate status: valid passport; most recently issued original I-94 card (the I-94 should be retained, not surrendered upon departure from the U.S. if automatic visa revalidation is to be used); valid form DS-2019 signed for re-entry for J-1s and valid form I-20 for F-1s.
- Non-immigrant is not a national of Cuba, Iran, Syria, or Sudan.
If you meet the above conditions you may re-enter the U.S with an expired F or J (as applicable) visa using automatic visa revalidation. Also, if you changed status from another visa category to F or J, and never obtained an F-1 or J-1 visa stamp, you may re-enter the U.S. without any visa stamp using automatic visa revalidation if the above conditions are met.
Upon your return to the U.S., please provide IS with a copy of your new Visa (if applicable) and I-94 card.