Travel and Visa Renewal
Travel Outside the United States
Basic requriements for an F-1 student to re-enter the United States after traveling abroad on pleasure or personal business.
1. A SEVIS Form I-20, signed for re-entry by an International Student Advisor
In order to obtain a re-entry signature, please ensure all holds on your account have been cleared. Plan accordingly and drop off your I-20 at the International Center (UB 1100) approximately three weeks prior to depature. Complete the Travel Notification Form, attach your I-20 and submit to International Center for processing. Allow 2-3 day turnaround for re-entry signature on your SEVIS form.
2. You have been out of the United States for less than five months
3. A current passport valid for at least six months after the date of your re-entry
4. A valid, current visa OR you traveled to a contiguous country or adjacent island for less than thirty days
Bringing your most recent I-94, Departure Card, will facilitate your re-entry, if re-entering through a land port of entry. If you are flying, the airline will collect your I-94 prior to depature and you will complete a new one upon re-entry.
If your visa has expired, you do not need to renew it until you leave the U.S. If you are going overseas with an expired U.S. visa, or if you have changed your nonimmigrant status in the U.S., when you depart the U.S. you will need to apply for a new visa from an American Consulate in your home country in order to re-enter the U.S.
How do I renew my visa?
To obtain a new visa, you will need a new I-20, DS-2019, or a current re-entry signature. This should be done several days before you plan to leave. The International Student Advisor will input your information into a database shared by the Department of Justice and Department of State, which they will access to adjudication your visa application. You will also need to have original proof of how you plan to finance the remainder of your education (much like the first time you applied for a student visa).
If you are visiting Canada, or most islands adjacent to the U.S. for less than 30 days, you will not need a new visa to re-enter. In these circumstances, keep your I-94 form in your passport and your visa is considered renewed for this entry only into the U.S. through the process called "Automatic Visa Revalidation." If you are not sure if where you are traveling is covered by this rule, see your International Student Advisor for details and a letter. Automatic Visa Revalidation will not be applicable if you have a SEVIS I-20 that has not been used to enter the U.S., and you are traveling to Mexico.
Can I renew my visa in Canada or Mexico?
Any third country national who wishes to apply for a non-immigrant visa at any U.S. consulate located near the border in Canada or Mexico must make an appointment at the consulate. Without this appointment, you will not be able to file a visa application.
To schedule an appointment, you can:
- Call 1-900-443-3131. There is a reasonably high charge per minute for this call, and many telephone numbers are blocked from calling 1-900 numbers.
- Call 1-888-840-0032 and charge the appointment fee to a credit card.
- Schedule an appointment, using a credit card via the Internet at www.nvars.com.
Please be aware that there is no guarantee that you will receive a new visa just by having an appointment confirmed. You will need to prove your eligibility for the new visa, and this will include proving that you have maintained legal status in the U.S. You will also need to give sufficient evidence of the reason why you were not able to apply for a new visa in your home country. Due to heightened security, there may be an additional delay in your application due to security background checks on all applications. Anticipate delays of up to 60 days or more. If your application in Canada or Mexico is denied, you will be required to travel back to your home country, obtain a new F-1 visa, and return to the U.S. using your new visa.