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Visa Renewal, Common Questions and Answers

Can I stay in the United States if my student visa has expired? 

Yes, as long as you are a student in good standing and have not violated your status, you may legally remain in the United States with an expired F-1 visa.

Can I renew my visa in the United States? 

NO. For more information about visa applications visit the Department of State website.

If you want to travel to a country other than your own to renew your visa, contact the U.S. embassy or consulate in that country. If you exit the United States and apply for a visa, you cannot return to the United States until the visa is issued. This could require a lengthy stay due to the security clearance process. If the visa is denied, you will not be able to return to the United States as a student.

What should I take with me to the visa appointment?

Take the application for the visa, and proof of payment of the required visa fee(s).

Your I-20 form or DS-2019 form, signed for travel. The travel signature should be less than 1 year old as of the time of your return to the U.S.  If you are on OPT,  your travel signature should be less than six months old as of the time of your return to the U.S.

Take a letter from your academic advisor, stating that you are making satisfactory academic progress, and that you are expected to return to the U.S. to continue with your degree program.

Print a copy of your class ticket and university transcripts from Hokie SPA in case the Consular officer wants to see that you have been properly enrolled.

If you are renting an apartment, and your name is on the lease agreement, take a copy of the lease agreement. This shows that you have a place to live, and a legal obligation to fulfill the lease requirements.

Be sure to take your funding documentation-assistantship agreement/ bank statements/ sponsor letter, as proof of your ability to pay for your educational expenses.

If you are on OPT and wish to travel outside of the US, you need all of the items specified previously, plus a job offer letter stating where you are working and for what period of time. If you fail to take an employer letter with you, you can be denied re-entry to the US, because you can't prove that you are working while on OPT.

If your form has no travel signature spaces remaining: 

F-1 students will need a new travel signature page, which will be provided if all information on your valid form is still current.  If you are applying for a new visa, or if information on your I-20 has changed, then your I-20 must be reissued. In that case, you must download an I-20 Request form and attach updated funding documentation covering at least two semesters of study.

J-1 students need to complete a DS-2019 Request form. If your funding source has changed, or if the amount of support has changed, then we need for you to provide updated and ORIGINAL funding documentation from your sponsor, covering at least two semesters of study. We will issue a new DS-2019 form and sign it for travel.