Renewing Your F-1 Visa Stamp

The visa stamp is entered into your passport at the U.S. consulate/embassy where you submitted your visa application. It indicates the time period during which you may ENTER the United States not how long you may STAY.

F-1 visa application checklist

Below is a general list of the documents required to apply for a new F-1 visa. Please check the website of your local U.S. embassy or consulate for additional local requirements. Check under the link for “non-immigrant visas”.

The expiration date of your visa is noted on your visa stamp. Student visas are issued for between 3 months and 10 years, depending on the practices of the consulate/embassy where you initially obtained your student visa. Your visa is used only for the purposes of entering the U.S..

Usually, the expiration date of your visa stamp differs from your visa status (e.g. the validity of your I-20). Your visa status is either the end-date noted on item #5 on your I-20 or the date of graduation, program completion, or withdrawal, whichever comes first.

If your visa has expired, you may remain in the U.S. Under current immigration law, you are also permitted to travel to Canada and Mexico for a less than 30-day visit if you have an expired U.S. visa. However, should you choose to travel outside the U.S., Canada or Mexico, you will need to obtain a new visa to reenter the U.S..

Renewing your Visa in a “Third Country” (Canada or elsewhere)

Generally, it is best to apply for a new visa in your home country. Applying for a new visa in a country other than your home country is increasingly difficult. If you choose to travel with an expired visa to a third country, there are risks that you should consider:

Note: it is now taking the U.S. embassy in Montreal 4-6 business days to process visa renewals. We have heard that when the visa stamp is ready, you will need to pick it up from a separate location (other than the U.S. Embassy) which could be a short drive from the embassy.