For Travel Outside US
You will need a valid U.S. visa to re-enter the United States after traveling abroad (see Automatic Revalidation of Visa for exceptions to this rule). If your visa has expired or has been damaged or mutilated, you must apply for a new one before you return to the United States.
Average Processing Time
Visa application processing times vary from several days to several months. The processing time for your application will depend on a number of factors, including your country of citizenship, your major field of study, and the state of diplomatic relations between your government and the United States. You should contact the embassy where you plan to renew your visa to ask about specific application requirements. A complete list of U.S. embassies and consulates can be found on the Department of State website.
Where to Apply
In most cases, you must schedule a visa interview appointment at a U.S. embassy or consulate to renew your visa. The Department of State recommends you apply for a new visa in your home country when possible.
It is never possible to renew your visa inside the United States, regardless of whether the United States maintains an embassy in your home country. Remember that you can legally remain in the United States even with an expired visa as long as your I-20 or DS-2019 are still valid.
Here are a few suggestions to help you prepare for your interview. 10 Points to Remember When Applying for a Non-immigrant Visa
Third-Country Visa Applications
You may apply for a visa in a country other than your country of citizenship or legal permanent residence unless prohibited by the U.S. Department of State. This option is only recommended when the United States does not maintain an embassy in your home country because it is more likely to encounter processing delays.
What to Bring
You will need the following documentation for your visa interview appointment in addition to any documents listed on the website for the consular post where your request will be processed:
- Your current passport, which should be valid for at least 6 months into the future;
- Your current I-20 or DS-2019 with a travel signature (signature must not be more than 12 months old -- 6 months if on OPT);
- Documentation showing financial support for the next 12 months (F-1 students) or duration of your program (J-1 students);
- Documentation establishing ties to your home country, such as property deeds, investment portfolios, or job offer letters);
- Letter of Enrollment Verification from the Office of the Registrar;
- Official DU transcripts showing full-time enrollment, and any I-20's with less than full-time enrollment authorizations [Recommended];
- Copy of any degree(s) earned in the United States.
Automatic Re-Validation of Visa
If you travel to Canada, Mexico, or certain contiguous territories and islands near the U.S. (except for Cuba) for less than 30 days, you may be permitted to re-enter the United States with an expired F-1 or J-1 visa.
You are not eligible for this benefit if you have been denied an application for visa renewal.
Additionally, citizens of the following countries are not eligible for automatic revalidation of visa validity:
- North Korea
For more information about Automatic Revalidation of Visa Validity and the list of 'adjacent islands', please review the information listed on official U.S. government websites:
- Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Automatic Revalidation
- Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) F-1 Student Travel FAQ
- Department of State Automatic Revalidation
Please note that this benefit does not apply to the Visa Waiver program.