Contrary to popular understanding, a valid student visa is not required for legal stay within the United States. However, nonimmigrants who are traveling outside the US will need a valid visa for reentry. Visas may only be renewed from outside the US and are best renewed from a student’s home country.
International Students traveling outside the United States will need to make sure their F-1 or J-1 visas are valid prior to reentering the US. When requesting a Travel Signature on their I-20 or DS-2019, a student can indicate whether they will renew their visa while outside the US and will then receive a visa support letter along with their travel signature.
The following documentation is recommended for a visa interview:
- Transcript showing registration from prior semesters
- Proof of registration for upcoming or current semester
- I-901 SEVIS Fee Receipt, available at fmjfee.com
- Recent tuition payment receipt
- Documentation of financial support
- Optional – Visa renewal letter from International Student Services, issued with travel signature