Renewing an F-1/J-1 Visa

If your F-1 or J-1 visa has expired, you only need to obtain a new visa if you plan to travel outside of the U.S. and return to resume your studies or practical/academic training.

If your F-1/J-1 visa has expired, you are not required to renew it UNLESS you travel outside of the U.S. and plan to return to the U.S. to resume F-1/J-1 status (by studying or engaging in practical/academic training). You will need to apply for a new visa at a U.S. consulate/embassy outside the U.S. as it is not possible to renew an F-1/J-1 visa inside the U.S.

Check the U.S. Department of State's website http://travel.state.gov/visa/visa_1750.html for application procedures at each U.S. consulate or embassy as they may have changed since you last obtained a visa. Expect delays particularly during the holiday season.

Documents generally required for a visa renewal:

  • Passport — valid at least six months into the future at all times
  • Valid Form I-20 or Form DS-2019 — with current travel signature (less than 6 months old on the date of entry)
  • Current transcript or enrollment letter — available from the Registrar’s Office
  • Original funding documents — personal bank statement or letter of financial support from your sponsor. The original bank statement should be in your name or be accompanied by an original letter of support from the person whose name is on the statement. If Babson College is your funding source, it is recommended that you get a letter written on Babson letterhead that details your funding. If you have already paid tuition for next semester, you may wish to obtain a statement from Student Financial Services which verifies this. All financial documents should be less than one year old.
  • Proof of non-immigrant intent — evidence you intend to return home upon the completion of your studies
  • Proof of SEVIS Fee payment — for details, visit: www.ice.gov/sevis/i901/faq3.htm
  • Completed visa application forms — available at the DOS website: www.travel.state.gov/ •Visa application fee(s) — check with the U.S. consulate/ embassy for the current fee amount(s) and payment instructions •Photograph(s) — for the prescribed format, visit www.travel.state.gov/
  • F-1 students engaged in post-completion Optional Practical Training (OPT) also require: a valid Employment Authorization Document (EAD); proof of current employment or a job offer letter; and valid Form I-20 with a current travel signature (less than six months old on the date of entry).
  • J-1 students engaged in post-completion Academic Training also require: an Academic Training letter from an International Student Advisor; proof of current employment; and valid Form DS-2019 with a current travel signature (less than six months old on the date of entry).

Applying for a Visa in Canada or Mexico

A citizen of a country other than that in which they will apply for a U.S. visa is called a third-country national (TCN). Third-country nationals (TCNs) may attempt to obtain a visa in Canada or Mexico. Detailed information is available at: http://travel.state.gov/visa/temp/info/info_5213.html#apply To schedule an appointment at a U.S. Consulate in Canada visit http://www.nvars.com. A major credit card is required to pay for the application fee. To schedule an appointment at a U.S. Consulate in Mexico visit www.usvisa-mexico.com.

Note: If you apply for and are denied a visa in Canada/Mexico, you may not re-enter the U.S. on the Automatic Visa Revalidation regulations. You will be required to travel elsewhere (most likely your home country) to apply for the U.S. visa before returning to the U.S.

Note: U.S. embassies and consulates along the U.S. border cannot accept applications from nationals of countries designated by DOS as state sponsors of terrorism: Cuba, Iran, Syria and Sudan.