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F-1 Visa Related Frequently Asked Questions

What Items Do Returning Students Need?

All applicants applying for renewals must submit:

  • All items listed in the Required Documentation section and;
  • A new I-20 or an I-20 that has been endorsed on the back by a school official within the past 12 months.
Students Away from Classes More Than Five Months

Students in or outside the US who have been away from classes for more than five months will likely need a new visa to enter the US.

How long may I stay on my F-1 student visa?

When you enter the United States on a student visa, you will usually be admitted for the duration of your student status. That means you may stay as long as you are a full-time student, even if the F-1 visa in your passport expires while you are in America. For a student who has completed the course of studies shown on the I-20 and any authorized practical training, the student is allowed the following additional time in the US before departure:

  • F-1 student &- An additional 60 days, to prepare for departure from the US or to transfer to another school.

As an example regarding duration of status, if you have a visa that is valid for five years that will expire on January 1, 2009, and you are admitted into the US for the duration of your studies (often abbreviated in your passport or on your I-94 card as “D/S”), you may stay in the US as long as you are a full-time student. Even if January 1, 2009 passes and your visa expires while in America, you will still be in legal student status. However, if you depart the US with an expired visa, you will need to obtain a new one, applying at an Embassy abroad, before being able to return to America and resume your studies.