A Guide to Renew F1 Visa Before Expiration

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An F1 Visa is for the students who are not citizens of the United States but want to pursue their study in the US. Who doesn’t want to study in the best of the Universities of the world? F1 Visa doesn’t grant the students permanent residence and is valid only for five years for the completion of their study program. The students can stay and study in the US even after their f1 Visa has expired as long as their Form I-20, Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status is valid. But if they travel out of the US, they might have problems entering the country again. For this reason, it is best to renew f1 Visa before expiration, especially for the students who have more extended study plans. This article will serve the students as a guide for the renewal of their f1 Visa before expiration. 

Read more: Travel Visa Requirement

How to renew an F1 visa?

The process for renewal of F1 Visa is similar to the process one goes through for getting a new f1 visa. There are two mains ways by which a student can renew f1 Visa before expiration:

  • Apply for renewal of the Visa in a US embassy in your home country or some other country
  • Make use of the Automatic Visa revalidation option

Note: You cannot renew the f1 Visa if your studying program has ended or will end before the expiration of f1 Visa. 

If you decide to apply for renewal of your f1 Visa before the expiration, in a US Embassy, then it is best to do it from your home country. There are chances that your Visa might be denied if you are applying from another country, and if the Visa is rejected, you cannot enter the US again even if your study program hasn’t ended. To renew f1 Visa before expiration, you must file the Form DS-160, Online Application for Nonimmigrant Visa in the US Embassy. You must save your confirmation number and page after completing the form. The US embassy might not call you for an interview since it is not the first time of application.

Although, you will have to submit all the supporting documents and that must be enough to get your F1 Visa renewed. Here are some documents that will be required for the application:

  • Form I-94
  • Form I-20
  • Form DS - 160
  • Passport
  • Passport Size photo
  • A proof that describes your enrollment into a study program
  • Evidence of your school attendance and other official university transcripts
  • Documents that validate that you have no intentions of staying in the US
  • Proof of your stable financial status by providing Bank Documents or evidence for funding of the academic program you are enrolled in

Some additional documents that you can use as supporting documents:

  • A letter that describes your research activities in the US
  • Letters from your program director or academic advisor confirming you are currently enrolled in a University program
  • Proof that you have paid all fees required for the F1 Visa
  • Evidence that you have not been involved in any criminal activities during your stay in the US

After you have submitted the supporting documents, you will have to wait for processing. 

Automatic Visa Revalidation

There is a more comfortable alternative through which you can renew F1 Visa before expiration, and that is by taking advantage of the automatic visa revalidation option. You can travel to Canada, Mexico, or the US territories (except for Cuba) for less than 30 days and then get your Visa automatically revalidated once you enter the US again.

You can make travel plans to one of the countries mentioned above right before your Visa expires. Although, you might need a visa to enter these countries which you should try to obtain before your F1 Visa expires. You can travel to one of these countries stay there for vacations or immediately try to enter the US.

Once the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials verify your status as a student in the US, your F1 Visa will be automatically revalidated for the period that you are enrolled in your academic program.

How many months before the expiry of F1 Visa can I apply for renewal?

This section will answer some of the common questions of “Can you renew F1 Visa before it expires” and “How long does it take to renew F1 Visa?”. Yes, the student can renew f1 Visa before expiration, and  there are no written rules for the maximum or minimum time which one has to follow for applying for a new f1 visa before the expiration of the earlier Visa. But it is best to ensure that your earlier Visa expires at the most one year in the future. However, it takes 5 to 6 weeks for processing your F1 Visa, so it’s best to apply nearly 2 to 3 months before the expiration date of your old Visa. Now the question arises that how long does it take to renew F1 Visa? The answer would be 5 to 6 weeks, and you must stay in the country you applied, while it is being processed.

Factors related to f1 visa renewal

We have listed below some f1 visa renew factors that the applicant should take care of: 

  • The students can apply for renewal of the F1 Visa only outside of the US. 
  • The students can also renew an F1 Visa in a country other than their home country. But, the US Department of State recommends that students should renew their f1 Visa at the US Embassy in their home country. 
  • You can stay in the US even after the expiration of your F1 Visa if your Form I-20 is valid, but you might not be able to reenter the US once you travel outside of the country.
  • The f1 Visa cannot be renewed if the student’s academic program has ended or will end before the expiration of the F1 Visa. 
  • Since F1 visas are issued to different categories of students, not all F1 Visa are renewable. The student should cross-check with their program and verify if their Visa can be extended. If not, then they should go for a change of status of the Visa and renewal.

These are some essential F1 visa renew factors that you must know before you apply for the renewal of the f1 Visa before expiration.

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