Renewing your F-1 or J-1 student visa should not be an obstacle for a student who has maintained valid F or J status during their time in the United States.
All applicants applying for a renewal visa must bring to the consular interview:
- A passport valid for at least six months
- An Application Form DS-156, together with a Form DS-158
- A Receipt for the visa processing fee
- A valid I-20 or DS-2019 that has been endorsed by a school official within the past 6 months
All applicants applying for a visa renewal should be prepared to submit:
- An official transcript showing your grades from any school in which you have been enrolled (a Rhodes transcript can be requested from the Registrar′s Office)
- Financial documents from you or your sponsor, showing your ability to cover the cost of your schooling. Examples are recent bank statements, an assistantship award letter, or scholarship letter
- Evidence that demonstrates significant ties to your home country. Examples could be documents of family members or a job awaiting you when you return, property ownership, or other activity that would require you to return home after your studies
Consular Policies and Procedures
You should expect that the visa application and issuance procedures have changed since you last obtained a visa; major changes went into effect at all U.S. Consulates across the globe in 2010. Most U.S. Embassy and Consulate Websites offer excellent information describing the new requirements of the F-1 visa application process. Please be aware, however, that some websites may not have been as thoroughly updated to reflect recent changes in policies and procedures. If you have questions or concerns about how to apply for an F-1 visa, we strongly recommend that you contact the U.S. Consulate where you intend to apply for your visa stamp.
Applying in a Country Where You Are Not a Citizen
If you would like to apply for a visa at a U.S. Consulate in a country that is not your country of citizenship, you should research the specific visa application requirements that Consulate may have for “Third Country Nationals.”
It is possible that it will be more difficult, and in some cases even impossible, to obtain a visa from a U.S. Consulate that is not located in your country of citizenship or lawful permanent residence. You should contact that consulate, inform them of your country of citizenship, and ask: (1) if they will accept and consider your application, and (2) approximately how long it will take for the visa to be issued, if approved.
Applying in Canada, Mexico or the Adjacent Islands
If you apply for an F-1 visa stamp at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate while in Canada, Mexico or the adjacent islands, will not be allowed to take advantage of the Automatic Visa Revalidation provision to return to the U.S. If your visa application is denied in Mexico, Canada or the adjacent islands, you will be required to travel elsewhere (most likely to your home country) to re-apply for the F-1 visa stamp before you can return to the U.S.
To renew your F-1 visa, you will need to submit the following documents to a U.S. Embassy or Consulate (forms can be downloaded, or obtained from any U.S. Consulate):
To renew your F-1 visa you will need to submit an application form as well as other supporting documentation. Below is a list of documents that are almost always required, some of which should be prepared before you depart the U.S. Please note that this list is not comprehensive. You should research the specific F-1 visa application requirements on the website for the Consulate at which you intend to apply because each Consulate has different requirements for F-1 visa applications.
Commonly required documents include:
- Form DS-160 the Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application
- Application Fee – You should review the information on the website for the Consulate for the current fee amount and how it must be paid.
- One Photograph – You should review the information on the website for the Consulate to determine how they would like you to submit your photograph. Photo specifications are 2 inches square (51 x 51 mm), showing a full face without a head covering against a light background.
- Passport valid for at least six (6) months into the future
- Your I-20 from Rhodes College, and all I-20s you may have ever been issued as an F-1 student. You may also need to request a travel signature from the Buckman Center if you do not already have one, or if you have a travel signature that will be more than one (1) year old at the time you wish to return to the U.S.
- Proof of continued enrollment at Rhodes College – We suggest that you visit the Buckman Center or the Office of the Registrar to request a Certificate of Enrollment that verifies you are a full-time student at Rhodes College.
- Original financial documents proving the availability of sufficient funds. If the documents that prove you have sufficient funds to support your education and living expenses in the U.S. will be more than twelve (12) months old at the time you apply for a new visa, we suggest that you submit new financial documents with your visa application. Please also consider whether all or any part of your funding comes from:
- Rhodes College - such as a scholarship, teaching fellowship or research assistantship? If so, we recommend that you obtain a letter or document verifying the validity and amount of the award for the semester or academic year when you will return to the U.S. to resume your studies.
- Other sources - such as family funds, loans or government scholarships? If so, we recommend that you obtain documents verifying the amount and availability of funding for the semester or academic year when you will return to the U.S. to resume your studies.
- If you have graduated and are participating in post-completion Optional Practical Training (OPT), you must demonstrate that you are returning to the United States to resume employment. We recommend that you provide a letter from your employer verifying that you are currently employed.
- Documents that demonstrate your intent to return to your home country after you complete your studies; that is, documents that reflect your “nonimmigrant intent”.
For more details regarding the F-1 visa application process, please review the information provided by the Department of State on their website.