You should keep your immigration documents current, secure and accessible.

  • visa.jpgYour visa is placed in your passport at a U.S. Department of State Embassy or Consulate outside of the U.S. 
  • It is your permit allowing you to travel to a U.S. port of entry and to request entry as a non-immigrant.
    • You might think of your visa as an entry key to the door of the U.S.
    • Once you have opened the door and entered, you do not need to worry about whether your visa is valid or expired unless you leave and plan to re-enter the U.S. In that case, you must have your key--a valid U.S. visa--to be able to reenter.
    • Even though your visa allows you to travel to a U.S. port of entry, it is a Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Customs and Border Protection (CBP) immigration inspector who determines your admission, length of stay and conditions of stay in the U.S.
    • Your visa is valid for a specified number of entries to the United States: one, two, or "multiple," i.e., any number, until the expiration date.
    • If you are a Canadian citizen entering the U.S. from within the Western Hemisphere, you are not required to have a visa, but you must show your Form I-20 and proof of Canadian citizenship. more
    • If you renew your passport and still have a valid visa in your old one, you may continue to use the visa in your old passport to enter the U.S.
    • If you change your status in the U.S. and then travel, you must have a visa corresponding to your new status when you re-enter the U.S.
    • Questions and Answers
    • Validity of your visa after a subsequent break in studies
  • Application information
    • In order to obtain a new visa, you generally should apply at a U.S. embassy or consulate within your country of citizenship or nationality; it can not be renewed in the U.S.
    • Contact the embassy or consulate where you plan to apply in advance to ask about the specific procedures and requirements at that location.
    • It is possible to apply for a visa as a "third country national" in a country other than your home country, but you may experience problems not experienced in your home country.
    • Visa Appointment Strategies