You can stay in the United States on an expired F-1 visa as long as you maintain your student status. However, if you are returning home or traveling to a country where automatic revalidation does not apply, you must have a valid visa to return to the United States.
Ensure that you have all the documentation you need for your visa application and allow sufficient time for processing a new visa. The documentation you may need for a new visa includes, but is not limited to the following:
- A Form I-20, endorsed for travel and signed by your DSO (see your DSO before you travel)
- Original evidence showing proof of necessary funds to cover tuition and living expenses
- Evidence showing your intention to return to your home country upon program completion, including evidence of compelling social and economic ties to your home country
- If you have applied for or had optional practical training (OPT) approved, bring a copy of your Form I-20 endorsed for OPT and your Employment Authorization Document (EAD), if you have one
The Department of State recommends that you apply for a visa in your home country. For more information about visa applications visit the Department of State (DoS) website at http://travel.state.gov/.
You can apply in a third country for a visa, but you will not be able to return to the United States until DoS issues your visa. In some cases, this could take several weeks if DoS requires a background check. If DoS denies your visa, you will not be able to return to the United States. Be sure to check the DoS website for specific information pertaining to each embassy or consulate.
If you have an expired visa and a terminated record, we strongly advise that you do not travel outside the United States until your SEVIS record shows that you are in active status. If you do travel, you may not be able to renew your visa or return to the United States.