Travel and Reentry: F and J Student
Your I-20 or DS-2019 must have been signed for re-entry. The most recent signature should have been received within 12 months of re-entering the U.S. if you are a current student. If you are on post-completion OPT, the most recent signature should have been received within 6 months of re-entering the U.S. Please review page 2 of your I-20 to check the travel signature.
ISSS will NOT sign your I-20/DS-2019 for travel during walk-in hours. Please drop your I-20 off at ISSS, it will be signed in approximately 2-5 business days.
- Additional information regarding travel and renewing your student entry visa is available HERE
- Guidelines on valid F-1 visas have changed. Please read the new visa issuance regulations from the US Department of State.
Renewing your Student Entry Visa
The Office of International Services recommends that you have with you at least the following items when you visit a U. S. Embassy or Consulate when you apply for a new visa:
Transcripts of your academic career (include other schools if this applies)
- Proof that you are registered for the current semester and the next semester, if possible.
- A letter from the academic department to which you have been admitted stating that you are in good standing and that the department wishes you to return to Temple University.
- New financial documentation showing that you will have financial support once you return to the United States. The financial documentation should be no more than three months old.
- Proof that you will return to your home country once you have completed your program of study (things that bind you to your home town, homeland, or current place of residence: job, family, financial prospects that you own or will inherit, investments, etc).
Be prepared to explain to the U. S. consular officer why it would be a hardship to you if you were not to receive the new visa. These reasons might include the amount of money and time that has already gone towards your degree and greater career advancement in your home country with a U. S. degree.
If you are denied a new entry visa, you should request the consular officer provide you with a written explanation for the denial. You can then send that explanation to ISSS by fax or email for our review. In certain cases, this office may be able to assist you in re-applying for the visa. DO NOT RE-ENTER THE U.S. IN ANY OTHER NON-IMMIGRANT STATUS.
If you are concerned about the possibility of obtaining a new entry visa in your home country, you may want to schedule an appointment at a United States Embassy in Canada or Mexico. Keep in mind, however, that after April 12, 2002 a student who makes an application for a student entry visa and subsequently has that application denied will not be permitted to re-enter the U.S. in student status. A student who travels to Canada or Mexico and does not apply for a visa may still take advantage of Automatic Visa Revalidation (see below). In either case, any student who wishes to travel to and return to United States from Canada or Mexico must, however, be sure that her/his Form I-20 or Form DS-2019 was signed within the past twelve months.
Visitor Visa Exemptions to Travel into Canada
Visit the Canadian Embassy's website
You can visit Canada Travel for information on whether you are required to obtain a visa to enter Canada.
Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) for Certain Individuals Visiting Canada
Individuals who have ever been out of status in the United States because they overstayed their visa are not eligible to apply at a border post. In other words, if you have remained in the U.S. longer than the period authorized by the Immigration Officer when you entered the U.S. in any visa category, you must apply for a visa in the country of your nationality. If you are not certain about your status, please come in to our office during walk in hours to meet with an immigration advisor.
Some Information Regarding United States Non-Immigrant Visas
What Is Section 214(B)?
To qualify for a visitor or student visa, an applicant must meet the requirements of sections 101(a)(15)(B) or (F) of the INA respectively. Failure to do so will result in a refusal of a visa under INA 214(b). The most frequent basis for such a refusal concerns the requirement that the prospective visitor or student possess a residence abroad he/she has no intention of abandoning. Applicants prove the existence of such residence by demonstrating that they have ties abroad that would compel them to leave the U.S. at the end of the temporary stay. The law places this burden of proof on the applicant. Consular officers have a difficult job. They must decide in a very short time if someone is qualified to receive a temporary visa. Most cases are decided after a brief interview and review of whatever evidence of ties an applicant presents.
What Constitutes "Strong Ties"?
Strong ties differ from country to country, city to city, individual to individual. Some examples of ties can be a job, a house, a family, a bank account. "Ties" are the various aspects of your life that bind you to your country of residence: your possessions, employment, social and family relationships. During the visa interview consulates look at each application individually and consider professional, social, cultural and other factors. In cases of younger applicants who may not have had an opportunity to form many ties, consular officers may look at the applicants specific intentions, family situations, and long-range plans and prospects within his or her country of residence. Each case is examined individually and is accorded every consideration under the law.
Is A Denial Under Section 214(B) Permanent?
No. The consular officer will reconsider a case if an applicant can show further convincing evidence of ties outside the United States. You should contact the embassy or consulate to find out about reapplication procedures. Unfortunately, some applicants will not qualify for a nonimmigrant visa, regardless of how many times they reapply, until their personal, professional, and financial circumstances change considerably.
What Can You Do If You Are Refused A Visa Under 214(B) For Lack Of A Residence Abroad?
First, review carefully your situation and evaluate realistically your ties. Write down on paper what qualifying ties you think you have which may not have been evaluated at the time of your interview with the consular officer. Also, if you have been refused, review what documents were submitted for the consul to consider. Applicants refused visas under section 214(b) may reapply for a visa. When you do, you will have to show further evidence of your ties or how your circumstances have changed since the time of the original application. It may help to answer the following questions before reapplying: (1) Did I explain my situation accurately? (2) Did the consular officer overlook something? (3) Is there any additional information I can present to establish my residence and strong ties abroad? You should also bear in mind that you will be charged a nonrefundable application fee each time you apply for a visa, regardless of whether a visa is issued.
Speak with your attorney if you have married a US Citizen or Permanent Resident and have applied for a green card. You may need to obtain Advanced Parole or reenter the US in a different immigration status.
Validity of Student Visas Subsequent to a Break in Studies
An individual admitted in F-1 status to study in the United States who is transferring between schools or programs is no longer regarded to be in student status if classes are not resumed within five months of the date of transferring out of the previous school or within five months of the date of program completion, whichever is applicable. No formal finding of loss of status needs to be made. In order for that student to restore lawful status, he or she must apply for reinstatement of student status with the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). (A student may pursue studies while reinstatement is pending. See 8 CFR 214.2(f) (16)(i)(C) and 8 CFR 214.2(m)(16)(i)(C).)
USCIS has the option to approve or deny reinstatement of student status. If student status is restored, then the student's F-1 visa remains valid (assuming that the visa has not expired). However, if the student is denied reinstatement, then the student is held to have lost F-1/M-1 status at that point. Any valid student visa that was in the student's possession would be invalidated per INA 222(g). Because the student is considered to be out-of-status from the time that reinstatement is denied, the student must immediately depart the United States.
There is no bar for a student who was denied reinstatement from applying for and receiving another student visa, but consular officers should review the circumstances surrounding why the student ceased full-time study and lost status in the first place, including any actual status violation, in determining whether the applicant is a bona fide student at the time of application.
Students who depart the United States while in valid student status
Students who are enrolled in schools in the United States will often take a break from studies and return home for a semester or more. When a student has been out of the country for more than five months, the student's F-1 or M-1 visa would be considered to be invalid under 22 CFR 41.122(h)(3).
Under DHS regulations (8 CFR 214.2(f) (4)), an F-1 student returning to the United States from a temporary absence of five months or less may be readmitted for study upon presentation of a valid I-20. After an absence of more than five months, an alien is no longer admissible as a continuing student. Under 22 CFR 41.122(h)(3), an immigration officer is authorized to physically cancel a nonimmigrant visa of an alien who appears to be inadmissible. Because a student who has been out longer than five months can be found inadmissible, that student's F-1 visa is subject to cancellation and should not be used, even though it remains valid on its face. A student who wishes to resume study in the United States must obtain a new visa. In order to apply, the student should either obtain a new I-20 from the school or verify that his/her previous I-20 remains valid and SEVIS record is in active status before applying for a new F-1 visa.