Your visa stamp is your “key” into the United States and is for travel purposes only. Once you are in the U.S., you do not need to worry if your visa in your passport expires as it is not an indicator of your status.
However, if you plan to travel outside the country, you will need to make sure that your visa stamp is valid upon your return. If your visa has expired and you wish to travel outside the U.S., you need to make sure that you plan accordingly to allow for time to renew your visa.
In order to renew your visa, you will need to apply at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate. Some U.S. Embassies or Consulates will allow for mail-in renewals while others will require certain documents. It is always best to check with the U.S. Embassy or Consulate where you will apply to see what you need before your visa renewal.
You will want to make sure that you prepare the following documents for your visa interview:
- Passport—should be valid for more than 6 months after your planned returned date
- Bradley University admission letter
- Academic transcripts
- Proof of SEVIS Payment
- Two passport style photos
- OPT EAD (if applicable)
- Employment letter (if applicable)
- If your visa stamp does expire, you can only renew your visa from outside the U.S.
- It is highly recommended that you renew your visa from your home country.
- If you are not able to travel to your home country, then you need to contact the closest U.S. Embassy or Consulate to check if they process third country nationals.
- If you have been arrested or convicted of a crime within the U.S., you are at risk for having your visa revoked.
- While it is never recommended to try to re-enter with an expired visa, if you are traveling to Canada, Mexico, or the Caribbean for less than 30 days, you may be able to re-enter the U.S. even with an expired visa due to “automatic revalidation”.