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All applicants for a U.S. visa stamp must apply through a U.S. consulate or embassy. It is not possible to apply for a visa stamp in the United States. Appearing for a personal interview is also required.
Note: Canadian citizens are not required to apply for a visa stamp.
The length of the visa, as well as the number of entries allowed, is determined by the U.S. consular officer and by agreements between the U.S. and your country of citizenship. The expiration date on your visa stamp may not match the end date of your degree program and will not cover the full length of study. You may stay beyond the expiration date of a visa stamp as long as the visa document (Form I-20, Form DS-2019, or Form I-797) remains valid.
If your visa stamp has expired, you will need to apply for a new visa stamp on your next visit outside the U.S. through the same process as your initial visa application, at a U.S. embassy. It is not possible to renew a visa in the United States. Visas are issued only by a U.S. consular officer in a U.S. embassy or consulate outside the United States.
Applying for a new visa stamp usually requires several weeks so you must plan your travel accordingly. If you are from one of the countries now requiring additional name check/security screening or in a high technology or technologically sensitive field, you may be subject to processing delays of 4-12 weeks. Please check with the Visa & Immigration Services Administration (VISA) office.
Applying for a visa in a third country
It is possible for most international visitors to apply for a new visa in a country that is not their home country. Be sure to follow all U.S. embassy guidelines for applying. Additional wait time is possible if security checks are needed
If you plan to visit Canada or Mexico to apply for a U.S. visa, it is particularly important that you check the website of the U.S. consulate to which you will submit your application. You will find instructions about how to make the visa appointment.
If you are from one of the countries now requiring additional name check/security screening or in a high technology or technologically sensitive field, you will want to think carefully about applying for a U.S. visa in a third country.
Before you begin the visa stamp application process, you must have the following documents specific to your immigration status: