Applying for and Renewing a Stanford-Sponsored F or J Student Visa
To study at Stanford, international students from any country (other than Canada) must apply for an F or J visa stamp at a United States embassy or consulate in their country of citizenship. When going to that embassy or consulate to apply for your Stanford-sponsored F or J visa, you must have:
- Your approved form I-20 (for an F visa) or DS-2019 (for a J visa) issued by Stanford.
- Some students may be sponsored by another institution or agency (e.g., Fulbright) and would have the approved form issued by that institution.
- Your SEVIS fee (I-901) receipt. Canadians must also pay this fee.
- If you are transferring from another school, you do not need to pay the SEVIS fee again.
- Your proof of financial support for the time you are in the U.S.
- Your valid passport. Your passport must be valid for at least the period of your Stanford program. Depending on the country that issued your passport, it may have to be valid for at least six months beyond your Stanford program. See Countries That Extend Passport Validity for an Additional Six Months After Expiration for a list of countries for which the six-month rule does not apply.
- Your completed visa application form Form DS-160
Visit USEmbassy.gov to locate U.S. embassies, consulates, and diplomatic missions abroad. Find the embassy or consulate website where you plan to apply for a visa to find information on how to:
- Schedule a visa appointment.
- Pay the application processing fee.
- Review embassy-specific instructions.
The expiration date on your visa stamp may not match the end date on your I-20 or DS-2019. If your visa stamp expires before the end date on your I-20 or DS-2019, you can remain in the U.S. legally and renew your visa stamp during your next trip abroad.
When to renew the F-1 or J-1 visa status
Your I-20 or DS-2019 states the start and end dates of your academic program. If you are changing degree levels or need extra time to complete your program, you must apply for an extension of your I-20/DS-2019. Also, after the completion of your program, any application for post-graduation work authorization such as F-1 OPT/STEM OPT or J-1 Academic Training requires that your visa documents (I-20/DS-2019) be extended. In both cases, a visa stamp renewal is warranted if you travel outside the U.S.
If your visa stamp has expired and you and/or your dependents travel internationally, you most likely need to renew the student visa before re-entering the U.S. An exception to this is travel to locations covered by Automatic Visa Revalidation, which includes Canada, Mexico, and the adjacent islands (note that foreign nationals of certain countries do not qualify).
You can only renew your student visa at a U.S. embassy abroad. To do this, you would follow the same instructions as you did when first applying for your visa (see above).
If you are on an F-1 OPT/STEM OPT at the time of visa renewal, be sure to have your Employment Authorization Document (EAD) and your job offer for the visa interview.
Some consulates or embassies allow you to use a mail-in service from your home country. You can inquire about this option with the consulate or embassy at which you are seeking a visa.