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Office of International Services
Teachers College, Columbia University
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Office of International Services

Travel > Applying for a New US Visa

Applying for a New US Visa

U.S. entry visas are only issued at U.S. consulates outside of the United States and are only necessary for the purpose of entering/re-entering the United States. You do not need a valid F-1/J-1 visa to stay in the U.S. as an F-1/J-1 student, but you do need a valid visa to return to the U.S. as an F-1/J-1 student (exception: see information about travel to Canada, Mexico, and the Caribbean above), whether to continue studies and/or post-completion Academic Training/OPT.

If your visa has or will expire, and if you plan to travel, you may need to apply for a new F-1/J-1 visa at a U.S. consulate prior to returning (note: Canadian citizens are not required to have entry visas). Plan carefully, as waiting times and application procedures may be lengthy. In general, you will need the following in order to obtain a new F-1/J-1 visa:

1)    An unexpired passport valid at least six months into the future
2)    An unexpired I-20/DS-2019 from Teachers College with a re-entry endorsement (travel signature) signed by the Office of International Services; the travel signature should be recent, just prior to your visa application
3)    Recent financial documents (bank letters, scholarship letters, etc.) showing that you have continued access to financial resources to support your education
4)    Evidence of continued full-time enrollment at TC, such as a transcript or transcripts
5)    Evidence of the SEVIS I-901 fee, if necessary (the SEVIS fee payment is charged to all students who started or resumed J-1 status after 9/1/2004)

Reference letters from the OIS or your department, while not absolutely necessary, may help in certain circumstances. Contact the OIS for more information.

Useful Web Sites for Applying for a New US Visa

•    http://www.unitedstatesvisas.us/ (Visa application information)
•    http://usembassy.state.gov/ (US consular web sites)
•    http://www.ice.gov/sevis/i901/index.htm (I-901 SEVIS fee information)
•    http://travel.state.gov/visa/temp/wait/wait_4638.html (Waiting times for visa appointments)

Office of International Services
Teachers College, Columbia University
Box 7, 525 W 120th Street
New York, New York 10027-6696
Phone: (212) 678-3939 ♦ ~ Fax: (212) 678-3990 ♦ Email: