INTERNATIONAL STUDENT AFFAIRS OFFICE

F1 VISA

F-1 Entry Visa Stamp Has Expired
F-1 Visa Application in Canada or Mexico

It is possible to apply for a visa at a US consulate in Canada or Mexico. However, individuals who apply for a visa while in Canada or Mexico are not eligible to reenter the U.S. under Automatic Revalidation (see definition below). Consequently, students must be prepared to return to their home country from Canada or Mexico if the entry visa application is denied.

Students who have overstayed their visa in the U.S. are not eligible to apply for a new entry visa stamp in a third country.

Automatic Revalidation: The ability to reenter the U.S. from a contiguous country with an expired (not cancelled) entry visa stamp,valid I-20ID or SEVIS I-20 and I-94 when the stay in the contiguous country has been less than 30 days.

Note: Individuals from the following countries are not, under any circumstance, eligible for Automatic Revalidation: Iraq, Iran, Syria, Libya, Sudan, North Korea and Cuba. Individuals with a “Cancelled” entry visa stamp are not eligible for Automatic Revalidation.

Security Clearance

Students who are required to go through a State Department security clearance will need to remain in Canada or Mexico until they receive a decision on their visa application. Security clearance screenings will minimally take 20 days and may take as long as 6 months. Security Clearance screening is triggered by nationality, country of citizenship, countries visited in the past and the field of study or expertise.

Visa Application Supplemental Form

A supplemental form (DS-157) has been created to accompany the Non-Immigrant Visa (NIV) Application. This form must be completed by all male NIV applicants between the ages of 16 and 45 regardless of nationality and regardless of the country where the application is submitted. View this form at DS-157.

 
Tourist Visa for Canada or Mexico Required?

Students must determine if they will need a tourist visa to enter Canada or Mexico. Contact the country’s consulate or embassy in the U.S. to inquire about their government’s visa requirements or check the web sites:
Canada, Mexico.

It may take a few weeks to obtain a tourist visa so students are advised to look into this matter well ahead of their intended departure date.

 
Application for an F-1 Entry Visa Stamp

The U.S. consulates in Canada and Mexico require pre-arranged appointments. For information on the on-line visa appointment process.

Access information on US Consulates in Canada.

 
Embassy/Consulate Requirements

Minimally, a student will be required to provide the documents listed below. View the post’s website for additional requirements.

  • SEVIS-generated I-20 that accurately reflects the degree program, major, and financial resources and contains a valid reentry signature on page 3
  • documentary evidence of the financial resources
  • a transcript from each school attended in the U.S.
  • evidence of a student’s intent to return home upon the completion of studies in the U.S.
  • Employment Authorization Document (EAD) if authorized Optional Practical Training
  • student may also want to present a letter from his/her academic adviser that states s/he has maintained good progress in the program of study, etc.

There are no guarantees that a student will be successful in obtaining an entry visa stamp, even if the student had previously been successful in securing an entry visa. The risk of denial is higher if:

  • student has violated his/her legal status
  • student has overstayed a visa (overstays are not eligible to apply for a visa in a third country)
  • student is authorized post-completion Optional Practical Training
  • student is making a visa application in a country other than home country

CAUTION: A visa application denial is highly likely and the Office of International Student Afairs advises students not to depart the U.S. under the following circumstances:

  • student is engaged to or married to a U.S. citizen
  • student has a petition filed for permanent residence
  • student has close family members (parents, siblings) who hold permanent residence>

Applying for a SEVIS I-20

F-1 students who currently possess a SEVIS I-20 should insure that the document has a valid reentry signature on page 3. If the information on the document remains accurate, the student can use the document in the visa application process.

F-1 students pursuing a program of study at Buffalo State who do not possess a SEVIS I-20 will need to request the document from the Office of International Student Affairs.  The Office of International Student Affairs can provide the information and form(s) required for the new I-20 or the form.

 Submit to the Office of International Student Affairs:

  • Financial Certification Statement  (for Graduate School Students Only)
  • Transmittal Form Completed by the Graduate School (for Graduate School students who are changing degree programs – not required if student is continuing same program)
  • Financial Certification Statement (for Undergraduate, Non-Degree Seeking & Professional School Students)
  • International Student Payroll Verification Letter, if employed on campus (download required format)
  • Unofficial Transcript
  • Passport
  • Employment Authorization Document (EAD) if authorized Optional Practical Training

Exception from a Full Course of Study Form(s), if needed. Note: Undergraduate and first year graduate students must submit Exception forms to the Office of International Student Affairs.

 
Reentry into the United States

Present to U.S. Inspection: SEVIS I-20, passport with valid F-1 entry visa, and I-94. The Office of International Student Affairs recommends that students carry all previously issued I-20’s in the event they are asked to document their F-1 history as well as a transcript from each school attended in the U.S.