While you may experience a visa renewal process similar to your original visa application, major changes went into effect at all US Embassies and Consulates worldwide in 2010. Most US Embassy and Consulate websites offer excellent information describing the new requirements of the F-1 visa process: http://www.usembassy.gov/. If you have questions or concerns regarding how to apply for an F-1 visa, we strongly suggest that you contact the US Consulate or Embassy where you intend to apply for your visa. Please note that it's NOT possible to renew your F-1 visa from within the US.
If you would like to apply for a visa at a US Consulate or Embassy in a country that is not your country of citizenship or lawful permanent residence, please research the specific visa requirements that the Consulate or Embassy may have for "Third Country Nationals."
It is possible that it will be more difficult, and in some cases impossible, to obtain a visa from a US Consulate or Embassy that is not located in your country of citizenship or lawful permanent residence. You should contact the Consulate, inform them of your country of citizenship, and ask: (1) if they will accept and consider your application, and (2) approximately how long it will take for the visa to be issued, if approved. In order to process your visa application the consular official will have to be able to evaluate the ties that you have to your country of citizenship or lawful permanent residence.
If you apply for an F-1 visa at a US Embassy or Consulate while in Canada, Mexico, or the adjacent islands, you will not be allowed to take advantage of the Automatic Visa Revalidation (AVR) provision to return to the US. See definition of AVR below. If your visa application is denied in Mexico, Canada, or the adjacent islands, you will be required to travel elsewhere, most likely your home country, to re-apply for the F-1 visa in order to return to the US.
Definition of AVR: Your expired U.S. entry visa is considered to be automatically extended to the date of reentry provided that the visa has not been cancelled, and you have not applied for a new visa. To take advantage of AVR your travel must be to contiguous/adjacent entities for less than 30 days.
The adjacent islands include: Saint Pierre, Miquelon, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Bermuda, the Bahamas, Barbados, Jamaica, the Windward and Leeward Islands, Trinidad, Martinique, and other British, French, and Netherlands territory of possession in or bordering on the Caribbean Sea.
To renew your F-1 visa, you will need to submit the following documents to a US Embassy or Consulate. Forms can be downloaded or obtained from any US Consulate.
Below is a list of documents that are standard parts of a visa application. Some of these should be prepared before you depart the US. Please note that this is not a comprehensive list. You should research the specific F-1 visa application requirements on the website for the Consulate at which you will apply for your visa because there can be some variation.
Commonly required documents include:
1. Form DS-160, the Online Non-Immigrant Visa Application
2. Application Fee - You should review on-line the current amount of this fee and payment options.
3. One Photograph - Please review on-line how your photo should be submitted. Photo specifications are typically 2 inches square (51 x 51 mm) showing a full face without head coverings against a light background.
4. Passport - This must be valid six months into the future.
5. Your F&M I-20, and all previous I-20's including any that were issued at another institution. You may also need to request a travel signature if you have one that will be older than one year at the time you submit your visa application.
6. Proof of continued enrollment at F&M - The Registrar's Office can provide an Enrollment Verification Letter. Visit here for details: http://www.fandm.edu/registrar/features/enrollment-verification
7. F&M transcript - also provided by the Registrar's Office. Instructions for requesting a transcript can be found here: http://www.fandm.edu/registrar/features/academic-transcripts
If you transferred to F&M from another institution, obtain a transcript from that institution as well.
8. Original financial documents proving the availability of sufficient funds. These should be no older than six months at the time of your visa application.
a. F&M financial aid award letter
b. Proof of other sources of funding verifying the amount and availability of funding for the upcoming semester or academic year. This could be family funds, loans, or government scholarships.
9. Documents that demonstrate your intent to return to your home country after you complete your studies, that is documents that demonstrate your non-immigrant intent. If you can show your social and economic ties to your home country.
10. I-901 Fee Receipt (for the SEVIS fee you paid already)
For more details regarding the F-1 visa application process, please review the information provided by the Department of State on their website: http://travel.state.gov/visa/temp/types/types_1268.html