Renewing Your U.S. Visa
To enter the U.S., all international students, with the exception of those from Canada, must have a valid visa upon arrival at a U.S. port of entry. To renew your visa, you must contact the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in your home country to make arrangements for your visa renewal appointment.
You must apply for a visa at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate while abroad. You are not able to obtain a new visa from within the U.S.
The ISSO recommends that you have the following documents when appearing for your visa renewal appointment:
Valid Passport (which is not due to expire for at least 6 months)
Copies of all your I-20s or DS-2019s
Enrollment Verification Letter
Financial documents which provide proof of sufficient funds as specified on your I-20 / DS-2019
If you are receiving funding from Brandeis, make sure to obtain an up to date letter from Student Financial Services or your department which specifies your scholarship, fellowship, loan or financial assistance.
Bank statements provided to the embassy officials must be original documents.
Any bank statement other than your personal account, must be accompanied by a signed sponsorship letter from the bank account holder.
Once you are in the U.S. and have been granted your F-1 or J-1 status, you may remain in the U.S. as long as you maintain that status regardless of the expiration date on your entry visa stamp. In other words, if you do not plan on traveling in and out of the U.S. for the duration of your F-1 or J-1 status, you will not have to renew the visa stamp.
Applying to Renew U.S. Visa in a Country Other Than Your Home Country
Applying for a visa in a country which is not your home country (called a "third" country) can be more difficult than applying at home. It may take more time to apply in a third country and there is a higher chance of denial. If your visa request is denied by a consular officer in a third country, you must return home to apply for a renewed visa before you can come back to the U.S.
As such, the ISSO recommends that international students seeking to renew their visa do so in their home country if possible.