- If You Need To Renew OR Obtain a New Visa Stamp While Outside the US
In order to re-enter the U.S. in proper status, you must ensure that
you possess both a valid visa document and a corresponding valid visa
stamp. All U.S. Embassies and Consulates require in-person interviews by
appointment. Plan on at least 3-4 weeks to obtain a visa stamp. We
advise that you contact the U.S. Embassy or Consulate that you intend to
visit to confirm their current policy prior to leaving the U.S. and
plan your travel accordingly (http://travel.state.gov/visa/visa_1750.html).
Please note that the information on these websites may not always be
current in terms of how to apply for non-immigrant visas. A telephone
call is also advisable.
If you know that you will need to visit a U.S. Consulate or Embassy
for the purpose of renewing your visa stamp or obtaining a new visa
classification, you will be required to complete a visa application form
(Form DS-156, Nonimmigrant Visa Application). There is a reciprocity
fee for this form which varies according to \your country of
citizenship. Here is the link to find out what the reciprocity fee for
your country would be,
You may also be required to complete the following two forms: Form
DS-157, Supplemental Nonimmigrant Visa Application and Form DS-158.
Contract Information and Work History for Nonimmigrant Visa Application.
DS-158 is geared more for J-1 scholars. You can obtain \the
above-mentioned application forms from the Department of State website,
You must have a passport valid at least six months beyond your
requested stay in the U.S. You will need to present a recent photograph
(1-1/2 inches square (37 x 37 mm.) with your usual signature on the
The Department of State now requires a security clearance of males
and females of certain countries who are between the ages of 16 and 45.
To the best of our knowledge, these countries are: Afghanistan, Algeria,
Bahrain, Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Jordan,
Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Malaysia, Morocco, North Korea, Oman Pakistan,
Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, Turkey, the United
Arab Emirates and Yemen. The Department of State always reserves the
right, however, to request a security clearance of anyone. The security
clearance could take from 1-4 months to process.
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) makes a
distinction between two categories (Immigrants or Non-immigrants).
Immigrants come to the United States with the intention of residing here
permanently (they would enter the U.S. as permanent residents of the
U.S.). Nonimmigrants come to the United States for a temporary period
and intend to return to their country at the completion of their
temporary non-immigrant stay. As a general rule, USCIS presumes that
each alien applying for admission to the U.S. is an intending immigrant
unless the applicant can convince them otherwise. The burden of proof
rests with the applicant to demonstrate eligibility for a non-immigrant
visa or entry. Further, most non-immigrants must also demonstrate that
they have a residence in a country other than the U.S. which they do not
intend to abandon. There are exceptions for some visa categories which
have dual intent (such as H1-B). A Visa Stamp is not a guarantee for
entry into the United States. The bearer of a visa is subject to
inspection at the port of entry by U.S. Immigration officials who have
the authority to deny admission. Please have in your possession the same
documentation you presented to the U.S. Embassy when entering the U.S.
since the Inspector at the Port of Entry may request to see it.
- Applying for a US Non-Immigrant Visa Stamp at a US Embassy
The following steps are intended to prepare you for your visit to a
U.S. Consulate or Embassy when requesting a new visa stamp or extension
of an existing visa stamp. Be aware that you may be asked for additional
- Visa fee charge. If you are charged a fee, it is approximately
the same as that which is charged by your government to a United States
citizen for a similar type visa. You can check this link for reciprocity
- Your passport should be valid for at least 6 months longer than your intended period of stay in the United States.
- You will need to fill out a Nonimmigrant Visa Application Form
156. A separate application is required for each traveler, regardless of
age and whether or not more than one person is included in the same
passport. You may also be asked to complete a Supplemental Nonimmigrant
Visa Application Form 157. Department of State now requires security
clearances of males and females of certain countries who are between the
age of 16 and 45. Security clearances will cause delays in the visa
processing time. Apply as soon as possible so that you will be able to
arrive at Fletcher on time. Security clearances are taking between 1 and
4 months to complete. The U.S. Embassy reserves the right to request a
security clearance of anyone, prior to issuing a visa. You will also be
required to pay the SEVIS FEE of $100.00 prior to your appointment with
the U.S. Consulate/Embassy. Submit Form I901 and payment. You will need
to present a receipt for the payment when application is made for the
- You will need a recent photograph 1-1/2 inches square (37 X 37 mm.) with your usual signature written on the REVERSE.
See details here.
- Financial Documentation. If you are responsible for financially
sponsoring yourself, you will need to present a bank statement. IF your
stay in the United States is going to be financed by a parent or by
family funds, you will need a letter outlining their intent to support
you, as well as an official bank statement verifying that the funds are
available. If your financial sponsor is The Fletcher School, you will
need to send a copy of your documentation to cover the difference
between the amount of the award and the amount required to cover your
educational living expenses for one academic year (10 months).
As a rule, the law presumes that each
alien applying for admission to the U.S. is intending to immigrate
unless the applicant can establish that he or she is a bona fide
nonimmigrant under one of the nonimmigrant categories (such as F-1, F-2,
J-1, J-2, H-1, H-4, TN etc.) The burden of proof rests with the alien
applicant to demonstrate eligibility for a non-immigrant visa or entry.
Nonimmigrants must demonstrate that they have a residence in a foreign
country that they have no intention of abandoning and that they are
coming to the United States temporarily for some specific purpose.
Inspection at the U.S. Port of Entry
A visa does not guarantee entry into the United States. The bearer
of the visa is subject to inspection at the port of entry by U.S.
Immigration officials who have authority to deny admission. Therefore,
students should carry evidence submitted to the consular officer when
the visa was obtained for presentation to immigration inspectors at the
port of entry into the U.S. Do not pack this documentation in your
suitcase because you will not have access to it when needed.
SEVIS Tracking System
The tracking system is referred to as the Student and Exchange
Visitor Information System (SEVIS). All U.S. academic institutions are
required to use SEVIS. Students have been issued a student visa document
that is linked to the USCIS datatbase. While a student you must
maintain certain academic conditions in order to remain in legal status
with USCIS. The International Student Advisor will advise you on these
requirements when you arrive at Fletcher. Please also consult the
SEVIS website for more information.
Registration and Monitoring of Certain Nonimmigrants
Certain international non-immigrants are required to make specific
reports to USCIS. Please check the Special Registration page for
- What is the Visa Stamp in Your Passport
The visa stamp placed in your passport by a U.S. Embassy or Consulate
shows the period during which you may enter the United States. If the
date on the visa stamp expires while you are in the U.S., it need not be
renewed until after you leave the country and wish to return again,
provided that you maintain your legal status throughout your entire stay
in the U.S. This means that you must possess a valid visa document at
all times (i.e. Form DS-2019, Form IAP-66, Form, Form I-20, TN Visa
Stamp, Employment Authorization Document, etc.). The visa document is
only valid if you remain in full-time student status.
The I-94 Card (Arrival/Departure form)
When you enter the U.S. on a non-immigrant visa status (J-1, F-1,
H-1, O-1, TN, etc.) you are issued an I-94 card at the port of entry.
This card is also known as the Arrival/Departure form. It is a small
white card usually stapled to your passport. The card displays the port
of entry, visa type, and date of arrival. The I-94 card will usually
have “D/S” written on it, which stands for Duration of Status. The I-94
card may also have a date on it. The date usually corresponds to the
expiration date of your visa document. On occasion, however, the
Immigration Inspector at the Port of Entry may write a date shorter than
your intended stay if he/she feels that you did not provide appropriate
or complete visa documentation. Always review what is written on the
I-94 card each time you enter the U.S. If a date other than D/S is
written on the card, immediately contact Reiko Morris, International Student Advisor, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 617-627-3055. When you leave the U.S., you will need to give the I-94
card to the airport official. You will be given a new card upon
re-entering. Please remember to provide the International Student
Advisor with a copy of the card every time you re-enter the U.S. It is
not necessary to relinquish your I-94 card if you are traveling to
Canada or Mexico or any other contiguous territory for a period of less
than 30 days.
- Traveling to Contiguous Territories
“J” & “F” visa holders can travel to contiguous territories with
an expired visa stamp provided that their valid visa document (DS-2019
or I-20) has been signed by the International Student Advisor within a
four-to-six month period. An expired F or J visa stamp will be
considered automatically revalidated for re-entry from Canada, Mexico or
other contiguous territories if you:
- Are planning to re-enter the U.S. within a 30-day period
- Are re-entering the U.S. to continue in the same visa type and have maintained and intend to resume your “J” or “F” visa status
- Present a recently signed DS-2019 or a signed I-20 Form
- Have a valid passport, valid six months beyond your intended
stay in the U.S. as stated on your visa document (i.e. DS-2019 or I-20)
- Have a valid or expired “F” or “J” visa stamp in your passport
If you are a national of Iraq, Iran, Syria, Libya, Sudan, North Korea
or Cuba, you are not eligible to obtain a new visa stamp in a
contiguous territory nor will you be able to re-enter the U.S. with an
expired visa stamp. If you have been made subject to special
registration, it may be risky for you to try to obtain a U.S. visa stamp
at a U.S. Consulate/Embassy in a contiguous territory.
We are in the midst of constant USCIS changes relating to
travel. Changes in traveling and re-entering to contiguous territory are
expected. It is always advisable to check with the International
Student Advisor prior to traveling outside of the U.S. including travel
to contiguous territory.
LIST OF CONTIGUOUS TERRITORIES
Canada, Mexico and Adjacent Islands. Adjacent Islands are: Bahamas,
Barbados, Bermuda, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Jamaica, Leeward Islands
(Anguilla, Antigua, Guadeloupe, Montserrat, Nevis, St. Kitts and The
British Virgin Islands), Martinique, St. Pierre & Miquelon, Trinidad
& Tobago, Windward Islands (Dominica, Grenada, St. Lucia, St.
Vincent), as well as other British, French or Dutch Territories or
Possessions in or bordering on the Caribbean Sea.
- Documents Needed For Travel Pertaining To Your Particular Visa Category
If you are Studying at Fletcher in F-1 Status, you will need
- Your I-20 form recently signed by the International Student Advisor (signed within the last six months);
- A passport valid at least 6 months beyond the validity date of your Form I-20 (as listed on #5 of I-20);
If you are needing to extend or apply for a new visa stamp in your
passport at a U.S. Embassy, you must also carry proof of financial
documentation listed on the I-20 form. Be prepared for delays in
scheduling an in-person interview.
If you are a J-1 Exchange Student, you will need
- A recently signed Form DS-2019 (signed within the past 6 months)
- A passport valid at least 6 months beyond the validity date of #3 of your Form DS-2019.
If you need to extend or apply for a new J-1 visa stamp in your
passport at a U.S. Embassy, you must carry proof of the financial
documentation listed on your Form DS-2019. Be prepared for delays in
scheduling an in-person interview.
- Traveling to Canada
Applying for a Visa to Enter Canada
Canadian Consulate General
1251 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10020-1175
To obtain a visitor visa for Canada, you must apply directly to the
Canadian Consulate General in New York. Applications can be made by mail
or in person. Visa applications should be made one month before
departure. Applications made by mail will take 2-3 weeks to process,
unless subject to special processing. Applications made in person could
be processed the same day, if not subject to special review. Some
countries require at least 3 weeks to process. Click here to learn what
you must submit to obtain your Canadian visa.
If you are mailing your application, you must use overnight mail and
include a pre-paid return envelope with your application. Check the
Canadian web site for hours of operation to present your application in
ONCE YOU RECEIVE YOUR CANADIAN VISA, IF YOU ARE TRAVELING TO CANADA
FOR THE PURPOSE OF VISITING A U.S. CONSULATE TO OBTAIN A NEW U.S.
NON-IMMIGRANT VISA, YOU WILL NEED TO SCHEDULE AN APPOINTMENT IN ADVANCE.
U.S. Consulates in Canada: http://www.usembassycanada.gov
If you are a national from one of the following countries: Iraq,
Iran, Syria, Libya, Sudan, North Korea, Cuba, then you are not eligible
to get a new visa in a contiguous territory. You should only apply for a
new visa in your home country.
- Travel Warning for People With Pending Immigrant Applications (Green Card)
- If you have already applied to adjust your status to permanent resident, you must obtain Advance Parole (Form I-131, Application for Travel Document). Advance Parole is a formal way of requesting travel permission from USCIS prior to departing the U.S. to ensure proper re-entry. If you fail to do this, you may risk being unable to re-enter the U.S. Please discuss any foreign travel plans with an immigration attorney.
- US VISIT at Port of Entry/Exit
- Transportation Information for Travel in the US
No visa or passport is needed to travel within the United States.
However, you may need your passport as a form of official
Visit the following links for more information on transportation
Amtrak - Travel across the U.S. by
train! Discounts are available for students who are holders of a Student
Greyhound - Travel by bus; many
destinations available. Discounts are available for students who are holders
of a Student Advantage card.
Peter Pan - Travel by bus, many
destinations and departure times available. Terminal in Boston is located in
the South Station T-stop on the Red Line.
For Travel to New York City
Cabrera Transportation - This van service can pick you up
from anywhere on campus and drop you off anywhere in the Bronx or
Manhattan. Vans depart daily at 5AM, 12PM, and 4PM. Reservations must be
made in advance, and prices are about $25 one-way. For more information
call: Boston (617) 889-5058 or NYC (718) 456-5166
Travelpack USA – This bus service offers low fares for travel
to NYC. Buses depart almost every hour from Chinatown in Boston (42B
Harrison Ave.) and arrive at Chinatown in NYC (97 Bowery St.). Same day
roundtrip fare is $20 and other fares range from $10-$25 each way. For
more information visit their website at
www.travelpackusa.com or call toll-free: 1-(888)-881-0887
Fung Wah Transport Vans – This van service offers 14
departure times daily. Vans depart from Chinatown in Boston (68 Beach
St.) and arrive at Chinatown in NYC (139 Canal St.). Same day roundtrip
fare is $20, one way fare is $25, and roundtrip fare is $45. For more
information call: Boston (617) 338-0007 or NYC (212) 925-8889
Hampton Jitney – Travel by ferry from Thursday through Monday.
Several boarding locations available in New England and Long Island,
including Copley Square in Boston. One way fare is $59 and roundtrip
fare is $98. For more information or reservations visit their website at
www.hamptonjitney.com or call: Boston (800) 327-0732 or Long Island (631) 283-4600