If You Need to Renew OR Obtain a New Visa Stamp while outside the U.S

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, http://travel.state.gov/visa/fees/fees_1341.html. 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, http://www.usembassy.gov. 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 reverse side.

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.