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I need to attend a conference in Italy this summer. I'm currently a J-1 student with a valid DS-2019, but my US visa has already expired. I read here that in order to apply for a Schengen visa, my US visa needs to be valid for at least 3 months. However my friend who had the same situation as mine was still able to go to Spain last October, and she even renewed her US visa from Spain. So is this a strict rule or could it get bypassed depending on the consulate that reviews my application?

UPDATE: I'm not sure about the reliability of the website I linked above, but from the documents check list on Detroit consulate's website:

Original and copy of Permanent Residence Card OR other US immigration document allowing re-entry into the United States. The US residence permit or visa should be valid at least three months beyond the intended departure from Schengen territory. International students must submit original and copy of F-1 Visa and valid re-entry ("travel") signature on your I-20.

I may misinterpret it, but does it mean that a re-entry signature on my DS-2019 is also acceptable?

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    The site you link to is not an official site. It is not a reliable source of information. – phoog Apr 4 '18 at 21:15
  • Oh I didn't know that it's not official. Anyway the Detroit consulate website also said the same thing. – user75850 Apr 4 '18 at 21:27
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Finally I was able to contact the Italian Consulate so I think I can answer my own question. They said that I can apply with my expired visa ONLY IF I can provide a ticket to my home country right after my trip and an appointment confirmation from the US Consulate/Embassy in my home country.

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So I was in a similar situation. I have been invited by a University in Venice to attend a workshop in June 2019. I am planning to travel to Italy with my family.

I used to be on an F1 student visa, but since graduation, I have transitioned into H1B now with current I797 Notice of action (valid until 2022) in hand. My wife and I don't have our passports stamped as we did not travel outside of the United States since 2016 (last time I entered as an F1 and my wife on F2 visa status).

I had an appointment last week at the Miami Italian consulate. They were asking for a valid visa stamp on the passport which I don't have as we have not traveled to my home country (India) and we intend to get the updated visa stamping done after my workshop in Italy.

Fast-forward two days >> So here is our experience at the Consolato Generale d'Italia in Miami. We went there with my wife and 1-year old child. We reached Miami 7:30 in the morning and went from there to the consulate. Our experience has been only positive. The staffs were highly accommodating given we were traveling with an infant. They asked us only the simple questions, and when asked about producing the long term visa document, I gave them my I797A Notice of Action, and they accepted it readily. Finally, we were ten-printed, and that's all. I am waiting for my Schengen visa in mail.

I hope my experience brings some hope to others who are in the same boat.

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Think through what the visa regulations are supposed to achieve.

  • They want to admit visitors who are genuinely visitors, i.e. people who will leave again.
  • They want to admit immigrants who are welcome to stay, i.e. who will fit in and contribute to the economy/society.

For visitors, one question is if they would want to leave again. There are relatively few people who would swap a legal resident status in the US for illegal status in the EU. So being a legal resident in the US, for some time after the proposed visit, is heavily in favor of the applicant.

They do not want visitors to apply at any consulate, based on rumors that some are "easier" than others. Applicants are supposed to go to the consulate where they live, i.e. where they are legal resident. I think that a consulate in the US will be found competent to evaluate your application, but that sill leaves the previous paragrapgh.

The site linked by user75850 in his comment requires one of the bullet points, with valid DS-2019 and Exchange visitors visa. Is yours valid?

That being said, the Schengen nations have a vast freedom to grant visa if they want to. But that's nothing you can demand, or even count on.

  • Thank you for your answer. As I said in the OP, my DS-2019 is still good until next year but my visa has already expired. That's why I'm not sure if I'm eligible to apply from the US or I will have to go back to my home country to apply for both visas. The later case obviously will be very inconvenient for me... – user75850 Apr 5 '18 at 18:49
  • I think the consulate in the US is responsible for your application now. They might be more likely to grant it if you had a longer US visa. – o.m. Apr 6 '18 at 5:01
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I am my wife are both Indian passport holders and were both on J1 VISA in the U.S. We had to attend a conference in France. After the conference, our J1 VISA would have been valid only for about a month, but we applied and got a Schengen VISA, attended the conference and came back to the US to complete our remaining term of one month!

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