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I came to the US as an international student in 2015, and joined school A. My F-1 visa was valid until 2020. After a couple of years (in 2017), I changed schools to join School B. My I-20 for School B is valid until 2022. However, as my F1 visa, still showing school A, expires next year, I need to renew it this December.

  1. Do I need to go for a visa interview? I was told by a friend that visa renewals don't require interviews, unless you have changed schools. Is this true?

  2. Do I need any documentation from my current school (School B)? My I-20 still shows that it is valid until 2022.

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  • I'll just point out that you do not need to renew your visa to remain in the US. You only need a valid F-1 visa if you want to return to the US in F-1 status after leaving North America or traveling outside the US within North America for more than 30 days. You can renew after the current visa expires. You do need to make sure that your F-1 status remains valid, which has to do with your I-94 form. If your I-94 says "D/S" or "duration of status" then you only need to worry about the date on your I-20. If for some odd reason there is an "until" date on your I-94 then you must respect that. – phoog Oct 12 '19 at 15:27
  • @phoog- Thanks. I do foresee travelling out of the US multiple times in the near future though, for vacations and conferences and such. And I want to be able to re-enter each time – freebird Oct 12 '19 at 15:33
  • @phoog- Sorry, are you saying that if I travel outside of the US on an expired F-1 visa for less than 30 days, I can still enter the country without a problem? – freebird Oct 12 '19 at 15:34
  • Only if you travel to Canada or Mexico, or the Caribbean for 30 days or less. The term to look for is "automatic revalidation." (Automatic revalidation after travel to the Caribbean is only available for F and J visas.) – phoog Oct 12 '19 at 18:25

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