I am an international student on F-1 Visa in the US. Does the Schengen Visa application require my I-20 to be valid for a minimum of 3 months after the travel end date?

From the consulate website

Alien Residence Card (Green-Card) or residence visa valid in USA with I-20/IAP-66 (except B-1, B-2), those documents must be valid for a minimum of three months from the expiration date of your visa.

It is not clear to me whether the 3-month requirement is only for the F-1 Visa or if it includes I-20 as well. In my case, my F-1 visa would be valid for the 3 months after my Europe travel but my I-20 would not be.

Thank you.

  • 1
    Do you plan to return to the US after your trip to wherever you are going? Under what status? – Michael Hampton Nov 30 '19 at 3:27
  • Yes, I plan to return after the trip. My I-20 will still be valid at the time of return but it expires 2 months after that. So my reentry part is fine but I'm concerned whether this will prohibit me from obtaining the Schengen visa in the first place – Ayush Sharma Nov 30 '19 at 15:13

Yes, since it seems that a valid I-20 is needed to re-enter the United States, it forms a part of the travel document that the Schengen Code requires to be valid 3 months after the expected exit from the Schengen Area.

So if your travel itinerary includes a return back to the United States, then the conditions of Article 6 (1)(a)(i) of the Schengen Code must be fulfilled.

The wording of your quote (which I found at a Spanish Consulate site) is slightly different than that of the Visa requirements pdf of the German Missions in the United States, where plus endorsed I-20 is stated and no meantion that the F-1 must be valid for a further 3 months.

The Schengen Code does not deal with the details of what is considered a valid foreign residence permit for reentry into that country.

The Schengen Code does require that the persons travel document must be valid to return after that person's visit plus 3 months (Article 6 (1)(a)(i)).

Based on the Wikipedia I-20 (form) article, a valid I-20 is needed to reenter the United States. So the I-20 will be considered part of the travel document.

Schengen VISA (all stays of up to 90 days)

  • Original of valid US alien registration card or valid US resident visa (type A, E, F plus endorsed I-20, G, H, I, J plus J1 document, L, O, R) and one copy

Travel and travel signatures
Whenever the student re-enters the United States after traveling, the student must have all of these at the time of arrival at the port of entry:

  • A valid passport (valid for at least six more months)
  • A valid F or M visa
  • A valid I-20 (i.e., an I-20 whose program end date has not yet arrived)
  • A travel signature on the I-20 (page 3) from the DSO that is at most one year old (six months in the case of students currently on post-completion Optional Practical Training)



  • Thank you for answering my question. To clarify, I will have a valid I-20 at the time of my return to the US after the trip but it expires in 2 months from then. And according to your answer, this means that the Schengen Consulate will not be accepting my application since the I-20 will not be valid in three months from the end of my trip? – Ayush Sharma Nov 30 '19 at 15:19
  • @AyushSharma Or they may issue a visa that expires 3 months before the I-20 expires. – Mark Johnson Nov 30 '19 at 15:24
  • Ah, but my trip ends on 3/29 (two months before my I-20 expires) and my dates, unfortunately, aren't flexible. In this case, they can't issue a visa expiring 3 months before. Do you think there is any way for me to make this trip possible? Thank you. – Ayush Sharma Nov 30 '19 at 15:49
  • @AyushSharma Since it is a rule that is written directly into the Schengen Border Code, no. I suppose getting the I-20 extended another month is not an option? In this matter the consulate officials will probably not have any other option. – Mark Johnson Nov 30 '19 at 16:00
  • I am going to look into extending the I-20 for another month. Really thankful for the detailed answers. This is my first time posting here and I'm blown away at how prompt and thoughtful the answers are! – Ayush Sharma Nov 30 '19 at 16:18

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