Do I need to apply for a new F1 Visa or I can use my current F1 Visa and re-enter with just a new I-20?


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Situation: I had come to USA to pursue MBA (on F1 visa). Subsequently got my H-1B. Due to corporate restructuring lost my job hence departed within timeline on Mar'18.

I am now keen to pursue a Doctorate course with a different University starting Aug'19. My earlier F1 Visa is valid till Aug'20.

Request your guidance if i need to apply for a new F1 Visa or if I can use my current F1 Visa and re-enter with just a new I-20 (I am currently in India). Please note that the SEVIS ID of my F1 visa and new I-20 are different.

Looking forward to hearing from you at the earliest.

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  • 2 weeks later...

If it is more than 5 months (I think that's the limit) since you were in F1 status the F1 visa is no longer valid. You need a new F1 visa.

Essentially, after 5 months not in F1 status the SEVIS record is terminated, as is the visa.

From one university site (😞 "The guidance notes that when a student has been out of the country for more than five months, the student's F-1 visa will be considered to be invalid under current rules. Under DHS regulations, after an absence of more than five months, an alien is no longer admissible as a continuing student. Because a student who has been out longer than five months can be found inadmissible, the guidance states, that student's F-1 visa is subject to cancellation and should not be used, even though it remains valid on its face."

Edited by JoeF
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