Visa Stamp Renewal

Visa processing times vary widely depending on the country and time of year, and some applications may undergo a rigid and time-consuming background check. If you are subject to a background check, there is little Northwestern can do to speed up the process. Therefore, we suggest scheduling your appointment as soon as you receive your I-20 or DS-2019, no sooner.

U.S. consulates and embassies will issue F-1 and J-1 visa stamps no earlier than 120 days prior to the start date listed on the I-20 or DS-2019. Once you receive your visa, you may enter the US no earlier than 30 days prior to the program start date.

See the Consular Electronic Application Center for specific requirements. General requirements include:

  • Non-Immigrant visa application DS-160
  • Valid I-20 or DS-2019 from Northwestern.
  • Valid passport.
  • At least two passport-style photographs, taken recently. See embassy web site for specifications
  • Proof that you have permanent residence outside the U.S.
  • Current and original financial documentation.
  • A copy of the marriage certificate and/or birth certificate if your spouse and/or child are applying for the F-2/J-2 separately.
Pre-Departure Resources: Consular Resources:

Information for Canadian Citizens

Canadian citizens do not need an F-1 or J-1 visa stamp to enter the United States. However, Canadian citizens are required to carry the following when entering in student status:

  • I-20 or DS-2019;
  • Proof of SEVIS fee (I-901) payment; and
  • A valid passport.

It is a good idea to bring your letter of admission to Northwestern, and a copy of your financial documentation with you when you cross the border.

Canadian Landed Immigrants need to apply for the F-1 or J-1 visa at the nearest U.S. consulate or embassy.