What is a U.S. visa?
A: It is a permit that allows an alien to apply for
U.S. admission at its border and is indicated by a stamp on the alien's passport.
Q: How do I know my U.S. visa is
A: Check your visa for the expiration date and number of
entries to determine if your visa is valid. When you received your visa, you were
given a certain amount of time to apply for U.S. admission at its borders as well
as a certain number of entries. Your visa is no longer valid if it is beyond the
expiration date. If your visa is within the expiration date and there is still
an available entry, your visa is valid.
Kyu has a visa with a limit of two entries and she has used both entries. However,
her visa has not yet reached her expiration date. Kyu has an invalid visa since
she has a limited entry visa and has used all her entries, even though her visa
has not yet expired. Both conditions must be present for her visa to be valid.
Deegan has a visa
with a limit of two entries, and has one entry remaining. However, his expiration
date has passed. His visa is not valid since his visa has expired despite the
Q: If I do not
have a valid U.S. visa, may I return to the U.S.?
A: Generally, no. In
most cases, you must have a valid visa to return to the U.S.
Q: What is a valid U.S. status?
A: A valid U.S. status means that you are authorized by the USCIS
(formerly the INS) to remain within the U.S. during the authorized
period of time.
Q: What is the relationship
between a U.S. visa and U.S. status?
A: A visa is a permit that gives
you permission to apply for U.S. status at the border for U.S. admission. U.S.
status gives you permission to remain within the U.S. Generally, an alien may
not obtain U.S. status without first obtaining a visa. First, an alien must
obtain a visa at a U.S. Consulate office located abroad. Once the visa is obtained,
the alien applies to the USCIS at U.S. borders for U.S. status (i.e., permission
to remain in the U.S.).
Q: Is it possible
to have an expired U.S. visa but a valid U.S. status?
A: Yes. If an alien
is granted permission to remain within the U.S. at the border, he/she has a valid
If the expiration date for the alien's permission to stay in
the U.S. is later than the expiration date for the alien's visa, the alien has
a valid U.S. status but an expired visa.
I am here in the US with a valid status and do not have a valid visa. If I apply
a visa at a U.S. Consulate in my home country, do I risk not being able to obtain
A: Yes, obtaining a visa from an U.S. Consulate is not guaranteed.
A U.S. Consular may approve or deny your application for a visa for any reason.
Q: What is Visa Revalidation?
A: Visa Revalidation is a procedure where aliens with a valid U.S. status who
wish to travel outside the U.S. for a brief period of time may renew their visas
without leaving the U.S. provided they qualify.
What are the benefits of Visa Revalidation?
A: There are two (2) benefits.
First, an alien with an expired visa may renew his/her visa (provided he/she meets
the qualifications) without having to face the risk of being denied a visa and
prohibited from returning to the U.S. Second, Visa Revalidation is relatively
inexpensive, compared to other ways of obtaining a visa (i.e., going to one's
home country to apply for a visa or applying for a visa through a third country).
Q: How do you apply for Visa Revalidation?
A: There are two methods to obtain a Visa Revalidation. You can either apply through
the U.S. Consulate where you obtained your original visa or you can apply through
the State Department located in Washington, D.C.
How do I qualify for Visa Revalidation through the U.S. Consulate?
In order to be eligible for Visa Revalidation through the U.S. Consulate, you
must meet the following requirements:
- You must apply for visa revalidation
at the U.S. Consulate where you have obtained your original visa;
- You must have a valid passport; and
- You must be prepared to travel to the
U.S. Consulate for an interview if required.
Each Consulate may have its own additional requirements as well.
How do I qualify for Visa Revalidation through the State Department?
In order to be eligible for Visa Revalidation through the State Department, you
must meet the following requirements:
must be in either E, H, L, O, or P status; and
passport must be valid for at least six (6) months; and
must have had a E, H, L, O, or P visa; and
visa must either be valid for sixty (60) days or less; or
visa must have expired for no more than twelve (12) months; and
must travel abroad for only a short time period and intend to return to the U.S.
with the reissued visa.
Q: Which method of Visa Revalidation
A: It depends. In many situations, Visa Revalidation through the
U.S. Consulate is the only option available for an alien who wants
to renew his/her visa. For example, this is the only option for
an alien who has a visa that expired more than twelve months ago.
However, if an alien is eligible for both processes, the State Department
process is preferred. The State Department does not require an interview
and does not require you to send your passport via international
What is the procedure for Visa Revalidation through the State Department?
A: The visa reissuance papers are prepared and sent to the State Department's
Visa Office in Washington, D.C. Upon receipt of the papers, the State Department
begins processing the case.
I qualify for Visa Revalidation and I submit all documents required for Visa Revalidation
to the State Department, am I guaranteed that my visa will be renewed?
A: No. The State Department has discretion to issue or not issue the visa.
Q: Once the papers are submitted to the State
Department, how long does the process take?
A: Generally, the process can take anywhere from twelve (12) to
fourteen (14) weeks.
If I would like to retain Z&A to assist me in revalidating my visa through the
State Department, what documents do I need to provide?
A: To have your
visa revalidated, you must submit the following:
- Valid passport (must be valid for at
least six months); and
- Previous E, H, L, O, or P visa on your
valid passport; and
- Original I-94 or if your I-94 expired,
a valid I-797A approval notice from the INS, BCIS, or USCIS indicating
the applicant's current employer and showing the approved extension
of U.S. stay for the alien; and
- Photograph meeting these
- Letter of support from the employer or
- A self-addressed, stamped, or pre-paid
Additional documentation may be required. It is advisable to consult
with an experienced and competent attorney to make sure that all
documentation for your case is obtained.
If I filed an immigration petition and my non-immigrant visa expired, may I obtain
a new visa through Visa Revalidation through the State Department?
It depends. If an immigrant visa will be available to you within six (6) months
of the date you are seeking Visa Revalidation, then the State Department will
not issue you another non-immigrant visa.
Can an attorney assist me in obtaining a visa through Visa Revalidation?
A: Yes. An attorney can draft a petition letter on behalf of your company and
help you prepare all required documentation you need to submit to the State Department.
Z&A has a staff of experienced attorneys who can draft the necessary letters and
assist you in your document preparation.
Q: I am living in California, but your office is headquarted
in Houston, Texas. Could you handle my Visa Revalidation case?
A: Yes. Z&A is headquartered in Houston, TX, and has a branch
office in Chicago, IL, but we handle immigration cases for clients
located throughout the U.S. by using the latest technology.
Please click here to see
the map of our clients'
locations in the United States.
How much do you charge to prepare a Visa Revalidation application?
Our fee is $500 plus filing fees.
What is a Third Country Visa?
A: It is a visa to the U.S. obtained in
a country that is not your home country. Usually, it refers to a visa application
or visa obtained from an U.S. Consulate located in Canada or Mexico. For more
information about Third Country Visas, please click
Q: What are the differences
between a Third Country Visa and Visa Revalidation through the State Department?
A: The difference lies in where you go to renew your visa. Visa Revalidation requires
approval from the U.S. State Department, whereas a Third country Visa requires
a visit to a third country to obtain a new visa.
Between Visa Revalidation through the State Department and Third Country Visa,
which is preferred?
A: Since you do not need to leave the U.S, Visa Revalidation
through the State Department is preferred, provided you meet all qualifications.
Anna is out of
U.S. status. Carrie is unable to qualify for Visa Revalidation through the State
Department since she is out of status and does not have a valid E, H, L, O, or
out of status in the U.S. Fred may not renew his visa through Third Country Visa
since it is prohibited by the Consular shopping bar rule. The exception to this
rule applies if the alien is out of status due to technical reasons.
For more information about Third Country Visas, please
Sung is in F-1 status. His visa expires in a month, and his passport is valid
for a year. Sung is ineligible for Visa Revalidation through the State Department
because it is open only to those who are in E, H, L, O, or P status. His best
alternative is to apply for a Third Country Visa after his visa expires.
For more information about Third Country Visas,
please click here.
Nina's status has recently changed from F-1 to H-1B. Nina wants to obtain an H-1B
Visa. The State Department requires that you have already had a visa in the same
category that you seek to revalidate. Nina cannot use Revalidation through the
State Department since she is applying for an H Visa for the first time after
a change of status petition has been granted.
Lance meets the technical requirements for Visa Revalidation through the state
except he does not have any specific travel plans. Lance may renew his visa through
the State Department since he meets all requirements. Lance intends to travel
abroad at some point in the future and re-enter the U.S. using the reissued visa.
Emil is in
J-1 status. His visa expired less then twelve (12) months ago and his passport
is valid for eight (8) months. Emil is ineligible for Visa Revalidation through
the State Department since the option is only available for those who are in E,
H, L, O, or P status. His best alternative may be to apply for a Third Country
Visa once his visa expires.
information about Third Country Visas, please click
For more information about
Visa Revalidation, please refer to the following links
Frequently Asked Questions about Visa Revalidation
Articles & News on Visa