Renew or Replace Your Documents

It is possible to renew or replace some of your immigration documents inside the U.S., but others, such as your F-1 or J-1 visa, can only be issued outside the U.S.

ISS can advise and, in some cases, assist with replacing lost or stolen documents. If any of your documents are ever stolen at any time, please contact ISS immediately.

Any time you update or replace your passport or visa, you should submit a copy to ISS.

Expiring Passport

If your passport is going to expire within one year, you should make plans to renew the passport. As an F-1 or J-1 student in the U.S., you are required to have a valid passport at all times. It is recommended that your passport be valid for at least 6 months into the future at all times.

To renew your passport, update your name or other biographical information, or replace a lost or stolen passport, contact the agency responsible for issuing passports for your home country to learn more about how to get a passport. You may contact your country’s embassy or consulate in the U.S. if you have no plans to travel home in the near future.

If you get a new passport, but you have a valid F-1 or J-1 visa in your old passport, you should travel with both passports. Submit a copy of your new passport identity page to ISS. You may be issued a new I-20 or DS-2019 if there has been a change to your legal name or other biographical information.

Stolen or Lost Passport

If your passport is lost or stolen, report the loss to the local police and get a copy of the police report. To replace your passport, contact your country’s consulate.

If your passport is lost or stolen outside the U.S., you must also apply for a new F-1 or J-1 visa at the nearest U.S. consulate after you get your replacement passport.

If your passport is lost or stolen inside the U.S., you must get a new F-1 or J-1 visa the next time you travel internationally in order to return to the U.S. as an F-1 or J-1 student. Remember, you can remain in the U.S. without a valid F-1 or J-1 visa as long as your passport, I-20 or DS-2019, and I-94 are valid.

If your visa has expired or you were approved for a change of status within the U.S. and you will be traveling internationally, you need to get a new visa from a U.S. consulate or embassy outside of the U.S. You cannot apply for a new U.S. visa inside the U.S.

You may remain in the U.S. with an expired F or J visa, as long as your passport, I-20 (or EAD card) or DS-2019, and I-94 are valid.

If you will travel to Canada, Mexico, or an adjacent Caribbean island (except Cuba), you may not be required to apply for a new F or J visa. You can find more information on the Travel to Another Country page.

You will need to prepare all of your travel documents for your visa application and interview. There may be additional requirements, including the DS-160 visa application, visa processing fees, and passport photos.

To Better Prepare
  • Plan in advance. You may experience unexpected delays. It is recommended that you apply for a visa 2-3 months before you intend to reenter the U.S.
  • Visit the website of the U.S. Embassy or Consulate you plan to apply at. You may also want to read the Department of State information on visa denials, and tips on how to apply for a visa.
  • Review information on how to make a visa appointment, and to check on visa wait times in the city you plan to apply. If you have applied for a visa and have been waiting for more than one month for the results of a security advisory opinion, please contact ISS.
  • It is always recommended to apply at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate in your home country (your country of citizenship or permanent residence).
Applying as a Third Country National (TCN)

You may be able to apply for an F or J visa at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate in a country that is not your home country. This is known as a “third country national” applicant because you are applying in a third country (not the U.S. and not your home country).

According to the U.S. Department of State, you are not eligible to apply as a third country national in Canada or Mexico if you have overstayed your legal stay in the U.S. In this case, you must apply for a new visa in your home country. You are taking a risk when you apply outside of your home country.

What are the risks?

  • Your visa could be delayed, which may extend your stay in the third country. This can be costly.
  • Your visa could be denied. If you do not have a valid F or J visa, you are not eligible to reenter the U.S. to continue as an F-1 or J-1 student. You may need to return home without reentering the U.S.

You will need to check the specific U.S. Embassy or Consulate eligibility requirements before you arrange your travel or schedule your interview appointment.

  • Is that location currently accepting Third Country National (TCN) applications for an F or J visa?
  • Does that location have restrictions for citizens of your home country?

You will also need to determine if you need a visa to enter the third country.

To replace a lost, stolen, or damaged I-20, following the steps below. If your I-20 or DS-2019 will expire and you need to extend the document, you must submit an I-20/DS-2019 Program Extension Request.  If the travel endorsement on your I-20 or DS-2019 will expire, you need to follow the instructions on our Get a Travel Signature page.

STEP 1: Submit the I-20/DS-2019 Reprint Request Form in Terra Dotta. 

In order to request a new I-20 or DS-2019, you will need a PDF of

  • your enrollment verification, or
  • your EAD card if you are currently on post-completion OPT or STEM OPT

ISS may take approximately 15 business days to issue a new I-20 or DS-2019. Our current processing times are updated on our contact page.

 STEP 2: Select your preferred mailing option

ISS will email your Wiscmail account (personal email account if you are on post-completion OPT or Academic Training) when your new I-20 or DS-2019 is ready. The email will include options to:

  • Pick up the document in person during ISS business hours
  • Authorize a friend to retrieve the I-20 or DS-2019 for you
  • Select a mailing option. If you are outside the U.S., it is recommended that you choose the express shipping option.

Please wait for the email from ISS before attempting to take one of the actions above.

You should get a new I-94 record each time you enter the U.S. Your I-94 should have an “admit until” date of “D/S” for duration of status. Your I-94 with “D/S” will remain valid as long as you continue to maintain valid F-1/J-1 student visa status.

There is no renewal of the I-94.

If your I-94 is lost or stolen, you can print a replacement I-94.