Applying for a New Visa

If you know that you will need to apply for a new F or J visa while abroad, be sure to check the website of the U.S. consulate where you will be applying BEFORE you finalize your trip. For information on visa applications and the procedures of local U.S. Consulate offices, please go to Be aware that there have been a lot of changes in the ways U.S. Consulates process visa applications. Do not assume that what you have experienced in the past is still true. You must check the website or call the consulate to be sure. Appointments and interviews are required for practically all U.S. visa applications; the waiting periods are longer; there are new security checklists and clearance procedures; and many consulates are experiencing significant delays. In short, allow plenty of time for the visa application process; obtain as much information as possible in advance; and begin the process as soon as possible.

Visa Application Requirements

To apply for a new visa, you will need to complete the following forms:

  • DS-156 Non-Immigrant Visa Application
  • DS-158 Contact Info and Work History for Non-Immigrant Visa Applicants.
  • DS-157 Supplemental Non-Immigrant Visa Application (Male applicants only!)

Please note that consular officers reserve the right to require a DS-157 from any applicant and that any other form or supplemental documents may be requested. Unless otherwise stated, you will need one photograph 1 ½ inches square, showing your full face, without head covering, against a light background. You will most likely be required to prepay the visa fees and submit a receipt confirming the payment. You will need your current I-20 or DS-2019 and documents of financial certification. You should also have a Certificate of Attendance and a transcript from Ithaca College at hand. The U.S. Consular officer may ask you to show proof of binding ties to your home country and evidence that you plan to return after you complete your studies.


As of April 2002, the new DHS regulations state that any non-immigrant who chooses to apply for a new visa in Canada or Mexico (and who is not a citizen of that country) and whose application is denied, will not be permitted to re-enter the U.S. on an expired F or J visa. Keep this in mind if you are considering a visa application in Canada or Mexico and speak with us at OIP before you go.