|If you will need a new visa to return:
If you plan to leave and re-enter the United States and will need a new visa, please read this information carefully. There has just been an important change in visa application procedures.
This affects people applying for a new visa AND people applying to renew a visa. It may mean that obtaining a visa will take longer.
Here is the information about the change:
When you apply for a visa, you fill out form DS-156, the application for a nonimmigrant visa.
IMPORTANT CHANGE: all MALE non-immigrant visa applicants between the ages of 16 and 45 must ALSO fill out a new form, DS-157.
Consular officers have also been given the discretion to require the form to be completed by applicants outside this group, on a case-by-case basis. For example, female applicants could be required to fill out the form.
After you fill out the form, a security check (background check) MAY be required. If the security check is required, it may take 3 weeks to one month to complete and is usually valid for one year. (In other words, if you travel and apply for a visa again within a year you might not need to have the security check repeated.)
Additionally, as we previously reported, shortly after September 11, the Department of State began to require that all men between the ages of 16 and 45 from approximately 26 countries with large Arab and Muslim populations be subject to a waiting period on nonimmigrant visa applications as their applications are checked against FBI databases. The enhanced security procedure was expected to generally add 20 days to the wait for a visa.
The list of countries is believed to include the following: Afghanistan, Algeria, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Malaysia, Morocco, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, the United Arab Emirates and Yemen. While Turkey was reported to be on the list initially, more recent reports are that it is not on the list. Bangladesh, however, not included in initial reports, is apparently on the list. Please note, however, that the list of countries has not been formally published by the State
We do not know if students and scholars who leave and re-enter the U.S. and DO NOT need a new visa will be affected in any way by this change. We will inform you as soon as we ourselves receive more details.
For More Information:
NAFSA: Association of International Educators
A copy of Form DS-157 and two State Department field cables explaining its use
If you plan to travel within the United States:
The International Center advises carrying your Form I-94, your passport and your I-20 or IAP-66 with you. Form I-94 is a little white card that is sometimes stapled into your passport.
For many years, a regulation has existed which said that international visitors to the U.S. (including students and scholars) must carry their "registration document" with them. This regulation was not very well known and was rarely enforced. With increased security precautions, particularly at airports, the International Center advises students and scholars to make sure that they are in compliance with this regulation. The "registration document" for F-1 students and J-1 students and scholars is Form I-94.
Note: It's also an excellent idea to make copies of these important documents and keep them in a different place from your original documents.
If you would like would like more information about these regulations, please refer to the
NAFSA: Association of Internationl Educators
regulations themselves are found in two places on the Immigrantion
and Naturalization website, in Section
264 (e) of the Immigration
and Nationality Act and in Section
264.1 of the Title
8, Code of Federal Regulations (8 CFR).