Visa

Most students enrolled as an international student at Seattle Central will have an F-1 or M-1 visa in their passport. If you applied for a change of status in the United States from a different visa category, you might not.   

The F-1 / M-1 visa is used to enter the United States to study at a college or university.  
 

Visa Renewals

If you wish to renew their F or M visa, you must do so outside the United States: it is not possible to renew the F or M visa in the United States. Typically, you must apply for a new visa in their home country, and not in a different country from where you permanently reside.
 

When to Renew a Visa

If you plan to remain in the United States for the full duration of your studies, then it is not necessary for your visa to remain valid. As long as your I-20 form has not expired, and you are maintaining student status (full-time study, satisfactory progress, etc.), then you are visa can expire with no consequences.  
 
Your visa must be valid if you plan to travel outside the United States, and re-enter the country as an F-1 student. If your visa is not valid at the time you re-enter, then you may not be allowed to return to the United States.  
 
Exception: F-1 and M-1 students may normally re-enter the United States after a visit of less than 30 days to Canada or Mexico, so long as they have a passport, I-94 card and signature on page 3 of their I-20 form. The visa does not have to be valid. There are exceptions to this situation – please speak with an advisor in the International Education Programs (IEP) Office if you have additional questions.