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I am currently a F1 student staying in the United States. I am planning on travelling to Canada in a couple of days and am worried I might there might be issues during my reentry.

I have just transferred from a small town university to an elite university in my field. However, I had financial support in the smaller school which I do not have in this school. I am perfectly able to fund my education with my own savings, but I also have taken some loans just to keep some wiggle rooms. I have not started classes in this university.

I however was initially denied a visa into the United States with this University (say University A) and funding scenario last year (on basis of finances I suppose, but they handed me the 214b leaflet), so I came with full funding a semester later in a university B and studied for a semester. Now I have managed loans and am going to University A.

Will the CBP make problems while reentering the US from my 10 days conference attendance trip to Canada? I can show enough funds for the 2 years mentioned in my transfer funding i20 through loans and savings (the actual cost will be half of what's mentioned in the i20). Will there be problems since I was once denied visa for this university?

Should I just cancel this trip and stay in the US to complete one semester at least in new school?

I need urgent help. Thanks a lot!

  • I'm confused. You are in the USA, are you there on a valid visa or not? – gerrit Jul 25 at 16:54
  • It seems he has a valid status. In US, visa is a document to enter the country. You can enter even the last day just before the expiration. As you enter the country, you get a status, for a specific duration. As long as your status is valid,the visa doesn't matter any more, while staying in the country. – Granny Aching Jul 25 at 19:34
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Whenever you exit and re-enter country, you might be denied entry, even with a valid visa.

If your visa has expired, you will need to get a new visa to re-enter US. They might ask if you have ever been denied visa.

With your specific situation, you should go to the Foreign Students Office at your new university, and discuss the situation with them.

If you are not sure afterwards, and still want to travel, you should consult a lawyer specializing in immigration, and not any internet forum.

Remember that you have way fewer rights outside US than while you are in US.

Some explanation:

A visa is a document you receive before entering at an embassy or a consulate. Visa is necessary to enter the US, but not to stay. You can enter even the last day just before the expiration of your visa.

As you enter the US, they will grant you a status for a specific duration. As long as you have a valid status, it doesn't matter it your visa has expired. You can change from one status to another (example, student to temporary worker) without leaving the country and applying for another visa.

If you leave US, your status ends immediately, and you need a valid visa to re-enter. If your old visa hasn't expired, and you haven't changed status, you can re-enter with it.


Here's a hypothetical example:

A person applies at a US embassy for a tourist visa (B-2) on July 1st. The visa is valid to 3 months (exp October 1st).

He now has a valid visa, but he has no status.

He then travels to US. At the border he is allowed entry and granted B-2 status for 3 months.

He now has a valid B-2 visa and a valid B-2 status.

He visits a university and decides to enroll. He is accepted, and completes the paperwork with the university. He then applies for student status (F-1).

He is advised not to leave the country while the application is pending.

After the application is processed and approved, his status becomes F-1, but he still has a B-2 visa, which appears valid.

It is late August, and he goes on a trip to Canada. This ends his status.

To re-enter he needs a valid visa. Trying to re-enter with his B-2 visa would be a violation, because his intention is not to vacation, but to study.

So he needs to stop at a US embassy to get a new F-1 visa.

He re-enters with this F-1 visa, and is granted F-1 status.

During the next break, he travels back to his home country. Again, this ends his status.

Returning to US from the break, his F-1 visa (from Canada) is still valid, so he can re-enter, getting a new F-1 status.

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