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I am an alien-student with a F1-visa stamped on my passport on 9th March 2020. The earliest admission date mentioned on my I-20 is 11th April 2020.

But due to COVID-19, I never happen to depart to the U.S. Now I am planning to depart for next semester either in Summer track Two or in Fall 2020. My question is how long my visa remains valid ?

(Since I have not utilized the visa for entry, I am curious if rule of 5 months outside of the U.S. still applies in my case before the SEVIS record is expired and new visa is required.)

  • "how long my visa remains valid": What is its expiration date? – phoog Jun 11 at 20:36
  • Expiration date on F1-visa is not the only date that makes F1 visa to get expired. There are other factors involved in it too. For instance if one remains outside of the U.S. for consecutive five months then automatically new visa is required no matter whether or not expiration date is still valid. – kaka Jun 13 at 10:33
  • Why this question is transfered from Travel Exchange to Expatriate? There is no question of expatriation here. It is solely a question about traveling on valid visa. I am residing in my own country, so no expatriation is involved here. – kaka Jun 13 at 10:37
  • Your question was migrated because Travel.StackExchange deals with recreational and short-term journeys. "Expatriates" at Stack Exchange deals with longer terms of staying in the destination country. Being a student — and therefore staying for a term or a year or more — fits the "Expatriates" definition better. – DavidSupportsMonica Jun 15 at 16:56
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Your visa should be valid up to the expiration date. Your SEVIS information can be changed at any time by your school. They will adjust your start date based on when the semester starts. Your advisor (DSO) is more than able to adjust your information.

According to this guidance from the DHS regarding temporary absences, a visa is still valid even if a new i-20 is required. Therefore, I believe that the same would apply for a visa never used:

https://studyinthestates.dhs.gov/2017/01/questions-from-dsos-do-students-returning-from-temporary-absences-need-new-visas

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  • I don't think the visa automatically becomes invalid unless the bearer actually attempts to use it while the I-20 is not valid (or otherwise to use it improperly). – phoog Jun 11 at 20:38
  • That’s incorrect for the F1 visa. If one remains outside of the U.S. for five months then new visa is required no matter what so ever. – kaka Jun 13 at 10:35
  • @kaka Please see guidance from DHS: "The U.S. Department of State’s policy is that a student does not need to apply for a new F-1 visa if the student’s current visa is still valid, regardless of length of time outside the United States." You're getting confused with having to get a new i-20 if the student is absent for more than 5 months excluding study-abroad. studyinthestates.dhs.gov/2017/01/… – IanDan Jun 15 at 15:07

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