I'll be joining a fully funded graduate program in the US next fall. However, I had planned to go early (mid June) to do research in the summer for a couple of months. I also received an official offer letter (with guarantee of summer funding) with June 16 as the start date.
So I applied for an F-1 visa with the following dates
- Coming to the US: 18 June 2016 (acc. to my flight)
- Leaving the US: 15 August 2021
The leaving date field could not be left blank so I took a period of 5 years (typical PhD completion time at the institution is 5~6 years). My passport expires in October 2021.
However, I just received the I-20 sometime back and the program start date on it is given as 1 August 2016 and the program end date is 1 August 2022.
Will I need an updated I-20 to obtain a visa starting 18 June or is the offer letter + current I-20 sufficient?
Also, can the passport expiration date be an issue? I was planning to renew my passport while re-visiting my home country (India) after 2-3 years.