Can an F-1 visa from France be renewed in Canada?
February 4, 2015 4:22 PM   Subscribe

Can a student from France with an F-1 visa, attending a university in the United States, renew his visa in Canada (rather than having to return to France)? It is my understanding that students from some countries can renew at the U.S Embassy in Canada, but is this the case for French students?
posted by ainsley to Education (3 answers total)
Legally it can be done, but whether it will be approved in practice depends on that embassy or consulate's policy (which in turn usually depends on the level of fraud and abuse at that location). Because post policy can change quickly, your best bet would be to contact the embassy in Canada with this question.

Reading into your question a bit more, it's worth pointing out that a student can legally stay in the US after the visa has expired. The visa is simply permission to apply to enter the US at the port of entry - the legal length of stay is determined by USCIS. So say you finish your course of study but then apply for OPT, are approved, and extend your I-20 form, then it doesn't matter if the actual visa is expired. However, as soon as you leave the country, you will need a new unexpired visa in order to re-enter.

The above is relevant if the student is trying to apply in Canada instead of France because it's closer and they don't want to make the trip - if the student lives in or needs to be in Canada for some reason, then they should defintely go ahead and check with the embassy before leaving the country with an expired visa.
posted by exutima at 4:58 PM on February 4, 2015

As exutima said, the best thing to do would be to contact the embassy in Canada and see what they say.

I'd really, really recommend the student get things in order well before his visa expires: I'm not an immigration expert by any means; however, I am involved with immigration activism and have seen the hell people often have to go through for staying on an expired visa. It may be a pain to have to leave and re-apply in France, should it be necessary, but it's better than the possibility of not being able to come back.
posted by smorgasbord at 7:50 PM on February 4, 2015

Response by poster: Thank you for the responses so far! The reason for wanting to renew in Canada (if possible) is because he lives in a state close to Canada and it would save the time/expense of returning to France. Of course, he will go back to France if that is legally necessary. Either way, when he returns, he will be on OPT with an I-20 from a US university. The current visa expires in about 6 months.

The question is specifically, can someone whose home county is France renew in Canada (because I understand that citizens of some countries cannot, but can't find a list anywhere saying which countries can/cannot.)

Your answers suggest it is possible and I will ask him to call the Embassy - as situations can certainly vary according to the individual.

Further responses are most welcome if anyone has experience with this. Thank you so much!
posted by ainsley at 9:40 PM on February 4, 2015

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