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Immigration FAQs

Visa Stamp Questions


Q: My visa stamp is expiring. Do I need to travel outside the United States?

A: You do not need to travel outside the United States if the visa stamp in your passport is expiring. You only need to apply for a renewal of your visa stamp if you are outside the U.S. The renewal is applied for at a U.S. embassy or consulate.

Q: Is there any way to get a visa inside the U.S., or do I have to go back home?

A: It is not possible to get a visa stamp inside the U.S. It must be applied for outside the U.S. at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate. The application process is most efficient in your home country. (It is possible to renew the H-1B visa stamp in the U.S. under specific circumstances. Information about this process is available at:

Q: I have a visa stamp in my passport for another institution and I have transferred to Rockefeller in the same status. Do I need to apply for a new visa stamp for Rockefeller when I travel next time?

A: No. You can use the same visa stamp you were originally issued when you return to the U.S. to continue at Rockefeller, even though it was issued for study, work, or research at another institution.

Q: What happens if my passport expires and I have a valid visa in that passport?

A: This visa is still valid in the expired passport as long as you secure a new passport and you are still in legitimate status (F, J, H, etc.). Upon entry to the U.S., you must show both the expired passport with the valid visa, the new valid passport, valid DS- 2019, Form I-20 or Form I-797, and proof of financial support.

Q: I am Canadian. Do I need to get a visa stamp?

A: Canadian F-1 students and J-1 students and scholars are exempt from the visa requirement, but they do need a valid Form I-20 or DS-2019.


Q: I am here in J-1 status. Do I have to return to my home country for two years?

A: The requirement to return home, also known as rule 212(e) or the <93>home residency requirement<94> does not apply to all J-1 exchange visitors. Any one of the three conditions make the visitor subject:

  • Government funding
  • Skills list (to see if your country has a skills list visit)
  • ECFMG sponsorship (foreign medical graduates)

Q: Can you change to H-1B status if you are subject to the home residency requirement?

A: Yes, by obtaining a waiver. There are a four different ways to obtain the waiver: (1) the <93>no objection statement<94> from your home government; (2) the request by an interested government agency; (3) exceptional hardship to a U.S. citizen or permanent resident spouse or child; or (4) request by a designated State Department of Health or its equivalent. The most common application for a waiver that we see used is the <93>no objection statement<94> from your home country government. Instructions on applying for a waiver are available at:

It is more difficult to obtain a waiver if you have been to the U.S. under ECFMG sponsorship as a foreign medical graduate.

Q: Is a J-1 nonimmigrant who is subject to the 2-year foreign residency required to fulfill this requirement or obtain a waiver of this requirement before holding O-1 status?

A: No. The J-1 nonimmigrant is ineligible to adjust status in the United States, and so must travel outside the U.S. to apply for and obtain an O-1 visa stamp. However, the nonimmigrant does not need to fulfill the requirement or obtain a waiver.

Q: If I am subject to the home residency requirement, are my dependents subject?

A: Yes. By the same token, if you obtain the waiver, the requirement it is also waived for your dependents.