Global travelers realize the importance of keeping a current passport and visa. These items are essential for traveling abroad. A visa gives you written authorization to legally enter and remain in a foreign country. Each country issues its own visas, which come in the form of either a document or a stamp that is imprinted on your passport. Rules for issuance vary from one locale to another.
Visit the U.S. State Department's Bureau of Consular Affairs website to find out about visa renewal procedures for your specific country. Americans wishing to travel overseas should click on "International Travel" to get specific instructions for each country you plan to visit.
Contact the consulate or embassy for your country of interest. Find out about fees and the best way to submit your application packet. Satisfy all requirements in accordance with the country's guidelines.
Assemble all required paperwork, and complete the renewal application. Carefully read each item, and answer questions as truthfully and completely as possible to avoid having your application rejected.
Submit the completed application packet using the methods specified in the instructions. Although the application may be completed and submitted online in many cases, some countries require that you deliver the packet to the consulate personally.
Allow ample time for your renewal application to be processed. Immigration laws are extremely complex and involve a lot of paperwork, so be patient. Notify your consulate of any important changes.
Tips & Warnings
- Some countries, including the U.S., do not offer a renewal option for visas, except under special circumstances. Instead, you must reapply for a new visa if your current one is misplaced or expires.
- Apply to extend your stay at least 45 days before your current visa expires.
- A visa does not automatically guarantee you access to a foreign country. You must be interviewed by that country's immigration officials before being cleared for entry. In some cases, a medical exam may be required.
- Do not let your visa expire while visiting your host country. Without a valid visa, you become an illegal immigrant, and may be subject to deportation.
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