Boston Career Institute (BCI Inc.)
Re-entry and Renewal FAQ

BCI has prepared the following FAQs to help the potential student evaluate their options when considering studying at BCI when they are not U.S. residents.

Entry

BCI makes every effort to provide complete answers to these common questions. However, each person’s individual circumstances differ. So while these questions and answers serve as a general guide, they may not provide all the information you need to determine whether it is appropriate to travel or whether U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) will readmit you to the United States. You can contact your designated school official, officials at your embassy or consulate or your legal counsel for further assistance.

Please remember that the CBP officer at the port of entry decides whether to admit nonimmigrants in to the United States. The facts and circumstances presented at the time you apply to enter are the basis of this decision. SEVP cannot guarantee that CBP will admit or readmit you into the United States.

M-1 students enter into the United States after receiving the I-20 form from the school, paying the application fees, and attending an interview at a visa issuing consulate outside the United States. The student will receive a vise in their passport which designates the advance permission for the student to travel to and attend school.

The student will travel to the United States and at the port of entry the immigration officer will stamp the Passport and designate an absolute date for expiration of the M1 visa.

Within 30 days and in advance of the student’s commencement of classes, the student MUST report to the PDSO office at BCI. Failure to do so will result in instant notification of Homeland Security and may permanently result in the forfeiture of the visa and subject the student to fines and penalties.

2. RE-ENTRY FOR AN M-1 NONIMMIGRANT TRAVELING OUTSIDE THE UNITED STATES FOR FIVE MONTHS OR LESS

This section of the FAQ applies to continuing M-1 students who travel outside the United States for five months or less.

An M-1 student should consult the designated school official (DSO) before traveling. Your DSO generally works in the international student office. You must have a current Form I-20, “Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status,” endorsed for travel, and your DSO must be able to verify that your SEVIS record is accurate and up-to-date.

M-1 students enter into the United States after receiving the I-20 form from the school, paying the application fees, and attending an interview at a visa issuing consulate outside the United States. The student will receive a vise in their passport which designates the advance permission for the student to travel to and attend school.

The student will travel to the United States and at the port of entry the immigration officer will stamp the Passport and designate an absolute date for expiration of the M1 visa.

Within 30 days and in advance of the student’s commencement of classes, the student MUST report to the PDSO office at BCI. Failure to do so will result in instant notification of Homeland Security and may permanently result in the forfeiture of the visa and subject the student to fines and penalties.

You must renew your passport before re-entering the United States. In most cases, to enter the United States, you must have a passport that is valid for at least six months after the date you enter or re-enter.

However, the countries listed below have an agreement with the United States that allows you to enter on a current passport up to the actual date of expiration.

Try to keep your passport current at all times. You need to determine your country’s requirements and timelines for renewing passports . Many countries will allow you to renew your passport while in the United States. The other alternative is to renew your passport when you return home for a visit.

In some cases, you may want to delay leaving the United States until you have renewed your passport. You will not be able to re-enter the United States without a valid passport.

If your expired passport has a valid visa, you can still use that visa if you kept the old passport. Present the old passport, along with the new passport when you reenter the country.

The countries that have an agreement with the United States allowing entry with a passport until the date of expiration are as follows:

  • Algeria
  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Argentina
  • Australia
  • Austria
  • Bahamas
  • Bangladesh
  • Barbados
  • Belgium
  • Bolivia
  • Bosnia-Herzegovina
  • Brazil
  • Canada
  • Chile
  • Colombia
  • Costa Rica
  • Cote D’Ivoire
  • Cuba
  • Cyprus
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Dominica
  • Dominican Republic
  • Ecuador
  • Egypt
  • El Salvador
  • Ethiopia
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Grenada
  • Guatemala
  • Guinea
  • Guyana
  • Hong Kong (certificates of identity and passports)
  • Hungary
  • Iceland
  • India
  • Ireland
  • Israel
  • Italy
  • Jamaica
  • Japan
  • Jordan
  • Korea
  • Kuwait
  • Laos
  • Latvia
  • Lebanon
  • Liechtenstein
  • Luxembourg
  • Madagascar
  • Malaysia
  • Malta
  • Mauritius
  • Mexico
  • Monaco
  • Netherlands
  • New Zealand
  • Nicaragua
  • Nigeria
  • Norway
  • Oman
  • Pakistan
  • Panama
  • Paraguay
  • Peru
  • Philippines
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Qatar
  • Romania
  • Russia
  • Senegal
  • St. Kitts and Nevis
  • St. Lucia
  • St. Vincent and the Grenadines
  • Singapore
  • Slovak Republic
  • Slovenia
  • South Africa
  • Spain
  • Sri Lanka
  • Sudan
  • Suriname
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • Syria
  • Taiwan
  • Thailand
  • Togo
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • Tunisia
  • Turkey
  • United Arab Emirates
  • United Kingdom
  • Uruguay
  • Venezuela
  • Zimbabwe

You must maintain your student status to stay in the United States on an expired M-1 visa. If you are returning home or traveling to a country where automatic revalidation does not apply, you must have a valid visa to return to the United States.

The Department of State (DoS) recommends that you apply for a visa in your home country. For more information about visa applications, visit the DoS website.

You can apply in a third country for a visa, but you cannot return to the United States until DoS issues you a new visa. In some cases, this could take several weeks if a background check is necessary. If DoS denies your visa, you cannot return to the United States.

If you must re-apply for a visa, remember to bring the following items with you:

  • A Form I-20, endorsed for travel and signed by your DSO and your original Form I-20 ( talk to your DSO before you travel)
  • Original evidence showing proof of necessary funds to pay for tuition and living expenses
  • Evidence showing your intent to return to your home country upon program completion with evidence of compelling social and economic ties to your home country
  • Information on your area of research if it is on the Technology Alert List
  • If you have an expired visa and a terminated record, we strongly advise you not to travel outside the United States until your SEVIS record shows that you are in Active status. If you do travel, you may not be able to renew your visa or return to the United States.

No. See the I-901 FAQ for detailed information on the I-901 SEVIS fee.

Yes, in most cases CBP will allow re-entry to the United States. Usually, you can revalidate an expired visa automatically if you meet all of the following criteria:

  • Returning from a visit of fewer than thirty days to Canada or Mexico
  • Have a valid Form I-20
  • Have a valid unexpired Form I-94
  • This process is known as automatic visa revalidation.
  • However, if you meet any one of following criteria, 8 CFR 214.1(b)(3) mandates that you cannot automatically revalidate your visa:
  • You applied for a new visa, and DoS has not issued it.
  • You applied for a new visa, and DoS denied it.
  • You have a terminated SEVIS record indicating that you are out of status.
  • You have been out the United States for more than thirty days.
  • You are a citizen of one of the following countries
    • Iran
    • North Korea
    • Sudan
    • Syria

No. An M nonimmigrant cannot automatically revalidate a visa when traveling to the adjacent islands. You may travel to these islands only if you have a valid visa.

The definition of adjacent islands is in INA, Section 101(b)(5):

  • Saint Pierre
  • Miquelon
  • The Dominican Republic
  • Haiti
  • Bermuda
  • The Bahamas
  • Barbados
  • Jamaica
  • The Windward and Leeward Islands
  • Trinidad
  • Martinique
  • Other British, French, and Netherlands territory or possessions in or bordering on the Caribbean Sea

No. You will need a valid Form I-20 and a valid, unexpired Form I-94. Be sure that you do not have a terminated SEVIS record indicating that you are out of status.

Your DSO can tell you your SEVIS record status and give you appropriate travel-related advice.

If you need to travel on a terminated record, you must talk to your DSO. A DSO who has requested a data fix will put your Help Desk ticket number on your Form I-20 and report your pending travel to SEVP.

There is no guarantee that CBP will readmit you to the United States if you travel on a terminated record. In most cases, CBP will allow you to re-enter the United States if you are otherwise admissible and your DSO has properly annotated your Form I-20. It is likely, however, that CBP will send you to secondary inspection while they determine whether you are eligible to return to the United States.

Yes, you may re-establish M-1 student status. However, in SEVIS, you will be an Initial student. You must pay the I-901 SEVIS fee, and you will lose any time that you have built up towards qualification for practical training.

If USCIS and your DSO have approved your OPT but you depart before you get a job, your OPT ends and you cannot re-enter. If you have a job, however, you may travel and re-enter to resume work.

Previous questions give the general requirements for M-1 student re-entry. However, because individual circumstances vary, consult your DSO, embassy officials or legal advisor before traveling. Discussing your travel plans as soon as possible will allow time to ensure you have proper documentation for travel.

Some countries will require a visa. If you are not returning to your home country, check the requirements of the destination country. You may also need an in-transit visa for countries where you are making a connecting flight. Be sure to check before you travel. Most countries have immigration websites that provide visa information.

Yes, as long as you are student in good standing and have not violated your status, you may legally remain in the United States with an expired M-1 visa. As an M-1, you may stay for up to one year from the date you arrive in the United States, also according to your I-20 in SEVIS.

No. For more information about visa applications visit the Department of State website at http://travel.state.gov/. If you need to stay longer than one year to complete your program of study, you may work with your school official to apply for an extension with USCIS.

Yes, but the Department of State recommends that you apply for a visa in your home country. For more information about visa applications visit the Department of State website at http://travel.state.gov/.

Before you travel to a country other than yours to renew your visa, contact the U.S. embassy or consulate.

If you exit the United States and apply for a visa, you cannot return to the United States until the visa is issued. This could require a lengthy stay. If the visa is denied, you will not be able to return to the United States as a student.

In some cases, you can. Contact the individual U.S. embassy or consulate in Canada or Mexico. However, you cannot return to the United States until your visa is issued. If the visa is denied, you will not be able to return to the United States as a student. For more information about visa applications visit the Department of State website at http://travel.state.gov/. You can also visit www.nvars.com, the site that provides appointments for consulates in Canada and Mexico.

Applying for a new visa is not the same as automatic visa revalidation. You cannot apply for a new visa and take advantage of automatic visa revalidation at the same time.

Automatic visa revalidation allows most M-1 students to take a trip of less than thirty days to countries contiguous to the United States and reenter on an expired visa provided you have

proper documentation and have not applied for a new visa during the visit. This process revalidates your visa (making it eligible for the single trip), but does not renew it.

The spouse and unmarried children under 21 years of age may come with the M-1 student to the United States in M2 non-immigrant status. The M-1 must provide a copy of all dependents passports with their own request for the M-1 I-20 and must also provide financial support documentation ($2500 per dependent; $7500 max) They should go with the M-1 to the US embassy or consulate to apply for the M2 visa at the same time the M-1 is applying for their own visa. Dependents should be well prepared to show their relationship to the student (marriage license; birth certificates). (If the spouse and/or children will follow the M-1 student at a later date, the M2 should provide the US embassy with a copy of the M-1’s Form I-20.) The M2 status is dependent upon on the M-1 status; this means that if the M-1 student changes their status, the M2’s must change also; if M-1 loses their status, the M2’s status is lost also; when the M-1 leaves the US at the end of their program or by the date on their I-94 card – WHICHEVER IS EARLIER, the M2’s must leave also

YOUR M-2 SPOUSE MAY NOT ENGAGE IN FULL-TIME STUDY AND YOUR M-2 CHILD MAY ONLY ENGAGE IN FULL-TIME STUDY IF THE STUDY IS IN AN ELEMENTARY OR SECONDARY SCHOOL (KINDERGARTEN THROUGH TWELFTH GRADE).

If you are the spouse or minor child of a continuing student you need to have the following:

  • A current SEVIS Form I-20 in your name (and one for each M-2 traveling) * A valid passport (see section 2.B.) unless you are from a visa exempt country
  • A valid visa unless you are from a visa exempt country or, in some cases, you are traveling to a contiguous country
  • The primary (M-1) must be in active student status

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No. However, you must be able to show that your primary (M-1) has been admitted and has maintained student status. We recommend that you consult with the DSO from your primary’s school to ensure the M-1 is in status before traveling. You will need the documents listed in section 2.B.

If your primary has optional practical training (OPT) approved, you will need additional documentation. Make a copy of the primary’s Form I-20 with the page 3 annotations and/or EAD (employment authorization document) and be prepared to present it at the consulate and POE.

M-2 nonimmigrant family members may stay in the United States without the primary if the primary:

  • Is in valid status
  • Will return after a temporary absence using the same SEVIS ID number

See the related questions in the M-1 section

No. You can travel after OPT is approved. (See traveling without your primary.)

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