Applying for a Visa from a Third Country

How to apply for a visa from a third country

Note: Canadian citizens are exempt from U.S. visa requirements.

Applying for visa in a country which is not your home country or the U.S., called a “third” country, can be more difficult than applying at home. You may need to prove that you have continuously maintained lawful non-immigrant status during your time in the U.S. or you may be sent to your home country to apply for the visa.

Refusal in a third country is more likely than at home, so you should plan well in advance of your date of travel. This page will explain what steps you should take to get a visa in a third country.

Conditions and limitations

To apply for an F-1 or J-1 visa in a third country, you are required to:

  • Have been continuously maintaining lawful non-immigrant status during your stay in the U.S.
  • Be currently enrolled or planning to enroll for the next academic semester at Indiana University or have received authorization to engage in Optional Practical Training [##] (for F-1 students) or Academic Training [##] (for J-1 students). (Note: applying for a visa while on OPT or AT can be risky; ask an OIS advisor for more information.)
    • F-1 students on OPT will need an EAD.
    • J-1 students will need the Academic Training authorization letter.
  • Provide an I-20 or DS-2019 from IU if you are planning to return to the U.S. to study at IU. If you will not be returning to IU, you should enter with your new school’s immigration document. The only exception is if you plan to attend summer classes at another school but will return to IU in for the fall semester.
  • Have a valid reason for applying in the country where the consulate is located; you are likely to be denied if your only reason for applying in that country is to avoid your home country consulate. Examples of valid reasons could include to attend a conference, to visit family or friends, etc.
  • Be able to demonstrate to the satisfaction of the visa officer that you have enough funding to complete your program and that you plan to return to your home country after you finish your academic program. If you have relatives that are U.S. citizens or permanent residents, this will be more difficult to do.