Does my US visa need to be valid for 6 months in order to travel? | Letters to Editor

Dear US Consul,

My visa expires in February 2023. However, I would like to visit my family in California for Christmas. If I apply to renew it now, can I continue to use my current visa until a new one is issued, or does my visa need to be valid for at least six months?


Visa Applicant

Dear Visa Applicant,

Thank you for your question. We strongly recommend that everyone keep their tourist/business (B1/B2) visas up to date. You can apply for a new visa at any time before or after your visa expires. Applicants may travel with their valid visas while a new visa application is pending.

A visa is valid until its expiry date, unless canceled or revoked. You can travel to the United States anytime before your visa expires, even up until the day it expires!

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There is no six month validity rule for US visas.

The virtual Interview Waiver queue was introduced in May 2022 and provides a separate time to submit documents for applicants applying for new visas. This allows applicants to retain possession of their passports and documents until the Consular Section requests that they be sent for processing.

When the Consular Section is ready to receive your application, you will receive an email with instructions on how to submit your documents. Please ensure that the contact information you provide in your online profile is up to date and accurate. Documents submitted without a request from the Consular Section will not be accepted.

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Given the current waiting period for submitting renewal documents, we recommend that applicants submit their application at least two months before their visas expire.

However, once a current passport and visa are within the Consular Section, our staff will cancel the existing visa until a new one is issued.

Do not give your valid visa to the Consular Section until you are sure that you do not need to travel for at least 14 days. If you are traveling at the time the email is sent to you asking to submit your documents, please email [email protected]

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We occasionally receive requests for urgent travel for family emergencies or important business meetings in the United States. While we can provide expedited visa interview appointments for legitimate emergencies or urgent travel, we cannot expedite the visa processing time, which is typically ten to 14 business days.

Therefore, it is advisable to apply as soon as possible before the expiry date of the visa.

More detailed information about the entire visa application process is available online at:




You can contact the Visa Information Call Center at 1-(868)-235-4500 Monday through Friday, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.


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