If your F-1 or J-1 visa (marked D/S) has expired during your studies, you need only worry about renewing it if you leave the country. It is your permission to enter the United States, so you cannot get a new visa while in the United States.
If you plan to travel outside the United States and the visa in your passport (F-1 or J-1) has expired, you will need to go to a U.S. Consulate outside the U.S. to get it renewed. You must do this in order to be admitted to the United States again. Please check the U.S. consulate online for the details at http://www.usembassy.gov/. Bring documents with you to the embassy to prove you are eligible for visa renewal or extension as follows:
- Valid passport from your country of citizenship. If your passport has expired, you should have it renewed first at the embassy for your country in the United States or when you return home, whichever is faster and easier.
- Current I-20 or DS2019 bearing an endorsement from the Designated School Official (F-1) or Responsible Officer (J-1) of your school. This endorsement should be dated within the last thirty days. Any endorsement older than five-and-a-half months will not be accepted, even though the form says they are valid for one year.
- Letter from the Registrar verifying your enrollment for the past and upcoming semesters and/or class scheduled for them. Please make this request in a timely manner.
- Transcript showing academic progress to date. Please make this request in a timely manner.
- Recent financial documentation showing your ability to pay for your education and living expenses.
- Documentation of your intention to return home after your studies (non-immigrant intent) like a written offer of a job in your home country, evidence that you will continue your education there, evidence of significant family ties, etc. If you are unfamiliar with documenting non-immigrant intent, please come by the office and ask questions, or check the arrival guide you received with your I-20 or DS2019.
Remember: If you are traveling to a third country (you are neither a citizen nor a permanent resident), you must have a current and valid United States visa for re-entry. ALSO, you may need a visa for entry into that country. Check with the nearest US-based consulate location for that country before you leave and plan carefully in advance.