Whether or not to travel abroad is a personal decision. Students whose U.S. visas have expired and who will need to apply for new U.S. visas abroad should anticipate longer waiting periods to obtain a new visa and closer scrutiny of their visa documents. It is advisable to check with the U.S. consulate or embassy where you will apply for the visa, or its web site link: BEFORE leaving the United States to determine that particular post's policies and procedures. You should start the visa process at the earliest possible time upon your arrival back in your home country.

Males between the ages of 16 and 45 from Afghanistan, Algeria, Bahrain, Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Malaysia, Morocco, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, the United Arab Emirates and Yemen who will need to renew their U.S. visas while abroad will be required to undergo FBI security checks that may lengthen the processing time for their visa applications by as long as thirty days. Any student in this category should apply for a new visa as early as possible upon their return home to allow ample time for the longer process.

While there is currently legislation before the U.S. Congress that deals with border security, it had not been approved at the time this article was published (mid-April 2002). However, the Executive Branch of the Federal Government (which includes the Department of State and the Immigration and Naturalization Service) can put in place new regulations without Congressional approval. If your college or university has been providing updates to students via e-mail or on the Internet, try to stay up-to-date on immigration news by checking these resources periodically.