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Using previous F1 visa that is still valid


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Hello all,



I came to the U.S. for master's in 2017, and I got a five-year, multiple entry F1 visa that is valid till June 2022. I returned to my home country after the master's in July 2019. I was wondering if I could still use the same F1 visa for my PhD for Fall 2020, after getting a new SEVIS number and I-20 and paying for the new SEVIS number, or whether I should apply for a new visa altogether.



I sent an email to both my previous university and my upcoming PhD university, and replies from both the sources were that I can use the same F1 visa, if it has not expired yet, given I pay for the new SEVIS ID fee.



However, to officially confirm one last time, I emailed the US Embassy in my home country. They asked for my passport and scanned copies of old and new I-20s, and responded, "As you have already completed the course and applying for another program, you should apply for new visa."



I again asked my previous and new university officials, and they again stood by their former response, and gave the number of the director, if there is any problem during immigration.



Do you think the person from the embassy has mistaken the situation a bit?



Since the embassy is closed (or at least not accepting visa appointments) right now, it would be an immense relief for me if I could use my previous F1 visa, so that I could just fly as soon as international flights resume.



I look forward to hearing your thoughts...



Thanks so much!

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