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Will I have a problem with my passport in the US?
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I am a prospective international graduate student who has got admission in a University with fellowship. The duration of my studies is approximately 5 to 6 years. The validity of my passport is till 2003 August. Kindly inform me at the earliest whether this would cause any problem while applying for the visa. I believe that once I am in US I can renew my passport from the India Consulate. This question has arisen because many of the web sites give this information: "A passport valid for travel to the United States and with a validity date at least six months beyond the applicant's intended period of stay in the United States." I can not renew my passport until it is about to touch the deadline. Is it a hard and fast rule that the passport should be valid till the end of my stay? Kindly advice me on this issue.

Challenged by Passport, India

Dear Challenged by Passport:

First of all, Congratulations! Now take a deep breath - you are fine!

The information from some websites that you have quoted is wrong. The passport should be valid for at least 6 months at the time of entry into the US, NOT at the time of departure from the US after completing your education.

You are quite correct in noting that you can get your passport renewed in the US. While the Indian High Commission is in Washington, DC, there are several Indian Consulates scattered around the country, each being responsible for its designated region. You can get your passport renewed, from your regional Indian Consulate, within the 6-month period prior to its expiration. This process can be handled through the post. You need to submit your passport, an application and required documentation, and a renewal fee. The entire process takes 2-4 weeks.

So put aside your worries and get started on your new exciting adventure.

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