Travel and Re-entry
The following documents are required to re-enter the U.S.:
- I-20: F-1 students who are planning to travel internationally must have page 3 of the I-20 signed for re-entry by an International Student Advisor prior to leaving the U.S. This signature is valid for 12 months.
- A valid F-1 visa for re-entry. The visa is a stamp in the passport, which is obtained at a U.S. Consulate prior to coming to the U.S. If the current visa expires before the re-entry date, or a student changed to F-1 from another immigration status while in the U.S., the student must apply for a new F-1 visa while outside the U.S. All students who are applying for a new visa must see an International Student Advisor before traveling.
- A valid passport.
- If on Post-completion OPT or the 17-Month STEM Extension: you must also have a valid EAD card with you as well as a job offer letter/employee verification letter.
The Automatic Revalidation of Visa benefit allows certain F/J non-immigrants whose visa has expired to re-enter the United States after a 30-day or less visit to a “contiguous territory” (Canada, Mexico) and the “adjacent islands other than Cuba” without having to obtain a new visa prior to re-entry, and if the student is in status and all other documents (passport, I-20, and I-94) are valid. However, if you choose to apply for a new F-1 visa while in the contiguous territory, you will no longer be eligible for the “automatic revalidation” benefit during the course of that trip, but will have to wait until the visa is granted in order to re-enter the U.S. If the visa application is denied, you may not re-enter the U.S. You will have to return home to apply for a new F-1 visa before re-entering the U.S.
To avoid delays, please come see an international student advisor and have your I-20 signed at least 2 weeks prior to your travel. This allows ample time for IPS staff to prepare the necessary documents for your travel.