Travel & Visa Information
Travel Outside of the United States
Whenever you seek to depart the U.S. and travel abroad, you must carry an unexpired passport, U.S. visa and I-20. Additionally, it is recommended that you take documentation that shows your financial support, as this may be requested by the U.S. customs officer at the port of entry.
Important: Your I-20 must have a valid travel signature on the "Travel Endorsement" section. Once signed, the travel signature is valid for 12 months. You do not need another travel signature if you are traveling within this period. To obtain a travel signature from a Designated School Official (DSO), please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Travel Within the United States
Even when you are traveling within the United States, it is required that you carry "registration" documentation. This includes a basic identity document such as a passport, plus your current I-20. If you are traveling by air, train or bus, you may be required to produce these documents before boarding. Keep photocopies of all your documents in a separate location, in the event your documents are lost or stolen.
Reentry Into the United States
The following documents must be presented at the U.S. port of entry:
- I-20 with Valid Travel Signature
- You should have your newest I-20 and it must contain a signed travel signature on page 2
- Valid Passport
- Your passport must be valid for at least six months when seeking to reenter the United States
- Valid U.S. Visa
- You must have a valid, unexpired visa for reentry. If your visa expires while you are in the U.S., the next time you travel abroad you must obtain a new visa by applying at the U.S. Consulate in your home country. You are encouraged to contact the U.S. consulate as early as possible to schedule the visa interview appointment.
- Financial Evidence
- You must carry evidence detailing the source and amount of your funding resources. Even though you have an I-20 and U.S. visa, this financial information may be requested by the U.S. customs officer.
Travel After Graduation
For all students who do not apply for OPT, you have a 60-day grace period to remain lawfully in the United States. This grace period begins after the "Program End Date" listed on your I-20. Once you leave the U.S. after completing your studies, you cannot reenter the U.S. with your current I-20.
Travel & OPT
If your OPT application is pending, you may travel and reenter the U.S. Please ensure that you have all of the documentation listed above for reentry.
If your OPT application has been approved and your EAD card issued, you may not be permitted reentry into the U.S. unless you have evidence of employment. You should carry the following documents with you:
- I-20 with travel signature signed no less than six months ago
- EAD card
- Valid passport
- Unexpired F-1 visa
- Evidence of employment in your field of study, such as a letter of employment or written job offer
The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency electronically records your departure and entry into the United States via the I-94 Record. The information listed on the I-94 Record includes the date of entry, port of entry and visa status for which you were admitted to the U.S. It is important that you know how to access your I-94 Record, as it may be a required document requested when you apply for various F-1 benefit programs such as OPT. You can access your I-94 Record online at the U.S. Customs and Border Protection I-94 Website.