Whenever you travel, please remember that you must have proper identification with you at all times.
If you are an F-1 student who is planning to travel outside the United States, here are some things to do before you leave the country.
Check the list below for the documents you will need when you re-enter the U.S.A.
1. A valid passport.
2. A valid F-1 visa in your passport.
If your current visa has expired you MUST obtain a new one before you return to the U.S.A. It is NOT possible to obtain a new visa inside the United States, but you may be able to renew your visa in Canada or Mexico. Note that if you do not succeed in your renewal efforts, you will be required to renew your visa in your home country. Please speak to someone in the International Office BEFORE you attempt to do this.
If you entered the U.S. in a nonimmigrant classification other than F-1 and changed your status to F-1 while you were here, you must obtain an F-1 visa while you are outside the U.S.A., or you will not be able to re-enter. It is NOT possible to obtain a new visa inside the United States.
If you have been outside the U.S. for 5 months or more, you may need a new F-1 visa; you will definitely need a new Form I-20. to get a new I-20, you must contact the International office and submit current evidence of your financial support.
If you need a new F-1 visa to re-enter the U.S. after a temporary absence, you will need to get a new Form I-20 from the Office of International and Multicultural Affairs and apply for your visa at a U.S. embassy or consular office in your home country. To get a new I-20, you must file an application at the International office and submit current evidence of your financial support to us at least two weeks before your departure.
There is one possible exception to the visa requirement: If you are maintaining F-1 status and will be returning to the U.S. after a trip of less than 30 days to Canada, Mexico or adjacent islands in the Caribbean, you MAY not need a valid visa to return. Instead, you must keep the Form I-94 Departure Record stapled in your passport. Please speak to someone in the International Office BEFORE you attempt to travel and re-enter in this way!
3. A Form I-20.
Make sure that the program of study listed on your I-20 (your major - item 5) is still correct, and that the date you are expected to complete your program (item 5) has not expired. You also must have a valid re-entry signature on the last page of your I-20 to re-enter the U.S.A. If you need a new re-entry signature, bring your I-20 to the Office of International and Multicultural Affairs at least three days before your departure. If you are starting a new degree program, or your completion of study date has passed, or if you need to get a new visa, you will need to get a new Form I-20 from the Office of International and Multicultural Affairs. File an application and submit current evidence of financial support at least two weeks before your departure.
4. Financial documents
Take photocopies of your financial documents with you to show that you have adequate funding for your studies. If you are going to apply for a new visa from the American embassy or consulate at home, you will need to have original financial documents, not photocopies.
Please bring your travel documents to the Office of International and Multicultural Affairs promptly after you return from travel outside the United States. We must photocopy any new documents or notations acquired during your time abroad.
When you are in the U.S. under authorized Optional Practical Training (OPT), you are legally considered an F-1 student. You may travel outside the U.S. BEFORE graduation just as you always have; AFTER graduation, there are some restrictions on travel. The information below will help you know how to reenter the U.S.A. when you travel.
While you are waiting for OPT approval, follow travel rules for any F-1 student.
In addition to the items listed for any F-1 student, you must ALSO bring the following: