Travel Information

The information on this page applies to F-1 non-immigrant students. If you are traveling in a different visa classification and would like more information, please contact your international student advisor.

Re-entering the US after travel abroad

When you enter the United States, you will arrive at a port of entry and meet with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers for primary and sometimes a secondary inspection. The CBP officer may ask questions about your reason for travel and will inspect your immigration documents. You will need:
Passport valid for at least six months after the date of your reentry
Valid student visa (except for citizens of Canada)
Form I-20, signed on page 2 by an ISS advisor within the past 12 months 

Be sure to hand-carry all of these items and do not put them in your checked baggage.

You do not need to repay the I-901 SEVIS fee to reenter the United States after travel, but it is recommended that you bring your SEVIS fee receipt.

Additional recommended documents:
Current financial support documentation
Proof of registration for current or upcoming quarter

Please check your I-94 record every time you enter the US to ensure your entry was processed correctly. Your class of admission should state F-1 and the admit until date should read D/S or duration of status. If there are any errors, please contact your international student advisor right away.

Students on OPT/STEM OPT

Once OPT is approved, please carry the following items with you when you travel internationally: 

Passport valid for at least six months after the date of your reentry
Valid student visa (except for citizens of Canada)
Form I-20, signed on page 2 by an ISS advisor within the past 6 months 
OPT EAD issued by USCIS. Printed on the EAD is the statement "Not valid for reentry." This statement means that the EAD alone is not valid for reentry.
Confirmation of employment (job offer or evidence of continuing employment)         

Students who have the documents listed above may travel outside the United States and reenter even before the date their work permission begins. For example, an F-1 student who graduates in June with an OPT EAD that begins in July may travel and return to the United States any time after graduation.
Entry to the U.S. in any status other than F-1 OPT will invalidate your OPT work authorization.

Students with a pending OPT application, pending STEM OPT extension application or a cap-gap OPT extension should contact their international student advisor for additional information about the risks of traveling during that time.

Returning from Canada, Mexico, or adjacent islands with an expired US visa

F-1 students who travel to Canada, Mexico, or the adjacent islands (except for Cuba) may return to the US using an expired US visa. This rule is known as Automatic Visa Revalidation. You can read more about Automatic Visa Revalidation on the Department of State website or Customs and Border Protection website. Please see the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement website for a complete list of the adjacent islands.

Remember that you may need a visa to enter Canada, Mexico or the adjacent islands.

Exceptions to the Automatic Visa Revalidation Rule

• Individuals who apply for a new visa stamp: If you plan to apply for a nonimmigrant visa stamp at a US embassy or consulate in a contiguous territory (Canada, Mexico, or the adjacent islands), you will not be eligible to return to the US under Automatic Visa Revalidation. Instead, you must wait for the new visa to be approved. If your visa application is denied, you will be required to travel elsewhere (most likely to your home country) to apply again for a US visa stamp before you may return to the US. ISS does not recommend that you apply for a new visa stamp in any country other than your home country.

• Citizens of certain countries are not eligible for Automatic Visa Revalidation: Currently, this list includes Iran, North Korea, Syria, and Cuba. The countries included on this list are subject to change, and you can find an updated list on the Department of State website.

Thy Tran

Meet Thy Tran ’22

As a child growing up in Danang City in central Vietnam, Thy Tran '22 dreamed of studying abroad.