Re-Entry to the U.S.
In order to return to the US following a short trip outside of the US, you must be prepared to present the following documents:
- An unexpired passport valid least six months into the future
- An unexpired F-1 or J-1 entry visa*
- An unexpired I-20 or DS-2019 with a travel signature no more than one year old on the date of your return
- Evidence of full-time enrollment such as a copy of your transcript or class registration
- copy of your I-901 SEVIS fee payment
- financial documents such as bank statements or scholarship letters
*Canadian citizens are not required to have a visa to enter the US, but must present all of the other documents listed above to request F-1 or J-1 status when entering the US.
To request a travel signature, bring your I-20 or DS-2019 to the Division of Global Engagement, Oregon Hall 3rd floor, Mondays - Fridays between 9am and 4pm.
Travel to and from Mexico, Canada & Adjacent US Islands
F-1 and J-1 students may travel to Canada, Mexico, and Adjacent Islands and re-enter the US on an expired F-1 or J-1 visa if the trip does not exceed 30 days and the purpose of the trip is not to apply for a new F-1 or J-1 visa at one of the US consulates located in these countries. This ability to travel on an expired visa is referred to as automatic revalidation. In order to benefit from automatic visa revalidation, you must carry the documents indicated above as well as your latest I-94 admission record. Speak to an international student advisor to learn more about automatic visa revalidation.
A visitor's visa may be required to enter Mexico, Canada & Adjacent Islands, depending on your country of citizenship. If you are planning a trip to Canada or Mexico, you should contact a consulate from one of those countries to determine whether a visa is required prior to your trip. Please plan ahead as it may take some time to obtain a visitor visa to one of these countries.
Travel to Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and U.S. territories and possessions
Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and certain other U.S. territories and possessions are part of the United States, so an F and J nonimmigrant does not need a visa to travel to those locations from within the 50 United States, or to return to the 50 United States from those locations. However, students and scholars should always carry full documentation (passport, I-20 or DS-2019, and most recent I-94) during such travel. Also, exchange visitors should be careful to verify that their travel does not involve transit through or short stays in other countries, since full documentation (including a visa) for return to the U.S. may be necessary.
Renewing your F-1 or J-1 Visa
If your F-1 or J-1 visa has expired or will expire in the near future, you don't need to renew your visa unless you are planning to travel home. While you are in the US, your expired visa does not affect your status and you cannot review visas in the U.S. However, if you leave the U.S. you will need to renew your visa. Please review the web site of the US consulate in your home country or country of destination for information about how to renew your visa. In most cases, it is recommended that renew your visa in your home country.
Last-Minute Travel Issues for F-1 or J-1 Students
If you are a continuing F-1 or J-1 student traveling outside the US, and notice that your travel documents are missing, lost, or outdated, please refer these emergency travel instructions for further guidance about how to return to the US.
Travel within the US
While traveling around the US, you are strongly recommended to carry original identity documents (passport, I-20 or DS-2019, and latest I-94 admission record), even if you do not have to go through immigration inspection for domestic travel.