Always check with the ISAO before travel to make sure that your I-20 is signed and that all other immigration documents are in order. The following information has been taken from the ICE website and tailored to the most common needs of Truman's international students. If you have any questions about travel after reading this, please consult the ISAO.
If you are from a visa exempt country, you do not need a visa to reenter the United States from the western hemisphere, but make sure that you present your I-20 to be admitted as an F-1 student and not a visitor.
You must renew your passport before reentering the United States. In most cases, to enter the United States, you must have a passport that is valid for at least six months after the date you enter or reenter.
However, the countries listed below have an agreement with the United States that allows you to enter on a current passport up to the actual date of expiration.
Try to keep your passport current at all times. You need to determine your country’s requirements and timelines for renewing passports . Many countries will allow you to renew your passport while in the United States. The other alternative is to renew your passport when you return home for a visit.
In some cases, you may want to delay leaving the United States until you have renewed your passport. You will not be able to reenter the United States without a valid passport.
If your expired passport has a valid visa, you can still use that visa if you kept the old passport. Present the old passport, along with the new passport when you reenter the country.
See below for the complete list of countries which have an agreement with the United States that allows you to enter on a current passport up to the actual date of expiration.
You can stay in the United States on an expired F-1 visa as long as you maintain your student status. However, if you are returning home or traveling to a country where automatic revalidation does not apply, you must have a valid visa to return to the United States.
Ensure that you have all the documentation you need for your visa application and allow sufficient time for processing a new visa. The documentation you may need for a new visa includes, but is not limited to the following:
The Department of State recommends that you apply for a visa in your home country. For more information about visa applications visit the Department of State (DoS) website at http://travel.state.gov/.
You can apply in a third country for a visa, but you will not be able to return to the United States until DoS issues your visa. In some cases, this could take several weeks if DoS requires a background check. If DoS denies your visa, you will not be able to return to the United States. Be sure to check the DoS website for specific information pertaining to each embassy or consulate.
If you have an expired visa and a terminated record, we strongly advise that you do not travel outside the United States until your SEVIS record shows that you are in active status. If you do travel, you may not be able to renew your visa or return to the United States.
No. See the I-901 FAQ for detailed information on the I-901 SEVIS fee.
Yes, in most cases. You can usually revalidate an expired visa automatically when returning from a visit of less than thirty days to Canada, Mexico, or one of the islands adjacent to the United States (other than Cuba) provided that you have a valid Form I-20 and a valid unexpired Form I-94. This process is known as automatic visa revalidation.
However, if you meet any one of following criteria, you will not be able to automatically revalidate your visa.
(8 CFR 214.1(b)(3))
The adjacent islands are:
( INA, Section 101(b)(5))
No, unless your travel plans include entry to any other country en route to these U.S. territories. You will need a valid Form I-20 and a valid unexpired Form I-94. Be sure that you do not have a terminated SEVIS record indicating that you are out of status.
Check with the ISAO, they can tell you your SEVIS record status and give you appropriate travel related advice. Termination happens when you violate your status and is a VERY serious issue, and being reinstated is expensive and time-consuming. Do your best to maintain your status at all times.
Yes. However, you will be considered an initial student for SEVIS purposes. You will have to pay the I-901 SEVIS fee again and you will lose any time that you have accrued toward qualification for training (OPT) or employment.
You must have the new Form I-20 showing that you are entering on a new SEVIS ID number.
You should be aware that the CBP inspecting officer will determine whether or not to admit you to the United States with the new Form I-20. If you did not comply with the terms of your status during a prior stay in the United States, the CBP officer may decide that you are not eligible to reenter.
No. The 60-day “grace” period is only to prepare to leave the country.
Yes, but traveling during this time should be undertaken with caution. USCIS may send you a request for evidence while you are away, however, so you would want to make sure you have provided a correct U.S. address both to your DSO and on the application and would be able to send in requested documents. Also, if USCIS approves your OPT application, you will be expected to have your EAD in hand to re-enter the United States. Like a request for further information, USCIS can only send the EAD to your U.S. address.
If USCIS has approved your OPT you will be expected to have your EAD in hand to re-enter the United States, in addition to your Form I-20, valid passport and visa, and a letter of employment if you have one. If you exceed the limits on unemployment while outside the United States, you will not be eligible to re-enter the United States in F-1 status.
The questions above outline the general requirements for reentry for F-1 students. However, because individual circumstances vary, consult the ISAO, your embassy, or legal advisor before traveling. Planning for your trip early ensures that you have enough time to get all of your travel documents in order.
If you are not returning to your home country, you should check the requirements of the country you are visiting. Some countries require a visa. You may also need a transit visa for countries where you are making a connecting flight. Be sure to check before you travel. Most countries have immigration websites that provide visa information. If you have additional questions, please contact SEVP atSEVP@ice.dhs.gov or call us at 703-603-3400.