I-20 travel signatures are valid for one year for continuing students and valid for 6 months for those currently on OPT. Check your documents before you leave to make sure your travel signature will be valid upon your planned return to the U.S.
Assure you have the following before you travel:
A valid Travel Signature. Make sure the travel signature on your Form I-20/DS-2019 is valid!
Program end date on I-20 or DS-2019 must be a future date.
Your SEVIS record needs to be active regardless of the dates on these documents.
Passport and entry visa with end date beyond the time you will re-enter the U.S.A.
Make sure your visa has “M” marked under “Entries” as this allows for multiple entries. “S” indicates a single (one-time) entry on the visa.
A printed copy of your class schedule.
If on OPT, your Employment Authorization Document (EAD) end date must be in the future and a printed copy of your employment letter.
What are the requirements for an F-1 student to travel and reenter the U.S.?
A Form I-20, endorsed for travel and signed by your DSO
You have been out of the United States for less than five months
A current passport valid for at least six months after the date of your reentry or, if you are from one of the countries listed on this website, a passport that is current through the date of entry
A valid, current entry visa or you travelled to contiguous country or adjacent island for less than thirty days
Financial information showing proof of necessary funds to cover tuition and living expenses
Do I need to have at least 6 months left on my passport to travel and reenter the U.S.? What about my entry visa?
- 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 re-enter.
- However, the countries listed here have an agreement with the United States that allows you to enter on a current passport up to the actual date of expiration.
- Your entry visa only needs to be valid on the day you enter. This visa can expire once you enter the U.S.
What if I am unable to leave the USA during the grace period after my program end date due to cancellation of flights or closure of the borders to inbound flights for my home country?
- Contact your government embassy in the USA to determine what assistance they are offering to its citizens.
- Document any inability to return to your home country. Schedule a meeting with your primary immigration adviser to explore alternate options to maintain status while in the USA e.g. apply for Optional Practical Training.
- Travel restrictions to the USA are noted on the Center for Disease Control (CDC) website: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/from-other-countries.html.
- Additionally, your home country may have restrictions on individuals departing the country. Check with your home country government or the airlines to determine what restrictions may be in place. We are seeing an increase in testing requirements, check with your airline.
I left the country and am unable to return for the next semester. What happens now?
If you are unable to return for the next semester:
We will terminate your program for authorized early withdrawal. We can provide you a new I-20 to continue your program in another semester. This will have a new SEVIS ID number, and you will need to pay a new I-901 fee. This will also limit your Optional Practical Training period if you do not enroll for at least 2 academic semesters upon return to USU.
- Complete the Departure record if you continue to enroll in classes at USU while outside the USA.
- Complete the Leave of Absence record if you do not intend to enroll in classes.
Refer to these resources before arranging travel plans:
- Check with your home country government or the airlines to determine what restrictions may be in place.
- Check the U.S. Department of State Travel Advisory webpage for travel advisories for the destination countries. Enter the name of the country for information. Be sure to read the full travel advisory, which has links to the CDC Health Notice.
- Be sure the embassy in your country is open and has available appointments if you intend to renew your visa when you go home
- Review the CDC international travel webpage
In addition, if you plan to return back to the U.S. from your holiday after the semester has started, be sure that you have registered for your classes and carry your course schedule with you.