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Travel Signatures

When travelling outside the U.S. students in F-1 and J-1 status should verify they have a travel endorsement from ISSS on the Form I-20 or DS-2019.  The signature will be on page 2 of the Form I-20 or page 1 of the Form DS-2019 and is valid for 12 months or until the program end date.

Students who need a travel signature should complete the Travel Endorsement Request Form and submit the form to their International Student Advisor via email.  Students should request a travel signature at least 2-3 weeks prior to international travel.

F-1 students requesting a travel endorsement will receive a new Form I-20 via email. The document will be emailed to your UNC email account as a PDF file and you will need to print and sign the form to present when re-entering the U.S.

J-1 students will be issued a new Form DS-2019 and will need to pick up the new form at the ISSS office during our office hours.

Travel documents

The following documents are required for re-entry to the U.S.

  • Form I-20 or Form DS-2019 signed for travel by an ISSS “Designated School Official” within 12 months (unless on a period of Optional Practical training, then the signature must be valid within 6 months).
  • Valid F-1 or J-1 visa stamp (Canadian and Bermudian citizens do not require a visa stamp)
  • Passport valid for at least six months into the future on the date of re-entry

ISSS recommends students travel with the following documents:

  • Financial support information to document the funding indicated on Form I-20 or DS-2019
  • Documentation verifying full-time enrollment (enrollment certification, transcript, or letter from academic department)

Students who need to obtain a new visa must apply at a US Embassy outside of the U.S. (preferably in their home country). Please check the U.S. Embassy’s website for more information before leaving the U.S.

Automatic Revalidation

Students or Scholars in F-1 or J-1 status and their dependents who are travelling to contiguous territories of Canada or Mexico or the adjacent islands of the Caribbean, except Cuba, may be eligible to travel and return to the U.S. with an expired visa stamp as long as they are within the guidelines listed on the U.S. Department of State’s Website.

Consult with the embassy or consulate for the country you plan to visit to determine whether a visa will be required for entry into that country.

Form I-94

The Form I-94 is issued at the port of entry to nonimmigrants by Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials to record arrivals and departures from the U.S.

Travelers may access their Form I-94 immediately on the CBP website by inputting their information (if they entered the U.S. by air or sea):

  • Name as listed in the passport
  • Passport number
  • Country of issuance
  • Class of admission
  • Date of entry into the U.S.

Travelers are encouraged to print their electronic Form I-94 from the website upon arrival, as a print copy may be needed for work authorization, driver license and social security applications, etc. Check the class of admission (F-1, J-1, H-1B, etc.), the date of entry and “admitted to” date (D/S for F and J status) and bring errors to the attention of the ISSS office.

Travelers at land ports of entry to the U.S. will receive a modified paper version called the I-94A.  Some individuals, such as refugees and asylees, will continue to receive a paper form I-94.