When traveling outside of the U.S., students should have the following documentation:

  • 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 (See the visa stamp handout from regarding additional supporting documentation for the visa interview)
  • Passport valid for at least six months into the future on the date of re-entry
  • Financial support information to document the funding indicated on Form I-20 or DS-2019
  • A letter of enrollment verification or transcript from the Registrar’s office showing full time enrollment.
  • A letter of good standing from the academic department is recommended.

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.  Previously, individuals would complete a paper Form I-94 and the CBP officials would stamp the top portion of the form with the date of arrival and indicate the individual’s immigration status and expiration date.

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.

There is also a list of frequently asked questions on the website.  Review for accuracy the entry stamp which will be placed in your passport by CBP.  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 CBP officer.  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.

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.