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Travel in F-1 status

Last updated on Dec 28, 2022

UPDATE 12/28/2022 : As of January 5, 2023 travelers from the Peoples Republic of China, Hong Kong, and Macau will be required to present a negative COVID-19 test taken within two days before boarding an airplane to enter the United States. Please review the CDC website for more information and further updates.

CDC announcement :

Required Documents for Travel as a Current Student

When traveling, keep the items listed below in your carry-on luggage; do not pack them in your suitcase! When reentering the United States after an international trip, be prepared to present the following documents at customs:

  • Valid passport
  • Valid F-1 visa
  • I-20 with valid travel signature (see below)

It is also recommended to carry the following items:

  • Print-out of your current class registration (or next semester’s class registration if traveling during a break)
  • Financial documents that reflect the resources listed on your I-20

Travel Signatures for current students

Travel in F-1 status as an alum on OPT has different requirements. For information about traveling while you are on Post Completion OPT, please review the Travel on OPT information.

If you are traveling internationally in the next few months, take a moment to check page 2 of your most recent I-20 to see if you need a new travel signature. Signatures are valid for 12 months from the most recent date in the “Travel Endorsement” box on page 2 of your I-20.

Need an updated travel signature? You have two options:

1) Schedule an on campus appointment here and an ISAP staff member can sign your paper I-20 for you.


2) In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Immigration will allow for ISAP staff to digitally sign on page 2 of the I-20 form for travel endorsement purposes. Complete the ISAP Travel Signature Request form. Upload a PDF of your most recent I-20 form to the form, enter all information, and hit submit. ISAP will digitally sign page 2 of your I-20 and email it back to you at your CCA email address within 5 business days.

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CDC requirements for travel : COVID-19 vaccination for international air travelers


Starting November 8, 2021, vaccines will be required for all international travelers coming to the United States

The White House announced that vaccines will be required for international travelers coming into the United States, with an effective date of November 8, 2021. For purposes of entry into the United States, vaccines accepted will include FDA approved or authorized and WHO Emergency Use Listing vaccines.

More information is available on the CDC website here and scroll down to the Noncitizens / Nonimmigrants section

As of April 2, 2021, the CDC has provided additional travel guidelines for people that have been fully vaccinated with an FDA approved vaccine. The CDC website outlines the list of approved vaccines here.

*If you have received a qualifying vaccine from table 3 on this page, please make sure to check that your airline will accept your proof of vaccination.


UPDATE: As of June 12, 2022, the CDC will no longer require air passengers traveling from a foreign country to show a negative COVID-19 test. You can find more information about this update, here.

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) currently requires all travelers entering the United States by airplane to provide a negative COVID-19 test result.

Additional information about both requirements listed above is available on the CDC website here and on the Department of State website here.

Make Sure You Have a Valid Travel Signature

Travel signatures (on the second page of your most recent I-20) are valid for one year while you are a currently enrolled student.

To see if you have a valid travel signature, look at the 'Travel Endorsement' section on the second page of your I-20. Check if there is a signature from an ISAP staff member, and if so, the date it was signed.

If you need a new signature, please make an appointment with an ISAP advisor.

Double-Check Your Visa Expiration Date

Your visa must be valid on the day you reenter the United States. If your visa will expire while you’re outside the United States, you will need to obtain a new F-1 visa before returning.

Allow for processing time at the consulate when planning your travel. The Department of State provides a list of visa wait times that gives the average wait for an appointment and visa processing time.

If you have an F-1 visa that is still valid in an expired passport, you do not need to get a new F-1 visa in your new passport. You can carry both passports with you when entering the US.

Canadian citizens do not need an F-1 visa stamp in their passports to enter the US. Canadian-landed immigrants, however, are required to obtain a visa stamp in their passports to document entry into the US in F-1 status.

Double-Check Your Passport Expiration Date

You will not be allow to enter the United States if your passport has expired. In most cases, students are required to have a passport that is valid for at least six months beyond the date you plan to enter the United Students.

For citizens from certain countries, the US will allow entry into the United States up until the date of expiration. Check the “FAQ for F-1 Nonimmigrants” information on the ICE website to see which .