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Travel - Before You Go

travel airplane

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 travel signature

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

For information about traveling while you are on Post Completion OPT, please review the Travel on OPT information.


i20 travel

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 .