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Travel in F-1 Student Status

Last updated on Nov 16, 2023

We have changed our name. Effective immediately, International Student Affairs and Programs (ISAP) is now the International Student Services (ISS) office. Questions? Email us at iss@cca.edu

Required Documents for Travel as a Current Student

Always keep the items listed below in your carry-on luggage; do not pack them in your suitcase! When re-entering the United States after an international trip, be prepared to present the following documents at the US Port of Entry:

  • Valid Passport (must be valid 6 months into the future at all times)
  • Valid F-1 Visa (except students with Canadian citizenship)
  • I-20 with valid Travel Endorsement Signature (printed paper I-20 required for US entry)

It is also recommended to carry the following items:

  • Print-out of current CCA class registration (or next semester’s class registration if traveling during a break)
  • Financial documents reflecting funding 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 or STEM OPT Extension, please review the Travel on OPT information.

If traveling outside the US in the next few months, 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 these two options:

1) Schedule an on campus / in person appointment here and an ISS staff member can sign your paper I-20.

or

2) US Customs and Boarder Protection (CBP) will allow ISS staff to digitally sign on page 2 of the I-20 form for travel endorsement purposes. Complete the ISS Travel Signature Request form. Upload a PDF of your most recent I-20 to the online request form, enter all required information, and submit. ISS will digitally sign page 2 and email your I-20 document to your CCA email address within 3 business days.

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Do You Have a Valid Travel Signature?

Travel signatures (on page 2 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 page 2 of your I-20. Check for a signature from an ISS staff member and date it was signed.

If you need a new signature, please make an appointment with an ISS advisor or complete the ISS Travel Signature Request Form


Check Your Visa Expiration Date

Your F-1 visa must be valid on the day you re-enter 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 US embassy/consulate when planning your travel. The US Department of State provides a list of estimated visa wait times 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 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.

Check Your Passport Expiration Date

You will not be allow to enter the United States if your passport has expired. Students are required to have a passport that is valid for at least 6 months at all times and beyond the date you plan to enter the United States.

Exception: The US may allow entry into the United States up until the date of expiration for specific countries. Check the “FAQ for F-1 Nonimmigrants” information on the ICE website for more information.