Skip to content

Travel & Visa Renewal

Travel

We strongly advise you to check current laws and regulations for your traveling country. After the Covid-19 pandemic, there have been many changes happened and some countries are still following those rules.

Travel Documents
If you intend to re-enter the United States after traveling to another country, you must present yourself for inspection at the US port of entry with documents to demonstrate that you qualify to re-enter in the status you request.

You should verify all of your documents prior to leaving the US. The documents will not be inspected when you depart the US, only upon re-entry.  Be sure that you carry the following documents in hand upon returning to the US:

  • US Passport
    • ​Must be valid at least 6 months into the future
  • US Visa
    • Must be valid at time of entering the US
  • I-20 with Travel Signature
    • Travel signatures are valid for multiple entries and up to 12 months
  • (Recommended) Proof of Enrollment
    • Course registration for current or future semester
  • (If on OPT) EAD Card
    • Required for students who are participating in Post-Completion OPT or STEM OPT
  • (If on OPT, Recommended) Proof of Employment
    • Recommended for students who are participating in Post-Completion OPT or STEM OPT


Do not pack your important documents! Carry them with you when you travel.  Present only the forms requested by the inspector.

Travel Signature

If you have upcoming travel plans outside of the United States, you will need to make sure you have a valid travel signature on Page 2 of your I-20, a valid passport, and a valid visa. If you are a current student, your travel signature is valid for up to one year from the date last signed. If you are on OPT/STEM OPT, your travel signature is valid for up to 6 months from the date last signed. For extra security, you may request a letter of enrollment from the registrar's office to bring with you as well as a printed copy of your semester schedule from Marynet.
 
How to request a travel signature:
  1. Log into your ISSS Portal
  2. Go to tab 4. Initiate & Manage Request
  3. Click on the airplane icon that says I-20 Travel Signature Request under it located on the right side of the screen
  4. Fill out the information requested
  5. Click the submit button on the bottom of the pop up screen

Once you hit submit, your request will be sent to our office and we will be able to process your request within a few business days. 
Further Inspection
When you enter the United States, if you do not have the required documents, or if the inspector is uncertain whether you are eligible to enter the US, they may ask you to step into a separate room while your case is reviewed further. This is called “secondary inspection.”

Depending on what the concern is, you may be allowed to enter with the usual “D/S” authorization.

However, you may be given a 30-day permit, called Form I-515. It is rare for them to decline to admit a student, but it could happen. If you receive Form I-515, you should meet with an ISSS advisor as soon as possible after entry. DO NOT ignore the 30-day deadline. You must submit the required documents or your legal status will be terminated.

 

Visa Renewal
If you are traveling home and you need to renew your F-1 Visa, allow yourself at least 2 months in advance to apply for the interview at the U.S. Embassy in your country. To set up your appointment, go to the U.S. Embassy website of your country. Look for the section: “How to apply for a visa.” Have all your documents with you to complete your application.
 

  • Prepare a passport picture (white background) in a print and digital (PDF) version
  • Complete the electronic application form DS-160. Review it and print it immediately since you will be given a specific bar code.
  • Set an appointment at the closest embassy in your country. Go to: https://evisaforms.state.gov/Instructions/SchedulingSystem.asp
  • Pay the visa application fee (US$185).
 
For the day of the interview take with you:
  • DS-160 and receipt of visa fee
  • I-20 with a valid signature, all other I-20 forms.
  • Valid passport.
  • A passport picture.
  • Financial support documents.
  • Letter of enrollment and transcripts from the Registrar's Office.
  • Your next semester schedule from Marynet.
 
NOTE: If you are a current F-1 student maintaining your status then you do not have to pay the SEVIS fee.