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F-1: Travel Info and Visa Renewal

Travel Regulations Outside of the U.S.

We strongly advise you to check the current laws and regulations for the country you are planning to visit before making your final plans. Post COVID-19, there may be new or temporary changes in place. Each country that you plan to visit, or that you may need to pass through in transit on your way to your final destination, may have their own requirements. 


Travel Documents to Re-enter U.S.

If you intend to re-enter the United States after traveling to another country, you must present yourself for inspection at the U.S. port of entry and show documents to demonstrate that you are eligible to re-enter in your visa status.

Verify your documents well before your planned departure from the U.S. Make sure that you plan ahead so that you have enough time to complete any document updates that may be needed.

The documents that show your eligibility to study in the U.S. will not be inspected when you depart the U.S., but they will be inspected when you arrive at the U.S. port of entry on your return. Carry the following documents with you when returning to the U.S.:

  • Passport: must be valid at least 6 months beyond your re-entry to the U.S. (You may read about exceptions here.)
  • Visa: must be valid and unexpired at time you re-enter the U.S.
    • If you have a new passport and your valid visa is in your old passport, bring both passports with you
  • Fully signed I-20 with Travel Endorsement on page 2: P/DSO travel endorsements may be used for multiple entries and are valid up to 12 months from date of signature (for current students only)
  • (Recommended) For current students, an unofficial transcript (you may download this from your student portal)
  • (Recommended) For current students, print a copy of your course registration for the current or upcoming semester (you may download this from your student portal)
  • (Recommended) For current students, proof of funding
  • (If on OPT, Required) Valid EAD Card: required for students who are participating in Post-Completion OPT or OPT STEM Extension
  • (If on OPT, Recommended) Proof of OPT or OPT STEM Extension employment in U.S.: recommended for students who are participating in Post-Completion OPT or OPT STEM Extension
  • (J-1 only) If on post-completion Academic Training, your Employment Authorization Letter

Do not pack your important documents in your checked luggage! Carry your documents with you when you travel. Present only the forms requested by the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol officer/inspector.

Travel Endorsement

If you plan to travel outside of the United States, make sure that you have a valid travel endorsement on page 2 of your I-20, a valid passport, and a valid/unexpired visa.
  • If you are a currently enrolled student at Marymount, then the travel endorsement is valid for up to one year from the date last signed.
  • If you are on OPT or OPT STEM Extension, the the travel endorsement is valid for up to 6 months from the date last signed.
You may find it helpful to also carry with you a Verification of Enrollment letter and a print out of your course schedule for the current or upcoming semester. You may request a Verification of Enrollment from the Registrar's Office. You may print a copy of your course registration from your student portal.
How to request a travel endorsement on your I-20:
  1. Log into your ISSS Portal
  2. Go to Tab 4 "Initiate & Manage Requests"
  3. Click on "I-20 Travel Signature Request" (airplane icon)
  4. Complete the fields requested
  5. Click the Submit button at the bottom of the pop-up screen
Once you click Submit, your request will be sent to the ISSS office. Please allow 7-10 business days for processing. 

Secondary Inspection

When you enter the United States, if you do not have the required documents, or if the inspector is uncertain as to whether or not you are eligible to enter the U.S., they may ask you to step into a separate room while your case is further reviewed. This is called “secondary inspection.” Once the additional review is completed:

  • You may be allowed to enter the U.S. with the usual Duration of Stay (“D/S”) authorization, depending on the officer's concern. 
  • Or, you may be issued a Form I-515A "Notice to Student or Exchange Visitor." Although rare, it is possible for an officer to decline to admit a student. If you receive Form I-515A, provide a copy of it through the ISSS Portal (Document Upload) and meet with an ISSS advisor as soon as possible after entry. Form I-515A is a document that allows temporary admission into the U.S. for 30 days. DO NOT ignore the 30-day deadline. You must follow the requirements stated on the form. Failure to comply may result in termination your SEVIS record. 

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.

For the day of the interview take with you:
  • DS-160 and receipt of visa fee
  • I-20 with a valid signatures (and all previous I-20 forms, if any)
  • Valid passport (see above)
  • Passport photo (see above)
  • Proof of funding documents
  • Verification of Enrollment and transcript(s) from the Registrar's Office
  • Your next semester course schedule from your student portal
NOTE: If you are a current F-1 student who is maintaining status, then you do not have to pay the SEVIS fee.