Travel and Re-Entry

Travel Outside the USA


"On October 25, 2021, President Biden issued A Proclamation on Advancing the Safe Resumption of Global Travel During the COVID-⁠19 Pandemic, which, effective November 8, 2021, will lift the four current geographic travel ban restrictions, and replace them with a global requirement that "noncitizens who are nonimmigrants" traveling to the United States by air from any part of the world establish that they are fully vaccinated, with some limited exceptions. All air travelers will also continue to have to show results of a negative coronavirus test performed on a specimen taken during the three days preceding their flight's departure from a  foreign country traveling to the United States, in addition to proof of vaccination. In a separate but related announcement, the controls on non-essential travel through land ports of entry on the Canadian and Mexican borders will also be modified."

Do not travel internationally until you are fully vaccinated.

All international students traveling outside of the USA during Summer/Winter or other University Break must apply for a travel signature two weeks before leaving and be aware of the following items:

A travel signature is a required endorsement on page 2 of an I-20 or page 1 of a DS-2019 which allows continuing students or their dependents to reenter the U.S. upon return from a trip abroad. A travel signature does not apply to students who take a leave of absence and reenter the U.S. with a brand new I-20.

  • You must provide the International Center with a Travel Request Form each time you travel, even if your previously obtained travel signature is still valid.
  • Apply for a travel signature at least two weeks before you plan to travel.

Check out this helpful link  from U.S. Customs and Border Protection to read about international travel, form I-94, food regulations and more.

Make sure your I-94 record shows your appropriate status F-1 (if you have an I-20) or J-1 (if you have a DS2019), and D/S (Duration of Status) by visiting Students who travel during winter or summer vacation are required to report to us no later than the first day of the semester.

Your travel hold will be lifted once you report. Failure to report on time will lead to SEVIS termination.

Visit the I-94 website to Get Most Recent I-94. Once you have completed the online form, print out the document and keep it with you.

Be sure your passport is valid for at LEAST 6 MONTHS into the future prior to travel!

What do I do if my passport is expired?
Check the website of your home country’s appropriate government office for application information. Allow extra processing time if you need to extend your passport.

Your passport should be valid up to six months into the future prior to your return trip to the U.S., and if expired:

  • Check the website of your home country’s appropriate government office for application information.
  • Allow extra processing time if you need to extend your passport.

What do I do if I lost my passport or visa?

You will need to report the lost or stolen document(s) to the police, Campus Security and us at the International Center. This link will provide more details about how to proceed:

Carry the following documents with you when traveling:

  • Valid Passport
  • Original form I-20 or DS-2019 with travel signature. (Hold onto all originals)
  • Financial information showing proof of necessary funds to cover tuition and living expenses
  • Copies of current semester registration and pre-registration for next semester

F-1 or J-1 visa application students must ALSO carry:

  • Official transcript
  • Enrollment Verification Letter (if required by consulate/embassy for visa application
  • Evidence you have paid tuition and fees (Bursar's receipt)
  • School ID card with current semester sticker

On November 5, 2015, the Department of State instituted a policy of prudentially revoking the non-immigrant visa of any individual charged with a DUI-related offense while in the United States. If you have a DUI-related offense in the U.S., your visa will be revoked upon departure from the U.S.

Application Procedure for Currently Enrolled Students with a Valid F-1 or J-1 Visa

Review Eligibility Requirements

Step 1: Review your accounts and documentation to ensure you meet the following eligibility requirements:

  • Pre-register for next semester.
  • No overdue balance.
  • No holds on your account.
  • The validity of your passport must be six months or more from the date you will return.

Complete the Travel Signature Request Form

Step 2: Click on Travel Signature Request Form for Current Students only. Fill out, print, and then sign the form with pen.

For students on OPT read the full procedure at the bottom of the page.
Note: This form is only accepted when typed!

Drop Off Your Required Documents

Step 3: Drop off your original form I-20 or DS-2019 and the Travel Signature Request Form to International Center for Students and Scholars.

Due to COVID-19, travel signatures will be processed through email. Please email your Travel Signature Request Form and I-20 (page 1 & 2) to with your full name and UB ID included in the subject line.

You will receive an e-mail when your travel signature is ready.


If you have an Expired F-1 or J-1 Visa, you must:

Complete the Application

Step 1. Complete the Application Procedure for currently enrolled students with a Valid F-1 or J-1 Visa.

Request Your Official Transcript

Step 2. Apply for an Official Transcript through Webadvisor.

Apply for an Enrollment Verification Letter

Step 3. Apply for an Enrollment Verification letter through Webadvisor, if needed by your consulate/embassy for your visa application.

If I travel to Canada, Mexico, or an adjacent island, can I reenter the U.S. with an Expired Visa?

For further information, please visit Automatic Revalidation on the U.S. Department of State website or consult an International Student Advisor.

Application Procedure for Students on OPT

While it is possible to travel during your OPT period, there is risk involved. OPT is an optional benefit following your degree completion, therefore, U.S Customs and Border Protection reserve the right to deny re-entry following travel outside the U.S. This process may take up to two weeks to complete. Plan to apply in advance of your departure date.

Step 1. Submit OPT Travel Signature Request Form

OPT Travel Signature Request Form

When your I-20 has been signed with a travel signature, you will receive a notification through the form you submitted.  Please do not submit duplicate forms. Before you submit any travel request, make sure that your employment information is current and correct by viewing your employment information through your SEVP Portal Account.  For employment change or update, refer to Student Statement for 12-month OPT or Student Statement for 24-month STEM OPT, whichever is applicable to you.

Get Your I-20

Step 2. Receive your I-20 via mail.

An I-20 with travel signature will be emailed to your UB email account.



Step 3. Carry these documents with you when you return.

When returning to the United States, please carry at least the following:
• I-20 that reflects your OPT approved status with travel signature from an International Student Advisor dated within the last six months.
• Valid Employment Authorization Document (EAD card).
• Valid F-1 visa and passport.
• Proof of employment (letter of permission for travel from employer with specific travel dates).

Please remember even carrying all the above documents, it is still very risky to travel while you are on OPT.

Reporting to International Center for Students and Scholars after Traveling Outside the U.S. while on OPT

When you return from a trip abroad, please notify us right away. For reporting, submit an Online Passport Check-in Form. Attach your most recent entry stamp and I-94 electronic record (found on Make sure your I-94 record shows your appropriate status F-1 and D/S (Duration of Status).

Please Note

  • If your 12-month OPT has expired and your STEM OPT extension is pending, you cannot travel outside the U.S.
  • If you are on Cap Gap, you cannot travel outside the U.S.
  • Traveling outside the U.S. for 5 months or more will lead to violation of your F-1 status and cancellation of your OPT.

Current students must report to the International Center for Students and Scholars

You are required to report physical presence upon arrival to the U.S. at the International Center for Students and Scholars. Our office is required by immigration to report your physical presence and enrollment through SEVIS. Each time you return from a trip abroad, please report in person to us at G-133 of the Wahlstrom Library promptly.

  •  UPDATE local address (within 10 days of a change)
  •  Fill out and submit the Online Travel Check-in form on the portal or on UB webforms.
  •  VISIT G133 Wahlstrom Library at the International Center BEFORE UB reopens for class in order for your hold to be removed
  •  US Entry stamp should show F-1 and D/S (Duration of Status)

What if my travel plans change after submitting the form?

Notify us of any changes to your itinerary at and our staff will determine, if necessary, how to proceed.

Travel Inside of U.S.

Special note for travel within the U.S.: Be sure to carry with you identifying documents and proof of school enrollment even when traveling within the U.S.

Visiting Canada

To learn whether you need a tourist visa to visit Canada, please visit the website of the Consulate General of Canada in New York.

In general, many F-1/J-1 students, and their F-2/J-2 dependents, may travel to Canada and come back within thirty days or less even if their F-1/J-1 or F-2/J-2 visa is expired. There are important limits and exceptions. Please visit Automatic Revalidation to see if you are eligible for it.

Remember that travel to Canada or any other country requires you to have certain documents to come back.