Travel Outside the USA
All international students traveling outside of the USA must prepare the following items before they leave:
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.
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 https://i94.cbp.dhs.gov. 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: https://travel.state.gov/content/visas/en/general/lost-or-stolen-travel-documents.html
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
To complete the proper application, click on the link that best applies to your situation:
When you return, you must report to the International Center for Students and Scholars.
You are required to report physical presence upon arrival 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 email@example.com and our staff will determine, if necessary, how to proceed.
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
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.
Step 2: Download the Travel Signature Request Form for Current Students only. Fill out, print, and then sign the form.
For students on OPT read the full procedure at the bottom of the page.
Note: This form is only accepted when typed!
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.
You will receive an e-mail when your document is ready to be picked up.
If you have an Expired F-1 or J-1 Visa, you must:
Step 1. Complete the Application Procedure for currently enrolled students with a Valid F-1 or J-1 Visa.
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 travel.state.gov website or consult an International Student Advisor.
Application Procedure for Students on OPT
Step 1. Verify that you are eligible to travel outside of the United States.
- 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.
Step 2. Collect your I-20 in person or via mail.
Come to the International Center for Students and Scholars to obtain your I-20. The office is open from Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
OR If you are unable to collect your signed I- 20 in person, you must send a pre-paid self-addressed envelope and we will mail the I-20 back to you once it is processed. We only accept UPS and USPS.
You should do this before you start step 2 so the process does not get delayed!
Visiting and mailing address:
International Center for Students and Scholars
126 Park Avenue
Wahlstrom Library, Room G-133
Bridgeport, CT 06604
Step 4. Email specified documents.
Email the completed form, copy of your OPT EAD card, and employer authorization letter to firstname.lastname@example.org.
When an International Student Advisor signs your I-20 with a travel signature, you will be notified via email.
Step 5. Carry these documents with you when you return.
When returning to the United States, please carry at least the following:
• An 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).
Reporting to International Center for Students and Scholars after Traveling Outside the U.S. while on OPT
Our office is required by immigration to report your physical presence through SEVIS. When you return from a trip abroad, please notify us promptly. For reporting, email a copy of your entry stamp and I-94 electronic record (found on www.cbp.gov/I94) to email@example.com. Make sure your I-94 record shows your appropriate status F-1 and D/S (Duration of Status).
Travel By Land Outside of U.S.
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.
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.