Review Your I-20 or DS-2019
Don’t forget to check your I-20/DS-2019 for a valid travel signature:
Look at page 3 of the I-20 (F-1 students) or page 1 of the DS-2019 (J-1 students/scholars) and check the date that the document was last signed for travel by an immigration advisor. If the signature will be more than 12 months old by the date that you plan to re-enter the U.S., please stop by ISSS to have your I-20/DS-2019 signed before you leave. If you are on OPT, please note that your travel signature is only valid for 6 months, and you will need to renew it accordingly.
F-1 or J-1 students should visit our office during the posted advising hours for a travel signature (no appointment required). Scholars and sponsored students should make an appointment with their advisor for a travel signature.
We recommend that you get a new travel signature and carry your immigration documents with you even if you travel within the U.S., especially anywhere near the border, such as South Padre, Big Bend, South Texas, or Galveston. You could be stopped at an immigration checkpoint within the US!
Need to Renew Your Visa?
If the visa stamp in your passport has expired you may need to renew your visa if you travel abroad. Please see an advisor if you have any questions about renewing your visa. You can also review our visa handout online.
Traveling to Mexico, Canada, or the Caribbean with an Expired Visa? Use Automatic Visa Revalidation (AVR)
If you plan to travel to any of the countries listed below and have an expired U.S. visa, you might consider automatic visa revalidation (AVR). Please see our travel advisory for further details.
The Windward and Leeward Islands
Other British, French or Netherlands territories or possessions in, or bordering the Caribbean Sea.
Traveling abroad while on OPT or Academic Training?
The following are the documents you will need to take with you:
Passport valid for at least 6 months from the date of entry
Valid U.S. visa (except for Canadians)
I-20/DS-2019 signed by an Immigration Advisor within the past 6 months
Valid EAD (Employment Authorization Document, also known as ‘work card’ or ‘OPT card’) or Academic Training authorization letter
Verification of employment or offer letter to start employment shortly after re-entry to the U.S.
Additional Travel Considerations
As you prepare for your travel, read our Using Health Insurance During Winter Break.