If you are an international student or scholar and plan to travel this winter break, be sure that you have the appropriate immigration documents.
If you are an F-1 or J-1 student, here is a list of documents that you should take with you as you travel:
- Valid passport
- Valid visa
- Valid I-20/DS-2019 signed for travel by an international student advisor within the last year
- Proof of financial support
- Examples include: Personal bank statement, Research Assistant/Teaching Assistant verification letter that includes salary and tuition payment details, or sponsor’s letter and bank statement
- Proof of full-time enrollment
- SEVIS fee receipt
- If you need to reprint your receipt, go to “Check Status” of the SEVIS fee website.
- Form I-94
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 2 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 (during advising hours only. No appointment required.)
- 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.
We recommend that you get a new travel signature and carry your immigration documents with you even if you travel within the U.S. anywhere near the border, such as South Padre, Big Bend, South Texas, or Galveston. You could be stopped at an immigration checkpoint!
Need to Renew Your Visa?
If the visa stamp in your passport has expired please come to ISSS and speak to an immigration advisor. You can also review our visa webpage online.
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.