International Student and Scholar Services currently advises against inessential international travel due to the challenges posed by COVID-19. If you are an F-1 or J-1 student who needs to travel internationally this summer, here’s what you need to know.
Make sure you have a valid travel signature.
To re-enter the U.S. from abroad, you will need a valid travel signature on your I-20/DS-2019.
- The travel signature can be found on page two of the I-20.
- The most recent signature must have been within the last 12 months (six months if you are on OPT or STEM OPT) from the date you re-enter the country.
- If you need a new travel signature, log into myIO and navigate as follows: F-1 Student Services > Travel Signature Request.
- The travel signature can be found on the bottom, right corner of page one of the DS-2019.
- The most recent signature must have been within the last 12 months from the date you re-enter the country.
- If you need a new travel signature, log into myIO and navigate as follows: J-1 Student Services > Travel Signature Request.
Double-check your other immigration documents.
Check out our Know Before You Travel page to find a complete list of documents required for re-entry.
Keep in mind these special considerations during the pandemic:
- The pandemic and associated travel restrictions are fluid and could change at any time with little warning.
- A negative COVID-19 test is currently required to enter the U.S.
- The CDC has provided additional guidelines for vaccinated and unvaccinated travelers.
- All F-1 and J-1 students (except for Canadian citizens) need an unexpired F-1 or J-1 visa to re-enter the U.S. If you need a new visa, be aware that many U.S. consulates and embassies abroad are offering very limited visa services and it may be difficult (or, in some countries, next to impossible) to get an appointment.
- There are restrictions on direct travel to the U.S. from certain countries and regions. If you spend time in any of these areas, you will need to spend at least 14 days in a third country before entering the U.S.
- If you are an F-1 student present in the Schengen Area, the U.K. or Ireland, you are currently exempt from the travel restriction. You may travel directly from those areas to the U.S.
- If you are a J-1 student in the Schengen Area, the U.K. or Ireland, you must first apply at the local U.S. consulate for a national interest exemption to enter the country.
We at ISSS wish you a safe and restful summer. If you have questions, please email us.