Travel with I-20 or OPT/STEM OPT
If you plan to travel outside of the United States and reenter, you need a travel signature on your I-20.
To request an I-20 with updated travel signature please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Due to COVID-19, designated school officials (DSOs) can electronically send signed Forms I-20, "Certificate of Eligibility for Non-immigrant Student Status," to students via email addresses listed in the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) instead of physically mailing forms.
Enrolled F-1 Student (I-20)
|A travel signature on page 2 of your I-20 is valid for 12 months or until the program end date on the I-20, whichever comes first.|
F-1 Post-Completion and STEM/OPT Student (I-20)
|A travel signature on page 2 of your I-20 is valid for 6 months or until the expiration date of the EAD, whichever comes first.|
In order to reenter the U.S., the following documents are required:
- Passport, valid at least six months after your date of entry into the U.S.
- Valid visa (some exceptions exist for travel to Canada, Mexico, and adjacent islands. See information about Automatic Visa Revalidation or renewing F-1 visa info here.
I-20 signed for travel in the past 12 months
If you are currently on OPT, your EAD card
If you are currently on OPT, proof of employment is required if you are able to provide it (this can be a letter from your employer stating that you are currently employed, an offer letter if you have not yet started the employment, and/or pay stubs)
Do not pack the above documents in your luggage.
Carry them with you at all times. The following documents are also helpful in verifying your activities as an F-1 entering the U.S. if an immigration official questions your student visa status, and therefore are also recommended for travel but not required.
- Transcript of coursework (See your Self Service account to print an unofficial transcript)
Financial certification (bank statement, assistantship letter, etc.)
I-901 SEVIS Fee Payment Receipt
Printout of current and future enrollment (your class schedule)
If you are on OPT or CPT, a letter from an employer acknowledging the travel and your salary amount.