Traveling as an F-1 International Student

Traveling as an F-1 International Student


If you are planning a trip within the United States to cities near or far, it is essential that you have your passport. You are also advised to carry your I-20 with you.


  1. In order to re-enter the United States, your passport must be valid at least six months into the future. Passports may be renewed at your country's consulate or embassy in the United States.
  2. You should be traveling using your most recently issued SEVIS I-20. However, be sure to save all of your previous SEVIS I-20s as they represent your immigration “history” in the United States.
  3. Your SEVIS I-20 must be signed for travel on page 2 by a DSO. A travel signature is valid for one year, as long as you are registered full time each semester and all information on your SEVIS I-20 remains the same. However, we advise students to obtain travel signatures once per semester.
  4. F-1 students must have a valid F-1 student visa* to re-enter the U.S. from abroad. (Canadians are excluded because they do not require an F-1 student visa.)

*In most cases, F-1 students can travel to Canada, Mexico, or Caribbean islands (except Cuba and Bermuda) adjacent to North America with an expired F-1 student visa for less than 30 days. Please note however that if you are in F-1 status but have another type of visa and plan to re-enter the U.S., you will be required to obtain an F-1 student visa from a U.S. consulate or embassy abroad prior to re-entering. You cannot obtain an F-1 student visa in the U.S.

If you are visiting a country other than your own, you may need a visitor’s visa to enter. You can find out about entry requirements for other countries by contacting the embassy for the country you are visiting.

If you have any additional questions, please make an appointment to speak to a DSO.