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Travel and Re-entry to the United States

Before traveling outside of the United States, make sure that you have all required documents for re-entry into the United States if you are an F-1 student or J-1 exchange visitor.

Temporary 30-day Admission to the United States

If you arrive at a United States port of entry from abroad without your I-20/DS-2019, you will still be able to enter the United States temporarily for 30 days as long as you are otherwise admissible.

You will receive Form I-515A Notice to Student and Exchange Visitor at the U.S. port of entry. This form contains instructions for what you need to do to extend your stay beyond 30 days. You will need to send the required documentation to the Department of Homeland Security within the 30-day submission deadline in order to maintain status.

Traveling to Canada and Mexico

F-1 and J-1 students who wish to travel to Canada or Mexico may require a Canadian or Mexican tourist visa. You should check with the Canadian embassy or Mexican embassy to find out whether your home country is exempt from a tourist visa requirement.

F-1 and J-1 students with an expired student visa may re-enter the U.S. from Canada, Mexico, or adjacent islands (excluding Cuba) without renewing their visa as long as their stay is no longer than 30 days and they are returning to the U.S. to resume their program. For more information, visit the U.S. Department of State's automatic revalidation website.
 
Advice

Be prepared to talk about you educational goals in the United States, your intent to return to your home country, and your plans once you return home. Remember to maintain a respectful attitude and avoid making jokes.

If you need to apply for a new visa to re-enter the United States, you may be taking a risk as some consulates may have delays in issuing visas. Before traveling, please check with the consulate in your home country about their procedures and timetable for issuing new visas.

Upon your return, bring any new immigration documents to Krittika Onsanit in the Office of International Education for copying and submission to your file.

Hand-carry the following documents (do NOT pack in your checked luggage):

Valid passport with valid F or J visa (if applicable)

Signed Form I-20, "Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Status" or DS-2019 "Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor (J-1) Status"

Proof of financial support

Travelers should also consider bringing the following:

Evidence of acceptance to the University (e.g. acceptance letter, scholarship/financial aid letter, course schedule, recent receipt for tuition/fees payment)

Proof of paying the I-901 Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) fee

If you are on OPT, a letter from your employer stating that you have the job, the job description, and the dates of employment (which will need to match your EAD). If you are near the end of your OPT, it is not likely that you will be allowed to re-enter the United States for this purpose.