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Offices & Services

International Student Services

F-1 International Students

Travel for F-1 Students
Arrival
  • You may enter the US no more than 30 days before the program start date on your I-20.
  • When passing through immigration, you will be asked for your passport with I-94 card (the card you receive on the airplane) and your I-20.
  • The first time you come to study in the US, the school name on your visa must match the school name on the I-20. Later, if you transfer schools in the US and receive a new I-20, your visa and I-20 will no longer match. This should not present a problem for travel.
  • When entering the US, if immigration officers choose to register you under NSEERS and you are issued a FIN Number, please notify the International Student Advisor. You will subsequently be required to “Check-out” with US Immigration at your port of exit when departing the US. Failure to do so may require you to obtain a new visa before re-entering the US.
  • If you are traveling prior to your initial entry and are planning to apply for a visa during your travels, please be aware that you can only apply for a visa in the country of which you are a citizen.
Traveling During Your Stay
  • You may need a visa if traveling outside of the US. You can find this information on embassy websites.
  • Check to make sure your passport is valid
  • Check to make sure your F-1 visa is valid
  • You should obtain the signature of the International Student Advisor/Designated School Official on your I-20 prior to any trip out of the US.
  • If you have been registered in NSEERS, please ask the International Student Advisor about “Check-out Procedures.”
  • If you are out of the US for 5 or more consecutive months, you will lose your F-1 student status and be unable to re-enter the US. This is true whether you are a student, or an OPT participant.
  • You may apply for a visa only in your country of citizenship. If you apply at another embassy during your travels and are refused, you may not be able to re-enter the United States.
  • If participating in Optional Practical Training you will be able to depart/return to the US as long as you have:
    • A valid passport and valid F1 visa
    • Valid Employment Authorization Documentation (EAD Card)
    • Your expired I-20 with OPT noted
    • Not been outside of the US for 5 or more consecutive months
    • A travel letter from your employer, indicating that they are aware of your absence and return (This letter is not mandatory, but recommended.)
Departure from US
  • After completion of your program, you have a 60-day grace period during which you may remain in the US. This 60 day grace period begins on the day following the program end date on your I-20. You should not leave the US and then try to re-enter the US during that 60-day grace period
  • Check to make sure your passport is valid
  • If you have been registered in NSEERS, ask the International Student Advisor about “Check-out Procedures.”
  • If you are participating in Optional Practical Training you will be able to depart the US and return as long as you have:
    • A valid passport and valid F1 visa
    • Valid Employment Authorization Documentation (EAD Card)
    • Your expired I-20 with OPT noted
    • Not been outside of the US for 5 or more consecutive months
    • A travel letter from your employer, indicating that they are aware of your absence and return (This letter is recommended, not mandatory.)