You may enter the United States 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 U.S., the school name on your visa must match
the school name on the I-20. Later, if you transfer schools in the U.S. and receive
a new I-20, your visa and I-20 will no longer match. This should not present a problem
When entering the U.S., 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 U.S. Immigration at your port
of exit when departing the country. Failure to do so may require you to obtain a new
visa before re-entering the United States.
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 United States. 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 U.S.
If you have been registered in NSEERS, please ask the International Student Advisor
about “Check-out Procedures.”
If you are out of the U.S. for five or more consecutive months, you will lose your
F-1 student status and be unable to re-enter the country. 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
If participating in Optional Practical Training you will be able to depart/return
to the U.S. as long as you have:
Not been outside of the U.S. for five (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 the United States
After completion of your program, you have a 60-day grace period during which you
may remain in the United States. This grace period begins on the day following the
program end date on your I-20. You should not leave the U.S. and then try to re-enter
the country 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
If you are participating in Optional Practical Training you will be able to depart
the U.S. and return as long as you have: