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Immigration and Visa

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Traveling outside the U.S.  

Remaining in good status throughout your stay should allow you to successfully travel in and out of the U.S.  You will need to have your immigration document (Form I-20 or DS-2019) signed before you leave the U.S.  You will also need a valid, unexpired visa to reenter the U.S. unless you are traveling to Canada, Mexico or contiguous islands for less than 30 days.  Also keep in mind that a valid visa for entry into other foreign countries may be necessary. 

Checklist for Travel Out of the U.S. During Breaks:

  • Check into the necessity of obtaining a visa to enter the country/countries where you plan to travel;
  • Make sure you have a valid passport (at least 6 months into the future) throughout your travels.  Information on renewing your passport is below;
  • Make sure you have a valid visa to reenter the U.S. after travels.  Information on renewing your visa is below; 
  • Complete a Departure Form and return it to ISSS;
  • Have a staff member sign your immigration document (Form I-20 or DS-2019). Do NOT wait until the last minute to have this completed as staff members are not always available immediately;

Upon returning to campus, please visit the International Student & Scholar Services office.  Our staff will make a copy of your immigration entry stamp found in your passport and verify that you have been admitted in your correct status.  

Renewing Your Passport

In addition to providing you with the best identification document available, a current passport is an essential part of maintaining your legal nonimmigrant status here in the United States. Please be sure that it is always valid for at least 6 months in the future. If you are traveling back home for an extended period of time (i.e., winter or summer breaks), you may find it easiest to renew your passport while there. However, if your length of travel will make renewal at home impossible, you should contact your country's embassy here in the United States for information about the steps necessary for renewal. Most countries have embassies located in Washington, D.C., where you may be able to obtain the renewal in person while you wait. Some countries require a much longer waiting period, so you are encouraged to begin asking questions of your embassy eight to nine months before your passport will expire. The Electronic Embassy maintains a list of all Embassies found in Washington, D.C.

Renewing Your Visa

Please remember if your student visa expires while you are in the country, you can remain in the U.S. legally if you are otherwise maintaining good status.  The visa is an entry document needed for successful entry into the U.S. under that particular status.   If you leave the U.S. then you must renew your ‘expired or soon to be expired’ visa for reentry.  It is not possible to renew your visa in the U.S. For more information about renewing your F-1 visa, visit the Immigration and Customs Enforcement web site.

Documents needed to renew your visa:

  • Valid Passport-dated at least 6 months into the future
  • Official Transcripts
  • Signed SEVIS I-20
  • Completed DS-160; find the form on the U.S. Department of State web site.
  • Official bank statement showing availability of adequate funds for at least 1 year
  • Any documentation showing your intent to return to your home country