F-1 and J-1 Travel
Students and scholars wishing to reenter the U.S. in F-1 or J-1 status after travel abroad will require all of the following:
- Form I-20 or Form DS-2019 that was travel-endorsed by the ISO during the semester that the international travel occurs.
- A valid visa stamp (see exceptions in the visa section).
- A valid passport (see the Department of State's website for exceptions).
Additionally, students returning to the U.S. after filing for or obtaining post-completion optional practical training employment authorization should be prepared to present evidence of their OPT with their EAD card and a job offer letter.
The ISO recommends a travel signature at least once every semester in which you travel, and proximate to the date of departure. If on F-1 OPT, we recommend a travel signature at least within 6 months of the date of departure, though once per semester is the more strongly recommended course.
Dependents wishing to return to the U.S. in F-2 or J-2 status must comply with the same conditions including a travel endorsement on their I-20 or DS-2019.
Students and scholars in F-1 or J-1 status should visit the ISO during advising hours to obtain a travel endorsement on Form I-20 or Form DS-2019 approximately two weeks before any planned travel abroad. When applying for a travel endorsement, you must submit all of the following:
- Your current Form I-20 or Form DS-2019 (and forms of any traveling family members)
- Travel Request Form
- Evidence of medical insurance (also for any traveling family members)
- Passport (and passports of any traveling family members)
**Never enter the U.S. on a Tourist Visa (B-2 or B-1/B-2) or the Visa Waiver Program (WB or WT) throughout your period of F-1 or J-1 status, including an approved period of F-1 OPT or J-1 Academic Training. This includes summer and holiday travel while you are still actively a F-1/J-1 student/scholar or on OPT or academic training. Entry to the U.S. as other than F-1 or J-1 will constitute a change of status, and F-1 benefits will be abandoned.