Traveling Outside the U.S.

Travel outside North America:
  • Valid passport
  • Valid F-1 or J-1 visa
  • Your I-94 card (the small white card stapled into your passport) is collected at the port of departure and you will receive a new one when you re-enter 
  • If your F-1 or J-1 visa is expired, request a certification letter from ISS and also have your transcript and current financial information with you as the US Consulate will need these documents when you apply for a new visa abroad
  • I-20 or DS-2019 signed on page 3 within the last one academic year by an advisor in ISS.  If you do not have a current signature, please drop off your I-20 or DS-2019 off in the ISS office.  Allow 5 working days to receive your form back.
  • Visa for the country you are visiting, unless it's your home country
  • If you were registered in NSEERS (Special Registration, as shown on your I-94 card), this program has ended effective 04/28/2011. You no longer need to separately register your departure from the US or depart only from designated ports.
  • When returning to the US, be sure to fill out your I-94 card correctly and check it for errors when you return to the US.  Use all CAPITAL letters, print neatly using standard English letters, do not use hyphens in your name and enter your name exactly as it appears in your passport.  Protect this critical document by being sure it is securely stapled into your passport.  As a student, your I-94 card should be marked as "F-1"or "J-1" and "D/S".  Dependents should have "F-2" or "J-2" and "D/S".  If you are given a deferred entry and date of expiration on your I-94 card, please contact ISS as soon as possible.


Travel to Canada, Mexico and the adjacent islands (except Cuba):

  • Valid passport
  • Current I-94 (do not give up this vital document at the border or when boarding an airplane)
  • I-20 or DS-2019 signed on page 3 within the last six months by an advisor in ISS.  If you do not have a current signature, please drop off your I-20 or DS-2019 off in the ISS office.  Allow 5 working days to receive your form back.
  • Visa for the country you are visiting, unless it's your home country
  • If you were registered in NSEERS (Special Registration, as shown on your I-94 card), this program has ended effective 04/28/2011. You no longer need to separately register your departure from the US or depart only from designated ports.
  • You may visit Canada, Mexico and the adjacent islands (except Cuba) even if your F-1 or J-1 visa has expired or if you entered the U.S. with a different visa from your current student status. You may only be gone up to 30 days and you must have all of the documents listed above. Remember that the I-94 cannot be replaced after you cross the border, so do be sure you have it and hold on to it. You must be maintaining your non-immigrant status and resuming your studies, OPT or academic training.  There are two exceptions to this policy of automatic visa revalidation. Your visa is not automatically revalidated for re-entry if you apply for a U.S. visa while in Canada, Mexico or the adjacent islands. You are also not covered by this policy if you are a citizen of Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan or Syria.