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Travel

Before traveling outside the United States, you must meet with an  International Student advisor at least one week prior to your departure date. Please bring your current I-20 and passport. The advisor will review your information to help you re-enter the USA and successfully resume your classes.

Upon return to the U.S., please report to ISS and bring with you photocopies of the following documents:
• New visa stamp if you recently applied for or renewed your F1 visa.

• Copy of the first 3 pages of your new passport and expiration date page of the passport if recently renewed your passport

• Form I-94 - to access your electronic I-94 admission document, go to www.cbp.gov/i94

Frequently asked questions


Can I travel overseas during my course of study?

If you leave the U.S. briefly either for an emergency visit or vacation and plan to return to CSCC to continue a course of study, you must have page 3 of your Form I-20 signed by any international student advisor for reentry. If you fail to do this, you will have difficulty reentering the country.

The international student advisor will not endorse page 3 of your Form I-20 for reentry into the U.S. if you have failed to maintain your status or if you do not intend to return to CSCC to continue a course of study.
What are the requirements to reenter the U.S. after traveling abroad for pleasure or personal business?

Your Form I-20 must be valid and endorsed for travel by a international student advisor.
You have been out of the U.S. for less than five months.
Your passport is valid for at least six months after the date of your reentry.
You have a valid visa.
Financial information showing proof of necessary funds to cover tuition and living expenses.

What if I have an expired passport or one that will expire in less than six months?

You must renew your passport before reentering the U.S. In most cases, to enter the U.S. you must have a passport that is valid for at least six months after the date you enter or reenter.

Try to keep your passport current at all times. You need to determine your country's requirements for renewing passports as well as the time it will take. Many countries will allow you to renew your passport while in the U.S. The other alternative is to renew your passport when you return home for a visit.

If your expired passport has a valid F-1 visa, you can still use it if you kept the old passport. Present the old passport with your visa along with the new passport when you reenter the country.


Can I renew my visa outside the U.S. in a country other than my home country?

Yes, but the Department of State recommends that you apply for a visa in your country of citizenship.

Before you travel to a country other than yours to renew your visa, contact the U.S. Embassy or Consulate at which you plan to renew your visa.

If you exit the U.S. and apply for a visa, you cannot return to the U.S. until the visa is issued. This could require a lengthy stay. If the visa is denied, you will not be able to return to the U.S. as a student.


Can I go to Canada or Mexico and apply for a new visa?

In some cases, you can. Contact the individual U.S. Embassy or Consulate in Canada or Mexico. However, you cannot return to the U.S. until your visa is issued. If the visa is denied, you will not be able to return to the U.S. as a student. Visit the U.S. Visa Service, which provides appointments for consulates in Canada, and the Consulate of the United States to apply for a visa in Tijuana, Mexico.

Applying for a new visa is not the same as automatic visa revalidation. You cannot apply for a new visa and take advantage of automatic visa revalidation at the same time.


What is automatic visa revalidation?

Automatic visa revalidation allows most F-1 students to take a trip of less than 30 days to countries contiguous to the U.S. or adjacent islands and reenter on an expired visa provided you have proper documentation and have not applied for a new visa during the visit. This process revalidates your visa (making it eligible for the single trip), but does not renew it. See the Automatic Revalidation Fact Sheet from U.S. Customs and Border Protection for more information.


What documents do the spouse and minor children of a continuing F-1 student need to enter the U.S.?

If you are the spouse or minor child of an F-1 student you need to have the following:

A current Form I-20 in your name (and one for each F-2 traveling)
A valid passport
A valid F-2 visa

The primary (F-1) visa holder must be in active student status. If you are reentering the U.S. after traveling abroad, you must have page 3 of your I-20 signed by an international student advisor.


As a continuing student, will I need to pay the SEVIS I-901 fee if I travel outside the U.S.?

No. F-1 students are not required to pay a new SEVIS fee upon transfer to a new school, extension of stay or change in educational level, when obtaining a new visa for reentry for program continuation, as long as the absence is less than five months.


I wish to travel to Canada, Mexico or one of the islands (other than Cuba) adjacent to the U.S. Can I return if my visa is expired?

Yes, in most cases. You can usually revalidate an expired visa automatically when returning from a visit not exceeding 30 days to Canada, Mexico or one of the islands adjacent to the U.S. (other than Cuba), provided that you have a valid SEVIS Form I-20 and a valid unexpired Form I-94. This process is known as automatic visa revalidation.

However, if you meet any one of following criteria, you will not be able to automatically revalidate your visa:

You applied for a new visa and it has not been issued.
You applied for a new visa and were denied.
You have a terminated SEVIS record indicating that you are out of status.
You have been out of the U.S. for more than thirty days.
You are a citizen from one of the following countries: Cuba, Iran, Iraq, Libya, North Korea, Sudan or Syria

Which islands are defined as "adjacent islands"?

Saint Pierre
Miquelon
Dominican Republic
Haiti
Jamaica
Bermuda
Bahamas
Barbados
The Windward and Leeward Islands
Trinidad
Martinique
Other British, French and Netherlands territory or possessions in or bordering on the Caribbean Sea

Do I need a valid visa to visit Puerto Rico or the U.S. Virgin Islands?

No. You will need a valid SEVIS Form I-20 and a valid unexpired Form I-94. Be sure that you do not have a terminated SEVIS record indicating that you are out of status.
How do I know if I have a terminated record in SEVIS?

Your international student advisor can tell you what your SEVIS record status is and give you appropriate travel-related advice.


Can I reestablish F-1 student status by obtaining a new initial Form I-20 and reentering the U.S.?

Yes. However, you will be considered a new student for SEVIS purposes. You will have to pay the SEVIS fee, and any time that you have accrued towards qualification for training or employment will be lost. You must have the new SEVIS Form I-20 showing that you are entering with a new SEVIS ID number.

You should be aware that the CBP inspecting officer will determine whether or not to admit you to the U.S. with the new SEVIS Form I-20. If you did not comply with the terms of your status during a prior stay in the U.S., the CBP may decide that you are not eligible to reenter.