Traveling

While you are studying at Adams State, you may want to travel outside the United States, such as:

  • to return to your home country over summer break, or
  • to explore another country on spring break

To be re-admitted to the U.S. as an F-1 student, you must present the following documents:

  • Your passport, which must be valid for at least six months on the day that you re-enter the U.S. If you recently renewed your passport, you may need to carry your old expired passport, too, if your F-1 visa is in your expired passport. An exception to this rule exists for certain countries having agreements with the U.S. to extend the validity of passports. People with passports issued by one of those countries can enter the U.S. until the date the passport expires. As a reminder, you should always keep your passport valid while you are in the U.S.
  • A valid F-1 visa stamp in your passport (except Canadian students). In most situations, the F-1 visa must be valid on the day you will enter the U.S.
  • Your currently valid I-20 immigration document with a recent travel signature on page 2 of your I-20. It should have been signed by an ASU PDSO/DSO after you arrived to begin your study. The signature must be less than one year old on the day you will re-enter the U.S.

You may wish to bring copies of financial documentation and your student transcript as an additional precaution when traveling. If you feel you may come under increased scrutiny, you may want to get a letter from your department that says that you are a student in good standing with the University.

For more information, refer to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement SEVIS FAQs.

Get a Travel Signature on Your I-20

Before you leave the country, make sure you have a valid travel signature that is less than one (1) year old from your date of return from an ASU PDSO/DSO on page 3 of your I-20. You will not be able to re-enter the United States without one. Travel signatures are valid for one (1) calendar year or until the completion of your program, whichever comes first.

Make Sure Your I-20 Reflects Your Current Situation

If there have been any changes in your situation (for example, if you have changed your major, degree level, or source/s of financial support) that are not indicated on your current I-20, you will need to get a new I-20 from your PDSO/DSO.

Make Sure Your I-20 Will Not Expire While You Are Out of the Country

Check the completion date in section 5 of your I-20 to see whether it is about to expire. If it expires while you are outside the U.S., you will not be able to re-enter the U.S.

Make Sure Your Visa is Valid

Is the F-1 visa stamp in your passport valid beyond the date you plan to re-enter the United States? If not, you must apply for a new visa stamp while you are abroad.

Travel to Countries Other Than Your Home Country

If you are traveling to a country other than your home country, you may need a visitor or transit visa. To find out, visit that country’s embassy website at Foreign Embassies of Washington, D.C., and search for the consular section nearest you.

If you are traveling to the European Union, and your home country is not within the European Union, you may apply for the Schengen Visa, which permits travel within E.U. countries.

For the latest travel advisories, visit the U.S. Department of State’s website.

Travel with Post-Completion OPT Pending

If your post-completion OPT has not been approved and you do not have a job or a job offer, you may leave and then re-enter the U.S. to continue to look for employment.

In order to have the best chance of re-entering the U.S. without problems when your post-completion OPT is pending, you should travel with the following documents:

  • Passport (valid for six months after you plan to re-enter the U.S)
  • Valid F-1 visa stamp in your passport (this requirement does not apply to Canadian citizens)
  • I-20 (with a travel signature no older than six months)
  • I-765 receipt notice (Form I-797)
    If you need to apply for a new F-1 visa when your post-completion OPT application is pending, you should also be sure to have your I-765 receipt notice (Form I-797) in addition to the usual documents required for a visa application.

Travel with Post-Completion OPT Approved

If your post-completion OPT has been approved (EAD card has been issued by USCIS) and you have a job or a job offer, you may leave and re-enter the U.S. in order to begin or resume employment.

After USCIS has issued an EAD card for post-completion OPT, in order to have the best chance of re-entering the U.S. without problems, you should be sure you have the following documents:

  • Passport (valid for six months after you plan to re-enter the U.S.)
  • Valid F-1 visa stamp in your passport (this requirement does not apply to Canadian citizens)
  • I-20 (with a valid travel signature no older than six months)
  • EAD card
  • Evidence that you already have a job in the U.S. or that you have a job offer.

If you need to apply for a new F-1 visa, you should also be sure to have your EAD card and evidence that you already have a job in the U.S. or that you have a job offer in addition to the usual documents required for a visa application.