F-1 Students: Travel & Re-entry

Travel Requirements for
Re-entering the U.S.

F-1 students in lawful status and in good academic standing are eligible to return to the United States following a temporary absence abroad in order to continue full-time study.

Basic Documents Required for Re-Entry to U.S.

In general, you will need the following documents in order to return to the United States:

  1. an unexpired passport valid at least six months into the future.
  2. an unexpired F-1 student visa valid for multiple or further entries (exception: Canadian citizens are not required to have entry visas).
  3.  an unexpired I-20 from Daemen College with a re-entry endorsement (travel signature) signed by the Global Programs Office on page 3. While a travel signature is valid for up to one year, the GPO recommends obtaining a signature in the most recent semester prior to your trip. However, you do not need a travel signature for every trip you plan to take - a travel signature is valid for multiple trips, provided you have the above documents. 
  4. (recommended) proof of enrollment and financial ability.  

Upon return to the United States, you will receive a new I-94 card which should be stamped by an immigration inspector "F-1 D/S": this indicates that you are being allowed to re-enter the country as an F-1 student for "duration of status," i.e., for the period of time that you are a full-time student, as indicated on your I-20. If you do not receive a new I-94 card stamped "F-1 D/S," contact the Global Programs Office immediately upon your return.

Re-entry after short-term travel (less than 30 days) directly to
Canada, Mexico, and the Caribbean

If you are taking a short-term trip (less than 30 days) to one of these destinations and will return to the United States directly, you may return on the basis of an expired visa. Your F-1 visa does not need to be valid in order for you to be eligible to return. However, you must still have a valid passport, an expired or unexpired U.S. visa, your unexpired I-20 with a travel signature, and you must keep your I-94 card when you leave the U.S. and have it readily available for re-entry in the country. Because you will keep your I-94 card upon departure, you will not need to get a new one upon return. You simply show your existing I-94 for re-entry purposes, along with your passport, expired / unexpired visa, and signed I-20. However, you must be sure to retain your I-9 card. If your I-94 card is taken or lost, you will need to get a new F-1 visa in order to return to the U.S.

§  Exception: If you go to Canada, Mexico, or the adjacent islands of the Caribbean for the express purpose of applying for a new F-1 visa, your visa application must be successful. If it is rejected for any reason, you are not eligible to return to the United States. You must go to your home country and apply for a visa at a U.S. consulate there.

Departure from the U.S. for more than 5 months

If you intend to depart the United States for an extended period of time, please notify the GPO. Your F-1 status may be terminated if:

§  You are not registered as a full-time student during any autumn or spring semester

§  You are outside of the United States for five months or more for non-academic reasons (personal / family leave, non-academic employment)

Students who will be outside of the United States for an extended period of time for the specific purpose of engaging in data collection, fieldwork, and research-related reasons may retain F-1 student status but must maintain full-time registration during the autumn and spring semesters. Registration during the summer is not required.

Students on Post-Completion Optional Practical Training (OPT)

If you have an un-expired EAD (Employment Authorization) card for post-completion optional practical training, you may be re-admitted to the US after a temporary absence (e.g., visit to your home country) to resume employment. However, you must carry the following documents:

  1. an unexpired passport valid at least six months into the future.
  2. an unexpired F-1 student visa valid for multiple or further entries (exception: Canadian citizens are not required to have entry visas).
  3. an I-20 from Daemen College with a recommendation for Optional Practical Training printed on page 3; the I-20 must also have a valid travel signature no more than six months old from the Global Programs Office.
  4. evidence of employment authorization, in the form of your Employment Authorization (EAD) card; if your application is still pending, you should carry your I-797 Receipt Notice.
  5. proof (such as a job offer letter, contract, paystub) that you have secured relevant practical training / employment in your field of study.

F-2 Family Members

F-2 dependents should carry their own individual I-20s when traveling, whether traveling alone or together with the F-1 student. In addition, each F-2 dependent must have a valid F-2 visa. If the F-2 is traveling alone, it is strongly recommended that they carry copies of the F-1 student's I-20, visa, I-94 card, and EAD (OPT) card, if applicable.

Entry into a Third Country

Whenever you wish to leave the U.S. temporarily for a trip abroad, check with the consulate of the country you intend to visit regarding entrance requirements. You may need to apply for a visa to enter that country. Note that most consulates will not issue you an entry visa if your US visa has expired and/or your I-20 has not been endorsed for re-entry to the United States.

Information about Canadian visa requirements can be obtained through the Canadian Consulate General, HSBC Center, Suite 3000 Buffalo, New York 14203, Tel: (716) 858-9500, Fax: (716) 858-9562 or visit a Canadian Consulate nearest to your location.

 

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In Daemen, I took ESL classes to improve my English. I worked at Canavan Desk and made a lot of friends over there. I participated in a Business dinner with my professors. I was invited to join a family party by my professors. During the weekends, I often take the school shuttle to the shopping mall. These experiences helped me to ease into the American-style of study, life, and business.