International Students

Travel and Reentry

Welcome Back To Springfield

COVID-19 Travel

Please visit our COVID website for the International Student Protocol.

Many students and scholars take the opportunity to travel home—or to another country—during their time in the U.S. While you can make plans to depart at any time, you need to make certain that you have the appropriate documentation to return to the U.S. The information below will help you return to the U.S.

Traveling in the U.S.

When traveling within the U.S., it is recommended that you carry copies of your immigration documents or have access to electronic copies of your passport, visa, I-94, I-20/DS-2019, proof of enrollment, and EAD card (if on OPT) even when traveling domestically within the U.S. No signatures are required on the I-20 or DS-2019.

Beginning in October 2020, you will need to use your passport to fly within the U.S. unless you have a REAL ID from Massachusetts. 

IMPORTANT! NEVER re-enter the U.S. on any visa status other than F-1 or J-1 as it will cancel your student/scholar status.

Returning to the U.S.

Watch this video for more information about returning to the U.S. after traveling abroad.

Important Information

 If you plan to leave the U.S. to visit another country, all students and scholars must have certain documents in order to return to the U.S. See below for the required documents:

F-1 Students

  • Valid Passport
  • Valid Visa
    • You CANNOT renew a visa in the U.S. but must do so in another country (preferably your home country).
  • A Valid I-20 (F students) or DS-2019 (J students and scholars) with a valid travel signature
    • Travel signatures are valid for 12 months (except for students on OPT: your signature is valid for 6 months)

F-1 Students on Post-completion OPT must also have:

  • Valid EAD
  • Job offer letter or job confirmation letter
  • Remember your I-20 travel signature is valid for only six (6) months

J scholars should also have: 

  • WNE Appointment or Invitation Letter (recommended)
  • Financial Certification (recommended)

For more information, please see the Department of State's Travel and Re-entry FAQs.