Traveling Outside the United States for F-1 Students

Re-entering the U.S.

To re-enter the U.S., you need to have the following documents:

Renewing Your Visa Stamp

If you or your dependents need to renew your visa stamps in order to re-enter the U.S., you must apply in person to a U.S. embassy or consulate abroad. Applicants are normally required to submit the following documentation:

  • A valid passport
  • Current passport-size photographs
  • A valid Form I-20 (complete three-page form)
  • Proof of financial support (bank statements and/or scholarship, financial aid)
  • Proof of enrollment (certificate of enrollment or transcript).
  • Any additional required paperwork - visit the U.S. Consulate's website where you plan to apply.

Travel Signature

F visa holders are required to have their I-20s signed by the OIS before traveling outside the U.S. if they wish to return.

  • The signature is valid for 12 months.
  • For F-1 students on OPT, the travel signature is only valid for six months.

If you require a travel signature, please drop off your I-20 with the OIS and it will be ready for pick up after 10:00 a.m. the following business day.

Visa Exceptions

Citizens of Canada and Bermuda are exempt from visa requirements.

See Automatic Visa Revalidation for information on traveling with an expired visa.

Traveling to a Country Other than your Country of Citizenship

Before traveling to another country of which you are not a citizen, check the United States re-entry requirements, as well as that country's travel requirements.  A list of U.S embassies and consulates can be found here.  Foreign embassies and consulates in the U.S. can be found here.


Please note that you can re-enter the United States from Canada with an expired U.S. visa stamp if you meet the criteria.

Check the Canadian visa requirements here. If you need a Canadian visa, you can download the application from the Canadian Consulate website.