There are many things to consider prior to traveling as an F-1 or J-1 student. This section covers the basics on first time travel to the US. Information on departure from the US, visa renewal and coming back to the US in your student status and other related topics are also addressed.

For any travel outside of the United States, it is of the utmost importance that your passport and visa are not due to be updated for at least six months. Please consult the CIE director with any questions, or for further information.

F-1 and J-1 Travel

  • Travel within the U.S.: Please make sure to carry your original passport and I-20 with you at all times. Note: Make sure you know which route you are taking when you travel through the U.S. – many American students traveling east from Michigan drive through Canada. If this is your route, you must follow the “Travel outside the U.S.” guidelines below.
  • Travel outside the U.S.: All F-1 and J-1 students traveling to other countries (including Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean) will need to have their I-20 signed by a Designated Student Official (DSO) (see below). Please remember to plan ahead and set up an appointment to have your I-20 signed. In addition to a valid passport, visa and I-20, you may also be required to get a visa of the country you plan on visiting.

Are you traveling overseas? To re-enter the United States, you will need the following:

  1. Valid I-20 recently endorsed with signature from the CIE director.
  2. Valid visa stamp in passport. Check the expiration date. If expired, you must renew at a U.S. Consulate or Embassy. (Please note, if you have been outside of the United States for 5 months or longer and your F-1 or J-1 visa is still valid ie. unexpired, you may need a NEW visa according to a recent State Department rule. Please check with the nearest US consulate to determine if your visa is still valid for entry to the US.)
  3. Valid Passport

If you have any questions before you depart the U.S., please contact CIE.