All international and exchange students can travel internationlly while studying in the U.S. as long as you have a multiple-entry visa and valid documents upon re-entering the U.S.

Travel Signatures

Before traveling internationally, you must have a valid travel signature on your I-20 or DS-2019 from the Center for International Programs office in order to re-enter the U.S.

Fast facts about travel signatures:

  • Valid for 12 months while you are studying in your program
  • You can travel multiple times on one valid travel signature
  • F-1 & J-1 students need travel signatures to re-enter the U.S.

If you are traveling internationally and require a travel signature, contact the Center for International Programs.

If your F-1 or J-1 Visa is Expired...

You will need to renew your visa before returing to the U.S., so be sure to allow extra time while you are abroad to apply for another visa.  Unfortunately, you cannot renew your F-1 or J-1 visa in the U.S.  To apply for another visa while you are abroad, you will need to do the following:

  • Submit the DS-160 visa application
  • Schedule an appointment with a U.S. Embassy or Consulate
  • Attend the visa appointment
  • Collect your passport, new visa and I-20 or DS-2019 from the U.S. Embassy or Consulate


Type of Travel Documents Needed
Travelling internationally as an F-1 or J-1 student
  • Valid passport
  • Valid F-1 or J-1 visa
  • Valid I-20 or DS-2019 with a travel signature no older than 12 months
Travelling internationally while on Optional Practical Training (OPT)
  • Valid passport
  • Valid F-1 visa
  • Valid I-20 with a travel signature no older than 6 months
  • EAD card
  • Job offer letter

If you do not have all of these documents, international travel is highly not recommended.

Travelling internationally before OPT is approved It is highly recommended that you DO NOT travel internationally after the Program End Date listed on your SEVIS record if you have not yet received the EAD card.  Once you have your EAD card, you can travel internationally.  Be sure to get an updated I-20 when your OPT is approved.  Remember that travel signatures are only valid for 6 months while on OPT.
Travelling internationally before STEM OPT is approved If your current EAD card has expired and you have not received your new STEM OPT EAD card, you cannot travel internationally.  You may travel once you receive your new STEM OPT EAD card.
Traveling in the U.S. as an F-1 or J-1 student Be sure to carry your passport and I-20 or DS-2019 with a valid travel signature!