Travel

Before You Travel:

  • According to U.S. law, a non-immigrant visa student may be readmitted to the United States after an absence of five months or less, provided that they have maintained lawful full-time F-1 status during their stay in the United States. In order to re-enter the United States after traveling abroad, an international student must present the following documents to the U.S. immigration inspector upon arriving at a U.S. airport or other Port of Entry (POE):
    • An un-expired/valid passport.
    • An un-expired/valid F-1 visa stamp in the passport. If you do not have a valid F-1 visa stamp, you must obtain one from a U.S. consulate office in your home country. Please speak with an IPS advisor before you depart.
    • A recent signature by the Designated School Official (DSO) on the SEVIS I-20 form. Please make sure that your SEVIS I-20 form is signed by the appropriate international student advisor each time you travel. Check to make sure that the travel signature on your document is not older than six months.
    • Proof of adequate financial support. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has recently stated that returning, as well as first time students, may be required to provide financial documentation in order to enter the United States.
    • In addition, we strongly recommend that you have the following documents ready in the event that you are required to present additional information regarding your studies in the United States.
  • A letter verifying lawful F-1 student status. (Please complete a Document Request Form. Letters will be ready for pick up or mailed to you three business days from the request.)
  • A Benedictine University student identification card.
  • An official transcript (this is a historical record of your course work and grades) may be obtained through BenCentral. A rush request may be available. For more information, please visit the BenCentral website.

Travel on Optional Practical Training:

  • You may travel outside of the United States prior to Optional Practice Training approval, if you return to the United States prior to graduation. After graduation, IPS does not recommend travel outside the United States prior to receiving approval from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.
  • If you have completed your course of study and have received your U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services authorization for Optional Practice Training (your EAD card), you may travel abroad and re-enter the United States in F-1 status. You will need the following documents for your re-entry:
    • A valid passport.
    • A valid F-1 visa stamp in your passport.
    • The new SEVIS I-20 recommending optional practical training.
    • Your original practical training Employment Authorization Document (EAD) issued by the USCIS.
    • Proof that you have a job in the United States that is appropriate for practical training and that you are returning to the United States to resume or start this employment. If you do not have all of these documents, you should NOT travel abroad without first consulting someone from IPS. (An expired F-1 visa can pose a problem. It may be difficult to renew your F-1 visa while you are on practical training.)

Travel on Academic Training:

  • You may travel outside the United States prior to adding academic training to your DS-2019, if you return to the United States prior to your graduation. After graduation, IPS does not recommend travel outside the United States while on academic training if your J-1 visa has expired.
  • If you have completed your course of study and have added academic training to your DS-2019 and you have a valid visa, you may travel abroad and re-enter the United States in J-1 status. You will need the following documents for your re-entry:
    • A valid passport.
    • A valid J-1 visa stamp in your passport.
    • The new SEVIS I-20 recommending academic training.
    • Proof that you have a job in the United States appropriate for academic training, and you are returning to the United States to resume or start this employment.
    • If you do not have all of these documents, you should NOT travel abroad without first consulting someone from IPS. (An expired J-1 visa can pose a problem. It may be difficult to renew your J-1 visa while you are on academic training.)

Travel to Canada or Mexico:

  • Effective April 1, 2002, the "Automatic Revalidation of Visa" benefit changed. Automatic revalidation of visa allows an international student in F-1 visa status to enter the United States without a valid U.S. visa after a 30-day or less visit to contiguous territories such as Canada, Mexico and U.S. adjacent islands (other than Cuba). However, effective April 1, 2002, the following changes took effect:
    • Any person who applies for a new visa at a U.S. consulate in Canada or Mexico will have to wait until the new visa is granted in order to re-enter the United States.
    • (In other words, anyone who applies for a new visa at a U.S. consulate in Canada or Mexico and is denied a visa will not be able to re-enter the United States based on automatic revalidation.)
    • Citizens of the following countries will no longer be eligible for the automatic revalidation of visa benefit: Iraq, Iran, Syria, Sudan, North Korea and Cuba.