Taking a trip abroad? Read about the documents you will need to carry and other important information to consider for U.S. reentry as an F-1 or J-1 student.

In order to re-enter to the United States after a temporary absence, F-1 and J-1 students will need to carry the below documents with them. It is highly recommended to have these documents readily available in a backpack, purse or carry-on luggage. Do not place these items in checked luggage. After clearing U.S. Customs, verify that the “Class of Admission” on the I-94 record was properly entered as F-1 or J-1, then print a copy for your records.

Required Documents

— Form I-20 or Form DS-2019 with valid travel signature

— Unexpired Passport (valid at least six months into the future)

— Unexpired/Valid F-1 or J-1 Visa (exempt for Canadians)

— Employment Authorization Document (EAD) (Required only for graduated students on F-1 Post-Completion OPT)

NOTE: International travel after the Form I-20 program end date is not recommended for F-1 students who applied for Post-Completion OPT until after the Form I-765 application is approved by USCIS and you have received the EAD card in-hand.

Optional Documents

— Proof of Financial Support

— Copy of Unofficial Transcript from MyAccess

I-901 SEVIS Fee Receipt

— Copy of Employer Offer Letter (Recommended for graduated students on F-1 Post-Completion OPT or J-1 Post-Completion AT as proof of employment.)

Obtain a Travel Signature

To obtain a travel signature, please email lawcentervisa@georgetown.edu and your International Student Advisor will provide you with a new Form I-20 or Form DS-2019 via email within 1-2 business days.

Travel Signature Validity

Travel signatures are valid for 12 months while studying at Georgetown, and for 6 months after graduation while on F-1 Post-Completion OPT or J-1 Post-Completion AT. Travel signatures can be used for multiple entries into the United States.

Applying for Non-U.S. Visas

When applying for a visa at an embassy or consulate of the non-U.S. country you intend to travel to, F-1 and J-1 students may need a valid travel signature on the Form I-20 or Form DS-2019 before the consular officer approves the visa application.

If the F-1 or J-1 visa stamp in your passport has expired and you plan to travel outside the United States, you must go to a U.S. embassy or consulate abroad to renew F-1 or J-1 visa prior to attempting U.S. re-entry. However, there are certain exceptions to this rule. See the “Travel to Canada, Mexico, and Neighboring Islands” section below for more information.

It is not currently possible to renew F-1 and J-1 visas inside the United States. Students should generally allow 2-8 weeks for visa processing, depending on wait times. Contact the U.S. embassy or consulate for an appointment prior to finalizing your international travel plans.

Students may be eligible for a visa interview waiver if they meet the eligibility criteria. Visit the U.S. embassy or consulate you plan to renew your visa at for more details on interview waiver eligibility requirements.

Graduated students on F-1 Post-Completion OPT or J-1 Post-Completion AT should be aware that it can sometimes be more difficult to renew a visa after graduation. However, the majority of Georgetown students on OPT or AT do not have problems with the visa renewal process.

Some students will also be subject to Security Advisory Opinions because of their countries of national origin, citizenship, fields of study, or at the discretion of the consular officer. Security Advisory Opinions commonly take one month, but may require as long as 4-6 months in rare cases.

Travel to Canada, Mexico, and neighboring islands (except Cuba) is handled somewhat differently than travel to other countries.

There is a special provision called automatic visa revalidation which allows students whose F-1 and J-1 visas have expired to briefly visit Canada, Mexico, Saint Pierre, Miquelon, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Bermuda, the Bahamas, Barbados, Jamaica, the Windward and Leeward Islands, Trinidad, Martinique, and other British, French and Netherlands territories or possessions in or bordering the Caribbean Sea (except Cuba) and return to the United States without applying for a new F-1 or J-1 visa at a U.S. embassy or consulate. The following rules apply to automatic visa revalidation for F-1 and J-1 students:

— Time outside the United States must not exceed 30 days and may be spent only in Canada, Mexico, or neighboring islands – except Cuba.

— You must not be a citizen of a country that the U.S. Department of State has determined to be a sponsor of terrorism. Currently this includes Cuba, Iran, Syria and North Korea.

— You must have a Form I-20 or Form DS-2019 with a valid travel signature.

— You must have an unexpired passport valid six months into the future.

— You must have maintained status while in the United States and intend to resume that status when you return to the United States.

— You must present a printed copy of the I-94 record (or I-94 card if you entered the United States from a land port of entry) from your most recent entry upon re-entry to the United States.

Many students will need tourist visas to enter Canada, Mexico, and neighboring islands. Contact the embassy or consulate of the country you intend to travel to and check on entry visa requirements before making travel arrangements. F-1 and J-1 students may need a valid travel signature on the Form I-20 or Form DS-2019 before applying for the visa to enter these countries.

NOTE: Federal regulations prohibit those who have been denied a visa at one of the U.S. consulates in Canada, Mexico, or neighboring islands from returning to the United States. Those whose visa applications are denied must return to their home country and apply for a new visa at the U.S. embassy or consulate in the home country prior to returning to the United States.