Traveling as an F-1 Student


Whenever a F-1 International Student wishes to leave the United States temporarily and return to continue studies at the institution in which they are enrolled, they must secure the necessary documents to:

  • Permit entry to another country; and
  • Permit re-entry to the United States

Entry into another country – It is the responsibility of the student to research the entry requirements for countries other than the U.S. or their country of citizenship. To inquire about specific entry procedures for countries other than the home country, students must check with the embassy of the country they would like to visit. For a list of foreign embassies in the U.S., please visit: www.state.gov.

Re-entry into the U.S. – In order to re-enter the United States after an absence of 5 months or less, an F-1 Student must have the following documents:

  • A current, unexpired passport, valid for 6 months beyond your date of return
  • A valid F-1 Visa
  • A properly endorsed Form I-20
    • DSO Travel Authorization (signature) dated within 1 year
    • Program end date on I-20 must be valid beyond your date of return
    • For students in Optional Practical Training (OPT) - correct end date of your approved training period

All F-1 students must maintain a valid passport at all times. Your passport must always be valid for at least 6 months into the future. Visit www.state.gov to view web sites of many foreign embassies in the United States.

Students planning to travel are required to complete the F-1 Travel Planning form and submit to a P/DSO at least two weeks before their planned travel. In addition, students are responsible for ensuring that they have a valid Travel Endorsement on page two of their I-20.  P/DSO signatures are valid for one year. Should a student require an updated signature, they must request this from a P/DSO at least two weeks prior to their travel date.