Immigration Changes and Travel Warning

It is important to understand immigration changes the new Presidential administration is implementing, including a temporary travel ban for people from certain countries. OISS has a separate webpage analyzing and tracking the changes.


All international students, scholars and family members planning to depart from the U.S. and return after a temporary absence must have a valid passport in order to exit the U.S. The passport must also be valid for a minimum of six months into the future at the time of re-entry to the U.S. There are a few exceptions to this passport rule outlined by the State Department here.

Visa Stamps

Except for Canadian citizens, all international students will also need to have a valid F-1 visa stamp in their passport issued by a U.S. embassy or consulate. F-1 visa stamps cannot be obtained or renewed inside the U.S.

Visa Document

The F-1 student document is called the Form I-20

I-94 Record  

Every nonimmigrant entering the U.S. on a sponsored visa will have what’s called an I-94 record created by the authorities upon entry. It is the responsibility of international students, scholars and family members to look up their I-94 record after entering the U.S. to ensure there are no errors. F-1 students I-94 record should always indicate duration of status or “D/S”.

Third Country Visits

When planning to visit a country outside the U.S. which is not your country of citizenship or legal permanent residence, be sure to research whether or not you will need a visa to enter that country

Canada, Mexico and contiguous island

If you are traveling to Canada, Mexico or the contiguous islands for less than 30 days, you may be eligible for a visa renewal exemption.

Travel Checklist

  • Valid I-20 (not expired in Section #5) with OISS signature on the bottom of page 2.
  • OISS signature should not be older than 12 months, but can be used for multiple entries
  • F-2 dependents must have their own I-20 forms meeting the same criteria above
  • Valid F-1 or F-2 visa stamp from a U.S. embassy (most do not need a new stamp)
  • Valid passport (see above note)

F-1 OPT Travel

There are additional documents needed to travel after graduation using F-1 OPT.