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International Student Services

Travel Documents

If you plan to travel outside of the United States and reenter, you need a travel signature on your I-20 or DS-2019. Your I-20 or DS-2019 should have a signature within 12 months of the date you plan to reenter. If you are on OPT, the travel signature date should be within 6 months of the date when you reenter.

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, you can request a new travel signature and let us know about your travel plans here or you can visit the ISS Office to request a travel signature.

In order to reenter the U.S., the following documents are required:

  • Passport, valid at least 6 months after your date of entry into the U.S.
  • Valid visa (some exceptions exist for travel to Canada, Mexico, and adjacent islands. See  information about Automatic Visa Revalidation and speak to an ISS advisor for more details.)
  • I-20 or DS-2019 signed for travel in the past 6 months
  • If you are currently on OPT, your EAD card
  • If you are currently on OPT, proof of employment is required if you are able to provide it (this can be a letter from your employer stating that you are currently employed, an offer letter if you have not yet started the employment, and/or pay stubs)

Do not pack the above documents in your luggage. Carry them with you at all times.

The following documents are also helpful in verifying your activities as an F-1/J-1 entering the U.S. if an immigration official questions your student visa status, and therefore are also recommended for travel:

  • Transcript of coursework (See your Self Service Carolina account to print an unofficial transcript)
  • Financial certification (bank statement, assistantship letter ,etc.)
  • I-901 SEVIS Fee Payment Receipt
  • Printout of current and future enrollment (your class schedule)
  • If you are on OPT or CPT, a letter from an employer acknowledging the travel and your salary amount.

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