Traveling Outside the USA and Reentry Information
F-1 and J-1 students who would like to travel outside the United States during a school break, summer or interim session, or for general travel, must understand the requirements to enter the country they are visiting, and to return to the United States.
For additional travel information, country lists, etc., students can go to www.ice.gov . On the left hand-side of the screen click the link entitled “SEVP”, then on the left click the link entitled “SEVP FAQ’s”.
Students potentially can have difficulties returning to the United States as Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) gives the permission for students to re-enter. Students at all times must listen to any instructions given by a CBP officer.
Leaving the United States
Students who leave the United States will need to have a valid passport. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) may require students to present their I-20 as well. Students must also surrender their white I-94 card (the one given to them when they entered the US) to CBP when they leave the US (unless students are doing “Automatic Extension of Visa Validity” as described below). Students will turn in the I-94 card at the US airport from which they depart the country. If the student does not have this card, it can take them weeks to months to get a new one, and can cost a lot of money to replace. Students should plan accordingly.
Entry to Another Country
Students who travel to another country should understand the requirements to enter that country. Students may need visas to enter depending on their type of travel, national origin, length of visit, etc. Students should contact or visit the website of the embassy of the country they will visit. This includes travel to Mexico, the Caribbean, and Canada. Students should plan accordingly.
Returning to the United States
F-1 and J-1 students may be readmitted back to a SEVIS-approved institution upon return to the US from a five month or less absence if:
- They have a signed original, most updated and valid I-20 (F-1), endorsed on page three by the Designated School Official in the International Programs Office.
- Students can confirm with the Office of International Programs which I-20 is the most updated and valid.
- The signature is valid for one year.
- Students on Post-Completion Optional Practical Training (OPT) should have the signature on page three be less than five months old.
- J-1 students will need their DS-2019 form signed by an Alternative Responsible Officer (ARO) in the International Programs Office.
- Students should carry with them a proof of their previous entry stamp. If a student entered the US previously on an I-20 and it was stamped, and now the student has a new I-20 (due to updates of their status information), the student may consider bringing their old I-20 as well (in addition to their new I-20). A CBP officer may request proof of a previous entry stamp. Previous entry stamps may also be found in your passport.
- Valid passport that has six months of validity. Students from certain countries may be admitted back to the US with a passport with fewer days of validity. Students can go to www.ice.gov for further information. Students who do not have a valid passport need to immediately contact their embassy in the US to renew it. For a list of embassies, you may use an Internet search engine or go to www.embassy.org.
- Valid US visa. Currently there are no regulations stating how many days the visa still needs to be valid, so students should be able to return up until one day before the visa expires. Following are some points regarding getting a new visa:
- If you require a new visa, you will need to return to your home country to apply.
- Visas are not issued in the US.
- Students can attempt to apply for a visa in another country other than their home country. If a student is denied a visa in a country other than their home country, they will have to return to their home country to apply for a new one. However, being denied a visa in a country other than their home country can cause a student to be denied a visa in their home country.
- Have a new I-94 card. When students return to the United States (either through plane or car across the Canadian or Mexican border), students must make sure they receive a new I-94 card at the place of entry. Some Customs and Border Patrol agents may believe you do not need one. However, as part of your visa status, you are required to show proof of your entry and that is the I-94 card.
If a student forgets any of the above documents they may not be allowed to return to the United States.
Students should bring copies of any new visa, passport, and I-94 card upon returning to the US to the International Programs office.
Students may consider carrying additional information upon entry to the US to help clarify their entry situation and status. Such documents can include:
- Evidence of financial resources
- Evidence of student status (for example, transcript, updated passport pictures, etc.)
- Name and contact information of the institution’s DSO
Automatic Extension of Visa Validity
Eligible students in F-1 and J-1 status who have an expired stamped visa in their passport are eligible to return to the United States with the expired stamped visa after a visit of 30 days or less to either: Canada, Mexico, or adjacent Caribbean Islands. Students must do the following:
- Present the expired visa to a CBP officer. If students have the expired visa in an old (expired) passport, the student will need to bring the old passport with them (as well as the current valid passport).
- Not turn in their white I-94 card. You will need to present this card to a CBP officer upon return to the US.
If a student who plans to do “automatic extension of visa validity” attempts to renew their visa in either: Canada, Mexico, or the Caribbean, and they are not successful, they may be denied reentry to the United States, which can cause additional problems for the student.
Return from a Study Abroad or Research Work Abroad
Students are eligible to return to the United States after completing a study abroad program, or research work abroad if they return less than five months from departure.
Students must have been registered and attended the SEVIS-approved school (ASU-Jonesboro) in the United States for one academic year before doing a study abroad or research work abroad.
While abroad, students must be registered in a full course of study at ASU, and be doing a full course of study in the country they are studying or doing research.
Travel that is More than 5 Months
Students whose travel is longer than five months will need to do the following to return to the US:
- Have a new I-20 (with a new SEVIS number)
- Pay the I-901 fee
- Contact the US embassy in their home country if they will need a new visa (even if their current visa’s end date is still valid)
- Enter with a valid passport with at least 6 months of validity
National Security Entry-Exit Registration System (‘NSEERS’-Special Registration)
Students who were selected upon initial entry to the United States as a special registrant must follow the procedures (and any additional procedures) to leave and return to the United States as given to you at the border on your initial entry as part of the National Security Entry-Exit Registration System (NSEERS). This includes checking in with a CBP officer before leaving the US, and leaving and returning to an approved airport. For additional information, please visit www.ice.gov.
- F-1 and J-1 Students need to understand the proper procedures to travel outside the US and the reentry procedures found above for international travel.
- Students must pay all charges on their student account (or have an official payment plan) before their I-20 or DS-2019 can be signed for international travel.
- F-1 students who require their most current I-20 to be signed for reentry by a Designated School Official (DSO) will need to leave their I-20 at the reception desk in the International Programs Office. It can take 24-72 hours for the DSO to sign the I-20. Students need to plan accordingly. F-1 students must make sure they have signed page 1 of their I-20.
J-1 students who require their most current DS-2019 to be signed for reentry by an Alternative Responsible Officer (ARO) will need to leave their I-20 at the reception desk in the International Programs Office. It can take 24-72 hours for the ARO to sign the DS-2019. Students need to plan accordingly.
- Students can pick-up their I-20 or DS-2019 at the reception desk in the International Programs Office.