Immigration and Visa

Travel to Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe or Latin America and Re-Entry to the United States

(Excluding Travel to & Re-entry from Canada, Mexico & Caribbean Islands)

Information for International Students, Scholars & Employees


What documents do I need to re-enter the U.S.?

1. An unexpired Passport

You are required to have a passport that is valid for six months beyond your period of intended stay in the U.S.  Exception: Citizens of countries on the “Six-Month Club” list can re-enter the U.S. with less than six months of validity as long as their passport is still valid.  If your country of citizenship is NOT on this list, DO NOT attempt to enter the U.S. unless you have at least six months of validity on your passport.

2. Proof of your Immigration Status

  • If you are in F-1 status: Your I-20 with a DSO signature on page 2 that is less than one year old
  • If you are in J-1 status: Your DS-2019 with a travel signature that is less than one year old
  • If you are in H-1B status: Your unexpired Form I-797 Approval Notice

3. An unexpired U.S. Visa Stamp

If your U.S. visa stamp has expired, please see “Applying for a U.S. Visa

I am a student traveling outside the U.S. temporarily.  Is there anything else I should carry?

If you are a student, we recommend that you also carry the following documents:

  • Proof of enrollment (transcripts, class schedule printout)
  • Proof of funding (copy of letter offering you an assistantship, financial documentation provided for the issuance of your I-20, etc.)

Frequently Asked Immigration and Visa Questions

What if I am an F-1 student on Optional Practical Training?

If you are on Optional Practical Training, you must have the following documents in addition to the above required documents:

  • Your Employment Authorization Document (EAD card)
  • Job offer letter or letter confirming current employment

What if I am a J-1 student on Academic Training?

In addition to the above required documents, we recommend that you carry a letter from your employer verifying your academic training employment.

I've changed my immigration status since I entered the U.S. Now, my status is different from my visa stamp. Do I need to apply for a new U.S. visa stamp to re-enter the U.S.?

YES. You need to get a new visa stamp from a U.S. Consulate. Your visa stamp must be valid and must match your current status in order for you to re-enter the U.S.

If you traveled ONLY to Canada, Mexico or the Caribbean Islands, you may not need a new visa stamp. Please read “Travel to Canada/Mexico and Re-Entry to the U.S.” to confirm this.

What documents does my dependent need to travel and re-enter the U.S.?

Your dependent spouse or minor children should carry the following documents in order to re-enter the U.S.:

  1. Valid passport
  2. Valid U.S. visa stamp
  3. Valid dependent Form I-20, DS-2019 or H-4 approval notice (if applicable)
  4. Photocopy of your documents (your passport, U.S. visa AND your I-20, DS-2019 or H-1B approval notice)
  5. Proof of financial funding
  6. Photocopy of spouse’s Employment Authorization Document (EAD card) and letter of employment (if applicable)