It is important for an international student/scholar to travel with required documents to ensure reentry to the U.S. Be sure to hand carry the required documents. Do not put them in your check in luggage.
Required documents for travel and re-enter into the United States:
- Valid passport
- Valid visa (see below for exceptions)
- Valid I-20 and valid travel signature. The signature on the I-20 must be less than one year (12 months) old on the date that you are returning to the U.S. You can obtain a new travel signature by stopping by the OIS during Walk In hours. If you are under OPT, the travel signature must be less than 6 months old on the date that you are returning to the U.S.
- EAD card if you are on OPT
If you are on OPT, you should also bring proof of your employment (if you already have a job) or proof of your job search (if you are unemployed at the time of travel).
Other recommended documents for F-1 and J-1 students wishing to re-enter the US: proof of financial support, Fordham University contact information, proof of your acceptance into Fordham and that you are a continuing Fordham student (such as an acceptance letter and/or your next semester's course schedule), and proof of your I-901 SEVIS fee payment.
Contiguous Territories and Adjacent Islands
There are a few countries that you can travel to (for less than 30 days) and return to the US with an expired F-1 or J-1 visa. This is called "automatic revalidation." These countries are called the adjacent islands and contiguous territories.
HOWEVER, students from some countries are NOT eligible for automatic revalidation. Please reference this website to see if you are eligible, and for much more important travel information. (Note that the information provided on this website is designed for F-1 students specifically.)
If you have any questions, please contact the OIS before you leave.
The adjacent islands are: Saint Pierre, Miquelon, The Dominican Republic, Haiti, Bermuda, The Bahamas, Barbados, Jamaica, The Winward and Leeward Islands, Trinidad, Martinique, and other British, French, and Netherlands territories or possessions in or bordering on the Caribbean Sea.
Going on a cruise? International Student and Scholar Services at Binghamton University, SUNY has prepared an article that addresses the "Ports of Call" that may or may not be "contiguous territories or adjacent islands" as defined by the Code of Federal Regulations.
The I-94 records the date and purpose of your entry into the U.S., and the length of time that you are allowed to stay here. As F-1 and J-1 students, you are allowed to stay here for as long as it takes for you to finish your studies. This is called Duration of Status (D/S). MAKE SURE that the Admit Until Date on your I-94 says "D/S"!
The I-94 used to be a small white card that was issued to you each time you entered the U.S., and collected each time you left. Now, the officer at the airport records your entry electronically using your passport, so the I-94 record is now an electronic document. You can and should go online to obtain your I-94, and you should print a copy for your records.
When entering your information, make sure to enter your name exactly as it appears on your passport. If you are not able to obtain your I-94, try ALL possible combinations of your name.
If you have tried all possible combinations, but cannot obtain your I-94, please contact us.
IMPORTANT NOTE: if you travel to Canada, Mexico, or an adjacent island, your I-94 record will NOT be updated. If you are returning from one of these places, you should request a paper I-94 at the point of entry.
If you do not have a valid travel signature on your I-20, or you packed it away in your suitcase, ask the border officer for an I-515A form. This will allow you to enter the country in F-1 status.
However you must come to the OIS immediately to finish process your entry. Your I-94 card will be stamped "F-1" and a date certain, instead of D/S.