International travel requires advance planning and careful attention to details. Most importantly, make certain you have all the required documents with you in order to re-enter the United States.


Your passport must be valid for six months beyond your date of re-entry.

Valid U.S. Visa

Your visa stamp does not determine how long you can remain in the United States. Therefore, you may stay in the United States beyond the expiration date of your F-1 visa stamp as long as your I-20 remains valid. However, should you choose to travel internationally, it will be necessary to apply for a new visa stamp in order to reenter the United States.

  • Exception: A valid visa stamp is not necessary when returning from Canada, Mexico and most islands adjacent to the United States if you have been gone for less than 30 days. This exception does NOT apply to students from Cuba, Iran, Sudan or Syria.
  • Exception: Canadian citizens are not required to have a visa stamp.

I-20 Signed for Travel

Re-entering the country requires a travel signature on your I-20. Travel signatures are valid for 12 months. Before you leave the country, be sure that your signature will not be more than 12 months old on your date of re-entry.

Financial Documents

You will need financial documents to prove that you have funding to cover your educational and personal expenses in the United States. Documents may be in the form of a bank statement or scholarship letter.

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