What do I need to do if I am planning to travel abroad?
- Contact your own Consulate to determine what travel precautions they suggest;
- Contact the U.S. Department of State website to view travel advisories: http://travel.state.gov/ ;
- Make sure your documents are valid and you have a recent travel signature on your I-20. DSO signatures must be less than a year old from your expected reentry.
- Speak to an Immigration Advisor at ISS if you have any concerns about travel;
- If you are not maintaining your F-1 status, be sure to speak with an International Student Advisor before you travel outside of the U.S.;
- If you are currently participating in post-completion OPT, be sure to speak with an International Student Advisor well in advance before travel or travel plans.
What documents do I need to take with me when I travel?
Be sure to carry the following documents with you whether you travel within the U.S. (outside of Wichita Falls) or abroad:
- I-94 admission number;
- I-20 signed for travel by a DSO within the last year.
Do I need to renew my visa if I travel abroad?
If your non-immigrant visa stamp has expired, you will have to apply for a new visa to re-enter the U.S., unless you will be using Automatic Visa Revalidation;
Please speak with an Immigration Advisor at ISS before you leave the U.S. to apply for a visa renewal. In most cases you will need the following documents if you will be renewing your F-1 visa while on vacation:
- Official MSU Transcript (obtained at the Office of the Registrar – Hardin building);
- Letter of Good Standing, also called "Letter of Enrollment" (obtained at the Office of the Registrar);
- SEVIS Fee Receipt (if the start date of your initial F-1 program is on or after 09/01/2004);
- Proof of updated financial support and updated form I-20;
- You will also want to check with the embassy about processing time and procedures in your home country about setting up a visa appointment for a renewal.
What if I travel to Mexico, Canada or the Caribbean?
- If you plan to travel to a country that is contiguous* to the U.S. (but not Cuba!) and you intend to stay there less than 30 days, you will not need to apply for a new U.S. visa, and you may re-enter the U.S. on an expired visa stamp (this regulation is known as Automatic Visa Revalidation) as long as you are in active F-1 status.
- Please note that citizens of Iran, Syria, Libya, Sudan, and Cuba will not be allowed to re-enter the U.S. with an expired U.S. visa stamp, even if the trip is to a contiguous country.
How does Automatic Visa Revalidation work?
Visitors (and accompanying spouses and/or children) whose visas have expired may be boarded provided they meet the following requirements (F-1 non-immigrants):
- Readmission from contiguous territory or adjacent islands* (except Cuba);
- Readmission after an absences not exceeding 30 days;
- In possession of Form I-94 endorsed to show an unexpired period of initial admission or extension of stay or in possession of I-20.
- In possession of a valid passport, unless exempt;
- Does not require authorization for admission under the INA 212(d)(3);
- Has not applied for a new visa while abroad;
- Has maintained and intends to resume nonimmigrant F-1 status.
* Saint Pierre, Miquelon, The Dominican Republic, Haiti, Bermuda, The Bahamas, Barbados, Jamaica, The Windward and Leeward Islands, Trinidad, Martinique and other British, French or Netherlands territories or possessions in, or bordering on the Caribbean Sea.
Can I renew my U.S. visa while in Mexico or Canada?
- If you are planning to apply for a U.S. visa in Mexico or Canada, please talk to an International Student Advisor at ISS first. In general, ISS does not recommend that third-country nationals apply for a U.S. visa in Mexico or Canada because of lengthy delays due to background/security checks and complications in case of visa denial. Re-entry back into the United States will be based only on the successful approval of a visa.
- If your visa application were to be denied, you would need to depart directly to your home country to apply for a new visa to re-enter the U.S. You may not use Automatic Visa Revalidation if you applied for a visa while abroad! You can also see the web site for the U.S. Consulate in Ciudad Juarez for detailed information: http://ciudadjuarez.usconsulate.gov/
Do I need a visa to enter Mexico or Canada?