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Office of International Services

Important note: All students must notify their school of their travel plans prior to obtaining a travel endorsement from the International Services office.

If you are planning to travel outside of the United States and wish to re-enter the country under the F-1 status, please follow the instructions below:

  • See a Designated School Official before traveling in order to insure that all your documents are valid.
  • You must have a valid I-20 form with a valid travel endorsement from an OIS Designated School Official. The travel endorsement is valid for one year as long as your I-20 is valid and all of the information on it is current, and you have otherwise maintained the conditions of your status.
  • You must have a valid F-1 visa in your passport.
  • You must have an unexpired passport.

Traveling With An Expired Visa

If you are planning on traveling outside the U.S. and your F-1 visa has expired, you are required to make an appointment with the U.S. Consulate/Embassy in the country you will be visiting. For a listing of "Visa Wait Times", visit the Department of State Web site. You will need the following documents during your visa appointment:

  • A valid form I-20 with a travel endorsement from an OIS Designated School Official (DSO)
  • A passport that will be valid for at least six months after the date on which you plan to return to the United States
  • One photograph 1 and 1/2 inches square, showing full face, without head covering, against a light background
  • Evidence of funding for your studies and living expenses in the US
  • Copy of transcript
  • Evidence of funding for dependent spouse and children, if applicable
  • Dependents' information (if applicable) such as; passport, DS-2019, proof of marriage to a spouse and child's birth certificate

Traveling While On Post-Completion Practical Training

If you are traveling while on Optional Practical Training after completion of your studies, you will need the following documentation:

  • A form I-20, which has been endorsed by a Designated School Official within the last 6 months
  • Valid F-1 visa
  • An unexpired passport
  • A valid Employment Authorization Document (EAD) issued for Optional Practical Training by the USCIS
  • A letter from a U.S.-based employer certifying that you are returning to resume your job duties or an offer of employment in the U.S.

Special Notes

  • If your visa stamp is expired, travel while on Practical Training can be rather complicated. For more information and advice on how to avoid complications, please visit the Office of International Services before leaving the United States .
  • We do not recommend that you travel while your application for Post Completion Practical Training is still pending with the USCIS. Whenever possible, students should wait until their EAD card is approved before traveling outside the U.S. after completion of their studies.

Copyright 2013, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, an equal opportunity, affirmative action institution.
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