International Student Services

Travel Signatures

What is a Travel Signature? | Travel Signature Eligibility Eligibility | Getting a Travel Signature | Emergency Travel

COVID-19 Visa & Travel Restrictions: Updates and FAQs

What is a Travel Signature?

  • It is the signature an advisor issues you after you enter the U.S. to begin your F-1 or J-1 status.
  • The signature confirms that you have valid F-1 or J-1 status.
  • You must have a valid travel signature on your I-20 or DS-2019 to return to the U.S. after you travel abroad.
  • Each signature is valid for one year. (F-1 students on OPT: the travel signature is valid for six months).
  • The travel signature is required for returning to the U.S. It is not required for leaving the U.S.
  • If your current travel signature will expire before you will return to the U.S., you must request an updated travel signature.
  • The travel signature is on page 2 of your I-20 or the front page of your DS-2019.

Travel Signature Eligibility

  • Have a valid I-20 or DS-2019 issued by UW Seattle
  • Meet immigration requirements of maintaining a full course of study
  • Be in good academic standing
  • Have a current U.S. address and a permanent non-U.S. address active in MyUW
  • New Students: Have completed the required immigration check-in

Getting a Travel Signature

Attend one of the Travel Signature Clinics listed OR request an electronic signature through MyISSS. There is no need to complete both processes.

J-1 Travel Signature Clinics (Schmitz 490)

All in-person J-1 travel signature clinics have passed for autumn quarter 2022.

Electronic I-20 Travel Signature Request – F-1 Students
DS-2019 Travel Signature Request – J-1 Students

  • Be sure to select how you would like to receive your updated I-20/DS-2019 with travel signature.
  • Wait for a confirmation email from ISS (uwiss@uw.edu) notifying you that your travel signature has been processed.

Emergency Travel

If you have an emergency travel need when the ISS is closed (weekends and federal holidays), go ahead and depart the U.S.

The travel signature is required for returning to the U.S. It is not required at the time you depart the U.S. Follow the instructions above for obtaining a travel signature.

What if I do not have enough time to receive a new I-20 or DS-2019 with a valid travel signature before returning to the U.S.?

If your travel plans do not allow enough time for us to ship a new document to you before you return to the U.S., then you must either change your anticipated return date, or travel without a valid travel signature on your I-20 or DS-2019.

If you choose the latter option, request Form I-515A at the immigration port of entry. It is most likely the Customs and Border Protection officer at the U.S. Port of Entry will issue you an I-515 form. This form would allow you temporary admission to the U.S. for 30 days. If admitted to the U.S. with Form I-515A, If you have questions or concerns, submit them through the Contact ISS form immediately after you return to Seattle. We will send you an appointment booking link.

Please note, however, that temporary admission with an I-515 is at the discretion of the CBP officer and cannot be guaranteed by ISS. On rare occasions you may be denied entry to the U.S., and you should be aware of this risk before travelling.