International Student Services

March 14, 2017

Spring Break Travel? Check Your I-20 or DS-2019 Travel Signature and Other Travel Documents!

Review the travel rules if you are planning spring break travel!

Plan ahead: ISS requires overnight processing to issue an I-20 travel signature (see below).

International Travel:

To reenter the U.S. after international travel, you must carry:

I-20 With Valid Travel Signature

  • Your I-20 must be signed by an advisor in International Student Services (ISS) before you leave the U.S.
  • This signature is valid for one year (12 months) after the signature date and can be used for multiple entries.
  • To obtain a travel signature, submit your I-20 to the ISS front desk between 10am and 4pm, Monday through Friday. Your I-20 will be available for pick-up the next business day. We require 1 business day to process the travel signature so please plan ahead before you travel.

Valid Passport

Your passport must be valid for at least six months when seeking admission or readmission to the United States, unless your country has an agreement with the United States. For a list of countries under this agreement, see the list on the Immigration Customs Enforcement website. Your passport should remain valid throughout your stay in the U.S.

Valid U.S. Visa

You must present a valid, unexpired visa F-1 visa each time you enter the U.S. (Canadian citizens are exempt from the visa requirement; however, landed immigrants of Canada are generally required to obtain a visa.)

Exception: An exception to the rule requiring a valid, unexpired visa exists for students in F-1 and J-1 status who travel for less than 30 days solely to Canada or Mexico or islands in the Caribbean except Cuba. Your visa will be considered to be “extended” (and “converted” to the proper visa category if you had changed status while in the U.S.) to the date of re-entry, eliminating the need to obtain a new visa at a U.S. consulate before that particular re-entry. This procedure is known as “automatic visa revalidation.” Note that if you apply for a new visa while in Canada, Mexico and islands in the Caribbean, you will not be able to return to the U.S. unless the visa is granted. Also, citizens of Iran, Syria, and Sudan are not eligible for automatic visa revalidation.

Financial Evidence

You should carry evidence detailing the source and amount of your funding. Consular and immigration officers exercise considerable discretion in determining whether your financial support is sufficient to cover all academic and living expenses.

Current Class Schedule

You can print your current class schedule from your “MyUW” page.

SEVIS I-901 Fee Receipt

If you cannot find your SEVIS fee receipt, visit the Student and Exchange Visitor Program SEVIS I-901 fee processing website to request a copy of your receipt.

Spring graduates with pending OPT applications:
You are considered an enrolled student through June 9, 2017, and regular F-1 travel rules apply. Starting June 10, 2017, the different OPT travel guidelines will apply.

Travel Within the United States

You and your dependents may be surprised to learn that federal law requires that you carry “registration” documentation at all times. This includes a basic identity document such as a passport, plus your current I-20 and I-94 record.

Immigration checkpoints can be as far as 100 miles inside the U.S., so if you are planning travel near the northern or southern U.S. borders, you must have your passport, visa, and I-20 with you.