International Student Services

​Travel Signatures

Travel Signature Requirement

Get a travel signature from ISS prior to international travel!

  • You must have a valid travel signature on your I-20 or DS-2019 to return to the U.S. after travel abroad.
  • Each signature is valid for one year. (F1 students on OPT: the travel signature is valid for six months).
  • A travel signature is issued by your ISS adviser to confirm you are maintaining your F1 or J1 student status.
  • 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

How To Obtain a Travel Signature

In Seattle:

  • Fill out the Travel Signature Form available at the ISS front desk.
  • Turn in the Travel Signature Form along with your I-20 or DS-2019 to the ISS front desk between 10 am and 4 pm, Monday through Friday.
  • Allow 10 business days for ISS processing.
  • Wait for an email from ISS ( notifying you that your document is ready to pick up.
  • If you are leaving too soon to pick up the signed document, ISS can mail the document to you.

From Outside the Seattle Area:

  • Submit a Replacement I-20 Request and choose the “travel signature needed” option.
  • Allow 10 business days for ISS processing.
  • If you are returning to the U.S. so soon that there is not time to mail an original I-20 or DS-2019 to you, review the emergency travel information below.

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 for leaving the U.S. Follow the instructions above for obtaining a travel signature from outside of the Seattle area.

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, complete the Have a Question form on the navigation bar to the right immediately after your 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.