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Plan for International Travel

If you plan to travel outside the United States:

1) Please make sure your passport is valid for at least 6 months. If it isn't, make arrangements to get a new one at your home country's embassy or consulate within the US. Passport renewal can take 1-3 months, so plan ahead!

2) Check the date of the travel signature on page 2 of your I-20. Travel signatures are valid for 6 months. If the signature will be older than 6 months at the time of your return, or if you do not have a travel signature at all, you will need to follow these instructions to request a travel signature.

3) If your F-1 visa has expired (or will expire before you return to the US), you will need to renew it before you return. (See below for exceptions to this rule). ISP recommends that you plan your international travel carefully so as to have time to renew your expired visa while in your home country. Visa renewals cannot be done within the US.

4) If you are going to a country that is not your home or the US, check to see if you need a visa or if there are any other restrictions or regulations. If you are traveling to Canada, you can check whether you need a visa to enter Canada. If you do, please get the Canadian visa using the instructions on the consulate web site. Unfortunately, ISP staff cannot provide specific information about travel requirements to other countries.

5) You should carry your I-20, passport, and a copy of your most recent Highline transcript when you travel. Unofficial transcripts are available at It is also recommended that you carry proof that you have sufficient funds to continue studying in the US (such as a bank statement).

Re-entering US with an Expired F-1 Visa:
If you are traveling to Canada, Mexico, or adjacent islands for less than 30 days, you may re-enter the US using an expired F-1 visa, as long as your passport and I-20 are current. For more information about this, visit the Customs and Border Patrol website.

Last Updated January 2017

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