Required Documents for Reentry
Review the list below for details about the required documents for travel while you are in active F-1 or J-1 status.
I-20 or DS-2019
You must have a valid travel signature to reenter the United States. Travel signatures are valid for 1 year from the date signed.
To request a travel signature, submit the Travel Signature e-form.
Your passport must be valid 6 months into the future from the date of your entry into the U.S., unless your country has an agreement with the U.S. allowing entry with a passport until the date of expiration.
In most cases, you must have a valid visa to reenter the U.S., with a few exceptions:
If you are a citizen of Bermuda or Canada, you are not required to apply for a visa, but you must carry your I-20 or DS-2019 with valid travel signature.
If your visa has expired and you are traveling to Canada, Mexico or an adjacent island for less than 30 days, you may be eligible for automatic visa revalidation. For more information, meet with an international student advisor.
Special Considerations for Post-Completion and STEM OPT
Travel signatures are only valid for 6 months while you are on post-completion or STEM OPT.
In addition to the above documents, you should carry:
EAD: The bottom of the card says “not valid for reentry to the U.S.” This statement means that the EAD card alone is not sufficient documentation for entry to the U.S.
Employer Letter: U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement recommends carrying a letter of employment if you have one (read Can I reenter if I left while on OPT?). There is no specific template for the employer letter.