Students who wish to travel outside of the U.S. for a time period of less than 5 months may do so but must plan wisely. In order to reenter the United States after a temporary absence, an F-1 student should have the following documents:
- A valid passport, unless exempt from the passport requirement – The passport must be valid for at least 6 months from the date of entry to the U.S.
- A valid F-1 Visa – It is not possible to get a new visa within the United States. A student will have to visit a U.S. Embassy or Consulate outside of the U.S. to receive a new one. (Canadian students are exempt from this requirement.)
- A Form I-20 properly endorsed for travel by a Baylor DSO - The Baylor ISSS Office will provide travel authorization (also known as a travel signature) to a student who requests one. Signatures are valid for 12 months of travel; however, we recommend that signatures should not be older than 6 months when traveling outside of the U.S. (For students on OPT, 6 months is the rule.)
- Students must allow 5 business days for processing.
If your current F-1 visa will still be valid and unexpired when you reenter the USA, you are not required to obtain a new visa. When traveling outside the US, you must take all pertinent immigration documents with you, including:
- Valid I-20
- Valid passport
- Valid Visa
- Supplemental Documents (EAD and employment letter, if you are on OPT).
Remember when traveling to another country that other countries have rules and restrictions on who can enter their country, and how. For travel to any country other than the home country, students must check with the Embassy of the country they would like to visit to inquire about specific entry procedures related to their home country. This includes Mexico and Canada which have entry requirements as well.
- A student must submit the Request for Travel Authorization Form to the Baylor ISSS Office.
- After submitting the form, the student should bring his or her I-20 to the ISSS Office and leave it for processing.
- A DSO will review the student’s file to determine if the student is in status, if his or her address is up to date, enrollment status (you must be enrolled), any holds, etc.
- Once the DSO has verified all information, the student will be contacted to come pick up his or her signed I-20.