F-1 Students and their dependents can travel outside the United States anytime during the degree program. Generally, most students travel during the winter break, spring break and summer semester.
F-2 Dependents are eligible to travel without the presence of the SEVIS record holder. They must present valid passports, visas and updated I-20s verifying their F-2 status.
Prior to departing the United States, check the following:
- Your passport and visa are valid and up-to-date. If your passport will expire, make plans to renew your passport in your home country within 6 months of expiration. The same rule applies for F-2 dependents.
- Check your I-20 to verify all information is accurate and up-to-date.
- Always check travel news prior to flying to, within, or out of the United States. For up-to-date airport information, check the websites for LAX and ONT.
- Inform the SLDL office of any extended travel plans where you will be out of the US for five or more months.
To be eligible for entry into the US, students must present a:
- Valid passport. Your passport must be valid at the time of your reentry to the United States.
- Valid Visa. A visa is a travel document allowing entry into the United States under a valid visa status (i.e. F-1/F-2). Citizens from Canada or Bermuda can travel into the U.S. without a visa.
- Valid I-20 Travel Endorsement/ Signature. An I-20 travel endorsement on page 2, or signature is valid for a full year from the date it was signed. For example, if your school’s DSO signed your I-20 on April 30, 2021, the signature would be valid until April 29, 2022.
To renew an expired travel signature, schedule an appointment with the SLDL office or drop your I-20 at the SLDL Office. If you are overseas or cannot commute to CGU, our staff can mail an updated I-20 through UEMS eShipGlobal, an express shipping service that partners with FedEx, UPS and DHL. Students are responsible for the shipping fees charged by UEMS eShipGlobal.
Automatic Visa Revalidation
Certain travelers in F-1 status holding expired visas who seek to return to the U.S. after brief travel to Canada, Mexico, or an adjacent island for thirty days or less may be admitted at a U.S. port-of-entry without renewing their F-1 visa stamp. The parameters on this exception are available on the Department of State Website.