Center for International Education

Travel


What Documents Do I Need to Have When I Re-Enter the U.S.?

*Please note that U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers can ask for your social media account information when you apply for a F-1 visa and/or travel through U.S. ports of entry. We advise all students to be smart about your online presence and always be compliant with federal laws and regulations. 

Currently Enrolled Students:

When you re-enter the United States, you must always have the following items with you:

  • Valid Passport
  • Valid F-1 Visa* (there are some exceptions, read below about Automatic Revalidation if your current visa has expired.)
  • Current I-20 that has not expired and shows your current major.
    • NOTE: If your current I-20 was emailed to you from the CIE office, you MUST print the I-20 and carry it with you. You can not present your I-20 via phone/laptop/tablet at the port of entry. You must present a printed version of the I-20 when you enter the U.S.
  • Valid Travel Endorsement on your I-20. Request a travel endorsment here: https://cie.uwb.edu.
    • The travel endorsement on your I-20 is valid for 1 year. Make sure that the date of the travel endorsement was signed within 1 year from the date you plan to re-enter the U.S. 

Additional documents you should also carry with you (although not required):

OPT / STEM OPT Students:    

While on OPT/STEM OPT work authorization, you are still on your F-1 visa. When you re-enter the United States, you must always have the following items with you:

  • Valid Passport
  • Valid F-1 Visa* (there are some exceptions, read below about Automatic Revalidation if your current visa has expired.)
  • Current I-20 with a valid travel endorsement and information about your current employment on it. You can contact the Center for International Education to request a printed copy of your I-20 with your employment information. To update your employment information, please use the SEVP Portal Account.
  • Valid Travel Endorsement on Your I-20: The travel endorsement is valid for 6 months when on Post-completion OPT, so please make sure that you receive a new travel endorsement before you depart the U.S. 
  • EAD Card
  • Any documentation that shows proof that you are employed, such as paystubs, letter from your supervisor, etc.

Can I Re-Enter the U.S. with an Expired F-1 Visa After Visiting Canada? 

Yes. If you are in good immigration status, you are eligible to use your expired F-1 visa to re-enter the U.S. from Canada, Mexico or the Adjacent Islands. This is called Automatic Revalidation of visa. This is allowed only if the trip does not exceed 30 days, you have a valid passport, and a valid I-20.

However, the following individuals are not eligible for the automatic revalidation:

  • An F-1 student who applies for a new visa in Canada, Mexico or Adjacent Islands; AND    
  • Citizens of “state sponsors of terrorism” designated by the U.S. Dept. of State.

Do I Need a Visa to Travel to Canada?