Office of International Programs

Leaving US

If you plan to leave the U.S. to visit another country, you must have the following documents in order to return to the U.S.:

  • Valid Passport: Your passport should be valid at least six months into the future. You can usually renew your passport at your country’s embassy in the U.S. For a list of foreign embassies in the U.S., go to, click on “Countries and Regions,” then “Foreign Embassies in the U.S.”
  • Valid Visa (the multicolored stamp in your passport): If your visa has expired and you are traveling outside of North America (Canada, Mexico, and adjacent islands) you must renew your visa to return to the U.S. Do NOT re-enter on a visa other than your J or F visa! Important! As of August 1, 2003, interviews are required for most non-immigrant visa applications. Procedures vary for each consulate, so be sure to check with your U.S. Consulate or Embassy for specific procedures. You can find links to U.S. Consulates worldwide at In some cases, you will not need an interview for visa renewal, but you should still expect a longer processing time. Please plan accordingly so that you can return in time for classes.  
  • A Valid I-20 (F students) or DS-2019 (J students and scholars): You must have a valid I-20 or DS-2019 with a valid travel signature (found on page 3 on the I-20 form and on the lower right-hand corner of page 1 on the DS-2019). Once signed, the travel signature is good for one year after the date of the signature. You will need a new I-20 if you have recently had a change in financial support, degree, field of study, or graduation date.
  • I-94 form: Your I-94 Form will be taken from you by an airline official when you leave the country, and you will be issued a new one by an immigration officer when you re-enter the U.S. Also, if you are traveling to a country other than your own, you need to check with the Consulate of that country to see if you need a visa in order to enter that country.
  • We recommend that you take an official copy of your transcript with you when you travel. It will demonstrate that you are a enrolled full time and that you are a successful student. It should also document that yiou are pre-registered if you are traveling during one of the University's smester breaks.
  • If you would like a letter for travel purposes or to verify your enrollment please contact submit your request via our online "enrollment verification form." 

Post-completion OPT students: If you have completed your studies, you should NOT travel while waiting for your EAD card (Employment Authorization Document). Once you receive your EAD card, it is still very risky to travel while on OPT. As of February 2005, you must have a job offer to re-enter the U.S.

All students: Since September 11, it is also recommended that students carry all of their immigration documents with them even when traveling domestically within the U.S. 

Travel to Canada

The following documents are needed for travel to Canada:

  • Valid I-94: This is the small white card in your passport that should have an entry stamp and read “D/S” (duration of status)
  • Valid Passport
  • Valid I-20 or DS-2019 with a valid travel signature
  • Tourist visa (applies only to certain countries). Citizens of certain countries are required to have a tourist visa (Temporary Resident Visa) in order to visit Canada. To find out if you will need a visa, visit the Canadian Tourism website. Tourist visas must be obtained in person or by mail from the Canadian Consulate in New York City. Applications by mail are normally processed within five working days and then returned, not including mail time. For specific requirements and to download an application, check the website for Canadian Tourst Visa Information.