If you plan to travel outside the U.S. and return in F-1 status, you must have the following documents upon re-entry:
- Valid F-1 visa.
- Valid passport with an expiration date that is at least six months beyond the date you want to re-enter the U.S.
- I-20 endorsed by the International Student Office (ISO) within the last six months.
- For OPT students, the above documents plus the OPT EAD and proof of employment.
Application process for I-20 travel endorsement
- Complete a travel endorsement request and submit it to the ISO with your most recent I-20.
- The ISO will send you an email when the I-20 is ready for pickup, within one business day of submission.
- If your current I-20 does not reflect your current major, or if you wish to update the financial or dependents portions, you will need to submit a request for a new I-20. Such requests require additional documents and require a processing time of five business days.
In order to enter the U.S. you must have a valid, unexpired visa in your passport. Once inside, visa status takes over. If you are an F-1 or J-1 student and complying with the regulations pertinent to your visa category, you are eligible to remain in the U.S. until you reach the end date on your I-20 or until the end of your academic program, whichever comes first. The expiration of the visa in your passport has no effect. Once you leave the U.S., however, you will need a valid, unexpired visa to return.
Travel greater than five months
To maintain F-1 status, students must be enrolled full time every fall and spring semester and avoid gaps of more than five months between terms.
- If you leave the U.S. for more than five months, your F-1 status will end.
- To re-enter the U.S., you will need an initial attendance I-20 and new visa.
- To be eligible for off-campus employment, you will have to re-establish your eligibility by maintaining full-time enrollment for one academic year even if you met that requirement in your previous status.
ACC’s International Programs Office works with international students interested in Study Abroad classes . Speak with an International Programs representative who will provide a list of required documents and procedures.