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International Student Services

Travel Information: F Students

Travel Information

Following are general guidelines and requirements for travel and reentry for F-1 students. However, because individual circumstances vary, consult with International Student Services, your embassy or legal advisor before traveling.

Do not forget to have your I20 signed by an ISS advisor in order for you to re-enter into the United States. Do not pack your documents in your suitcase. Carry them with you on the plane.

Inside the U.S.

  • Special permission is not required for you to travel within the U.S.
  • Whenever you travel outside the Laie area, you are advised to carry your

    • Passport,
    • Form I-94 and
    • Form I-20

Outside the U.S.

Documents Required for Travel—unless otherwise noted

  • Visa—must be valid and allow further entries
  • Passport
    • Must be valid for at least six months into the future; however,
    • Some passports are only required to be valid when you enter the U.S.
  • Form I-94—you should surrender your current I-94 when you exit the U.S.
  • Form I-20 that
    • Is issued by BYUH
    • Is current
    • Contains an endorsement signature from International Services for travel on page
      • We recommend the endorsement to be within four months of your travel; yet
      • the regulations stipulate that it must be within 12 months of travel
  • Current financial documentation issued within the last four months
  • Proof of full-time enrollment

F-1 Continuing Students

  • You and your dependents are permitted to leave the U.S. and re-enter in your same status providing you have the proper documentation listed above.
  • If you are not traveling to your home country you should check the requirements of the country you are visiting. Some countries will require a visa. You may also need an in-transit visa for countries where you are making a connecting flight. Most countries have immigration websites that provide visa information.


  • Entry requirements for any of your dependents are essentially the same as for you.
  • Each dependent must carry his/her original Form I-20.
  • If traveling separately from you, the principal visa holder, your dependents should also carry a photocopy of your visa, Form I-94 and Form I-20.

Extended Stays Outside the U.S.

If you will be outside of the U.S. for more than five months, you will be required to get a new Form I-20 from International Services prior to returning to the U.S. Regulations state that a stay outside the U.S. for five months is considered a break in F-1 status.

Third Country Travel

  • When traveling to a third country (a country other than the U.S. or your home country), you are responsible for knowing whether you need an entry visa for that country.
  • Canada—Persons from many countries are required to obtain a Canadian entry visa when entering Canada from the United States. Visas may be obtained from the Canadian Consulate General. Consult the Canadian Consulate General for visa regulations concerning your country before making travel arrangements.
  • Mexico—Tourist cards or visas may be required for travel to Mexico.

Pending Applications for Immigration Benefits or Changes in status if you have a pending application for immigration benefits or for a change in non-immigrant status, you will most likely need Advance Parole to re-enter the U.S. after traveling abroad.

Post-completion Optional Practical Training (OPT)

Required Documents

  • Your Form I-20 must be endorsed within the past six months
  • When you have applied for OPT but not yet received your EAD, travel with your original receipt notice issued by the Nebraska Service Center confirming your request for OPT
  • When you travel after receiving your EAD,
    • Take your EAD card
    • Letter from employer confirming that you are employed or have been offered employment

General Guidance

  • If you have both an EAD for OPT and a job or job offer, you should not experience difficulty reentering the United States.
  • If either of these two conditions is missing, then you are assuming risk when you travel.
  • You may not renter during the 60-day grace period after completing your program or OPT.
  • If you require a new visa, there is no guarantee that you will be readmitted.