Traveling Outside of the U.S.
You must maintain a valid passport at all times for the duration of your stay. If your passport expires while in the U.S., you should obtain an extension through the nearest Consulate or the Embassy of your home country.
Visa Validity: Can the U.S. entry visa that is stamped in my passport expire while I am in the U.S.?
Yes, but as long as you are maintaining your F-1/J-1 student status in every other way as required by law, it will not affect your F-1/J-1 status. Please think of the F-1/J-1 stamped in your passport as an entry permit. It is necessary to have a valid visa to enter the country, but it does not need to remain valid while you are here.
Before You Travel
- Check the validity of your passport, visa and I-20 or DS-2019. Make sure your passport has at least 6 months remaining from your date of return to the U.S.
- Obtain a travel signature from the CIE for your I-20 or DS-2019 if your previous signature is over 6 months old from your date of return
- Make sure to prepare any necessary visa application documents if your visa has expired or will expire before you return
- Check the location (if it is a country other than your own) to see if a visa is required for entry
- Consult the CIE if your situation or your travel circumstances are unusual (travelling/returning after a withdrawal, traveling while on OPT, etc.)
What is an I-20 form?
An I-20 Form is certificate of eligibility used by students to apply for an F-1 visa to enter the United States.
What is a DS-2019 form?
A DS-2019 Form is certificate of eligibility used by students to apply for a J-1 visa to enter the United States.
Your I-20 Form or DS-2019 form must remain valid while you are a student in the U.S.
What is an I-94?
When you enter the U.S. and present your I-20 or DS-2019 Form, you complete an I-94 electronically. This is your Arrival/Departure Card record and it can be obtained online. D/S stands for Duration of Status and indicate that you may stay legally in the U.S. as long as you follow all F-1 or J-1 regulations. The F-1 visa holder has 60 additional days (from the end of the SEVIS I-20) and the J-1 visa holder has 30 additional days for the short travel in the U.S., transfer processes, or departure preparations. This “grace period” may not be used for employment or re-entry into the U.S.