Travel for F-1 visa students
The International Student Services Office is glad to provide new I-20s and related documents for newly admitted students who plan to enter the U.S. for the upcoming semester, and we are also glad to provide I-20s with travel endorsements for continuing F-1 students who need to exit and re-enter the U.S. To request a travel endorsement, please complete a Travel Endorsement Request form.
Port of Entry officers are given discretionary authority to admit a nonimmigrant and can refuse or delay entry even when all paperwork appears to be correct. The risk of being refused at the border is not very likely, but because it is possible, please prepare with documents for crossing the U.S. border, and also consider forming a secondary plan in case you are delayed or refused entry. The recommended items for you to carry on hand with you include:
• An unexpired passport valid at least six months into the future
• Your I-20 with a travel signature (on page 2) less than a year old
• F-1 visa stamp valid for further entries to the U.S. (optional for Canadians)
• SEVIS fee receipt showing payment of the I-901 SEVIS fee
• Student transcript printout (optional, only possible for students who have completed at least one semester at The U of M)
• Letter of Admission (optional, only used for new students who are starting their program at The U of M)
Please Note: Should you encounter any problems when entering the U.S., you may ask the port of entry officer for a form I-515a. This form is a temporary permit for entry to correct minor irregularities with paperwork https://studyinthestates.dhs.gov/2013/01/what-form-i-515a. The I-515a is only issued if deemed necessary by the Homeland Security Officer.
Other Important Information about Travel
ACLU article on law enforcement at the airport: https://www.aclu.org/know-your-rights/what-do-when-encountering-law-enforcement-airports-and-other-ports-entry-us/#what-types-of-law-enforcement-officers-and-other-government-officials-could-i-encounter-during-the-security-screening-process-at-the-airport
ACLU article on electronic device searches (phones, tablets, computers) at the border: https://www.aclu.org/blog/privacy-technology/privacy-borders-and-checkpoints/can-border-agents-search-your-electronic?redirect=blog/free-future/can-border-agents-search-your-electronic-devices-its-complicated
Please note that members of the University community, coming from countries with CDC Level 2 and 3 ratings at the time of arrival in the U.S., regardless if the trip was related to University business or personal, are required to observe a 14-day self-quarantine period and must produce a medical clearance before returning to campus. You can view the Medical Clearance form at https://www.memphis.edu/health/coronavirus/uofm_student_clearance_form.pdf
The Center for International Education Services highly recommends that you limit non-essential travel. Please visit the Centers for Disease Control and U.S. State Department Travel Advisories for updated information about travel restrictions. If you decide to travel, be aware that other countries could change travel restrictions without notice, flights may be canceled, or new re-entry restrictions could be imposed when returning to the United States. You may want to connect with your country's local Embassy or Consulate for additional guidance on your home country government's specific travel advice.
Please see more on the UofM Coronavirus information page and be sure to check your UofM email daily for any updates: https://www.memphis.edu/coronavirusupdates/