F-1 visa holding students are normally eligible to leave the U. S. for temporary trips while they are studying. This can include leaving the U.S. for a conference, visiting family, or spending the summer at home. However, some specific details must be observed when traveling:
- Be certain to have a valid F-1 visa in your passport upon your return to the U.S. **
- Be certain that your form I-20 has been endorsed for travel on page two by staff in
your International Student Services office. We recommend that this travel endorsement
be applied within 6 months of your planned trip.
- Due to meetings and other possible availability issues, please plan to get your I-20 travel signatures at least one week prior to traveling.
- Please plan to have F-2 spouse/child I-20s signed in addition to the main F-1 student I-20, if the F-2 family members are also traveling.
- Be certain that your passport will still be valid for at least six additional months into the future upon your return to the U.S. This is a mandatory condition of maintaining legal F-1 status while inside the U.S.
- Before leaving, check for any possible need for transit visas in other countries as you progress towards your destination.
- Be prepared with alternate plans in case your travel is unexpectedly disrupted. As we have seen in recent news, new federal travel restrictions can erupt unexpectedly and without warning.
** Automatic Revalidation – for some F-1 visa holders, it is possible to take short-term trips to Canada or Mexico (30 days or less), under the Automatic Revalidation program, which recognizes expired F-1 visas in combination with Active I-20s for travel purposes.