travel in/out of u.s.
Most SFAI international students will travel in and out of the U.S. multiple times during their degree program. While travel is common, it is important to carry the following documents with you when you re-enter the U.S. Failure to do so may prevent you from re-entering the U.S. as an F-1 or J-1 student.
- Valid Passport(must be valid for at least 6 months beyond the date of your re-entry to the U.S.)
- Valid F-1/J-1 student visa in passport (except students from Canada)
- Most recent I-20/DS-2019 with a valid travel endorsement (signatures are valid for 10 months for students within their degree programs and 6 months for students on OPT). F-1 students should obtain a travel signature from the Global Programs Office. J-1 students must do so through IIE.
F-1 Students on OPT
Along with the above documents, F-1 students on OPT are also required to carry the following:
- Valid Employment Authorization Document (EAD) card
- Proof of current employment or offer letter
For more details on traveling during OPT, please see the OPT Application Guide.
- Financial support documents that prove you can support yourself while in the U.S.
- Proof of full-time enrollment at SFAI
Traveling to Canada or Mexico Using Automatic Revalidation
Automatic Revalidation allows for a person with an expired F or J visa in their passport to re-enter the U.S. from Canada, Mexico, and “adjacent islands” (except Cuba).
To re-enter the U.S. using automatic revalidation you must meet the following requirements:
- Have traveled ONLY to Canada, Mexico, or adjacent islands
- Cannot be absent from the U.S. for more than 30 days
- Cannot apply for or renew your F-1/J-1 visa during this time
- Have maintained and intend to maintain nonimmigrant status in the U.S.
- Must carry a valid passport with the expired visa, and an I-20 or DS-2019 with a valid travel signature
IMPORTANT: You must retain and be in possession of your current I-94 (arrival/departure record) card when leaving the U.S. to ensure successful re-entry back to the U.S.
Citizens of Iraq, Iran, Syria, Libya, Sudan, North Korea, and Cuba are not eligible for the automatic revalidation benefit and are required to have a valid visa for re-entry into the U.S.
The adjacent islands include:
Saint Pierre, Miquelon, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Bermuda, the Bahamas, Barbados, Jamaica, the Windward and Leeward Islands, Trinidad, Martinique, and other British, French, and Netherlands territory or possessions in or bordering on the Caribbean Sea [Reference INA, Section 101(b)(5)]