Travel Abroad & Re-entry to U.S.

It is important that you understand and are familiar with the following terminology and their differences:
A Visa Status or classification is the immigration category you are granted when you are admitted to the United States, and it is noted on your visa document and on your Form I-94. The visa status or classification determines the nature, location, and duration of your authorized activities, as well as your authorized length of stay in the United States.
A Visa Document indicates how long you have permission to remain in the United States, what activities you have permission to pursue, and where you have permission to pursue those activities.
A Visa Stamp in your passport gives you permission to enter the United States in a certain visa status. The modern, machine-readable "stamp" is not a stamp at all, but a special "foil" that is affixed to a page in your passport and carries identity and other information. Many people still use the term "stamp". This entry stamp does not tell you how long you have permission to stay in the United States; it simply tells you how many times and for how long you have permission to apply for entry in the United States in that particular visa category. The visa stamp must be valid only on the day an individual is physically entering the United States Once admitted, as long as a foreign national continues to hold a valid visa document or otherwise maintains status; the visa stamp in the passport can expire without rendering the individual out of status.
Before leaving the United States, make sure you have the following:

  1. A Valid Passport
  2. Your I-94 Card
  3. A valid United States visa stamp to return to the United States or all of the documents you will need to obtain a new visa stamp abroad.

Be sure you have your I-20 signed for travel before you leave if necessary! The travel signature on the third page of your I-20 is valid for one year. However, it is recommended that you get it signed every 6 months. Register full time in your classes for the upcoming academic semester. Then, visit the Office of International Student Services to request a travel signature.
Pre-departure and Visa Information:

Click the link below in regards to Important Pre-departure / Visa Information from the United States of America Department of State @
If you are traveling to a country other than your home country you should:

  1. Contact the country's consulate or embassy and obtain a visa if one is required for citizens from your country of citizenship or lawful residence.
  2. To obtain contact information for the embassy or consulate of the country you plan to visit go to

To re-enter the United States you must have three things:

  1. A valid unexpired passport. Your passport must be valid for at least six months into the future each time you enter the United States.
  2. A visa document that is valid on and beyond the date you plan to reenter the United States and that has been signed and updated, if needed, by the appropriate official. If you are in F or J status you must have a valid, bar-coded, SEVIS Form I-20 or Form DS-2019.
  3. A valid and unexpired visa stamp in your passport that matches the visa document.