You may leave the United States and return at any time during your program, provided you are still in valid immigration status when you return and you have been absent from the country for less than five months.
Documents Required for Re-Entry to the US
- Current form I-20 or DS-2019 issued by RIT with valid travel signature
- Unexpired passport valid for the next six months
- Unexpired F or J visa
Travel signatures acknowledge that you are maintaining your status at RIT. The signature appears on page 2 of the I-20, and page 1 of the DS-2019. For F-1 students prior to graduation, and for all J-1 exchange visitors, travel signatures are valid for 1 year. If you are on F-1 OPT, the travel signature on your I-20 is valid for six months. We recommend current students obtain a new travel signature each academic year.
ISS advisors provide a new travel signature on each I-20/DS-2019 they issue to you. Check your most recently issued I-20/DS-2019. If the travel signature will be valid at the time you reenter the US, you do not need to request a new signature. If the most recent travel signature will be expired at the time you reenter the US, please submit a Travel Signature Request Form to firstname.lastname@example.org and an advisor will email you an updated I-20 with a new travel signature. DS-2019s will be available for pick-up in ISS or can be mailed to you.
Travel to Canada, Mexico, and the Caribbean
If you are traveling directly to and from Canada, Mexico or the Caribbean* (except Cuba) for fewer than thirty days, you may return to the US with an expired F or J visa in your passport, using Automatic Revalidation.
To qualify for this privilege, you must:
- Be in lawful F-1 or J-1 Status.
- Have a current I-20 or DS-2019 with a valid travel signature.
- Have a passport valid at least six months into the future on the day you return to the US
- Travel only to one of the destinations named above and for fewer than thirty days. For example, you cannot use automatic revalidation to enter Canada, depart to another country, return to Canada, and then return to the US within 30 days.
- Not apply for a US visa while in Canada, Mexico, or the Caribbean. If you apply for a US entry visa during your visit to one of these destinations, you must wait for it to be issued before you return. If your visa application is denied by the American consulate, you are not allowed to use automatic revalidation to return to the US. You will be required to travel to your country of citizenship to apply for a new visa.
- Have a F-1 or J-1 (expired or valid) visa in your passport or an approval notice for change of status to F-1 or J-1 and the invalid visa of your previous non-immigrant status in your passport.
- Be a citizen of a country other than Syria, Iran, Sudan, North Korea or Cuba. Nationals of these countries are not eligible for visa revalidation. If you are a national of one of these countries, you must always have a valid visa in your passport to enter the United States.
*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 territories or possessions in or bordering on the Caribbean Sea.
If you plan to re-enter the US using automatic revalidation, please consult with an ISS advisor before you go to make sure your documents are in order.
Puerto Rico or the US Virgin Islands
You do not need a valid visa to visit Puerto Rico or the US Virgin Islands. You will need a valid Form I-20 or DS-2019 and a valid unexpired Form I-94. Be sure that you do not have a terminated SEVIS record indicating that you are out of status.