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If after reading the following travel information you still have questions or concerns related to your travel, please contact the ISS office to arrange to speak to an advisor.



You may travel freely within the United States including Alaska, Hawaii, and U.S. territories while you are in valid immigration status. You should have the following documents with you when traveling outside the Rochester area:

    Form I-20 or DS-2019 issued by RIT
    Unexpired passport valid for the next six months
    U.S. visa


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.

  • Form I-20 or DS-2019 issued by RIT with valid travel signature. For enrolled students, signatures are valid for one year and we recommend obtaining a new travel signature each academic year. For students on F-1 OPT/STEM extension, travel signatures are valid for 6 months. If you need a new travel signature, please use the Travel Signature request form on our Forms page
  • Unexpired passport valid for the next six months
  • Unexpired US visa*


* If you are traveling to Canada, Mexico, or certain contiguous territories for less than 30 days, and you are not a foreign national of certain countries designated by the Department of State, you may be permitted to re-enter the United States with an expired visa. For more information, review the section on this page on Travel to Canada, Mexico, and the Caribbean.


If your entry visa has expired and your travel does not qualify for visa revalidation, you must apply for a new visa at an American consulate before re-entering the U.S. Entry visas can only be issued outside the United States. We recommend that you apply for the new visa in your home country; however, if you are unable to return to your home country and need to travel to a third country, it may be possible to apply for a visa there. We recommend in this case that you first contact the U.S. consulate in the country where you will be traveling to confirm that they will review your application. It is possible they would refuse to do so and ask you to travel to your home country. You should also be prepared for a possible delay in the issue of a new visa. A list of visa wait times is available on the Department of State website.

When you go to the consulate, you will need to bring your passport, I-20 or DS-2019, financial documentation, and proof of full-time enrollment, as well as any other documents requested by the consulate.


To find out if you need a visitor's visa to enter Canada please check to see if your country is on the list on the Canadian Government website. If so, follow their online Canadian Visa Application Instructions




Canadian citizens do not require an entry visa to enter the U.S. from Canada, but DO require an I-20 or DS-2019. All Canadian citizens are required to show a passport to enter the United States.

Those entering the U.S. to study should request F-1 status at the border and must always show the Form I-20 and supporting financial documentation to the immigration inspector at the port of entry. Be sure to check your I-94 card before you leave the inspection area to ensure that the I-94 card was properly notated with F-1, D/S. Often, your I-94 card will not be removed from your passport when you leave the U.S., and you will not receive a new one when you re-enter. This is not a problem. Just be aware that if the I-94 card is removed, you must get a new one with the F-1 notation when you re-enter.


If you are traveling only to Canada, Mexico or the Caribbean* (except Cuba) for fewer than thirty days, you may return to the U.S. with an expired F-1 or J-1 visa in your passport under the Automatic Visa Revalidation Program. To qualify for this privilege, you must:

  1. Be in lawful F-1 status or J-1.
  2. Have a current I-20 or DS-2019 with a valid travel signature.
  3. Have a passport valid at least six months into the future on the day you return to the U.S.
  4. 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 U.S. within 30 days.
  5. Not apply for a U.S. visa while in Canada, Mexico, or the Caribbean. If you apply for a U.S. 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 U.S. You will be required to travel to your country of citizenship to apply for a new visa.
  6. 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.
  7. Be a citizen of a country other than Syria, Iran, Sudan 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.

Check with the ISS Office
If you plan to re-enter the U.S. using automatic revalidation, it is a good idea to stop by the ISS office before you go to be sure your documents are in order.


Please see Traveling While On OPT at F-1 Employment

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