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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
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.
* If you are traveling to Canada, Mexico, or certain contiguous territories for less than 30 days, and you are nota 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 Automatic Revalidation of Visa Validity section of our page about travel to Canada and Mexico. 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 Automatic Revalidation of Visa Validity section of our page about travel to Canada and Mexico.
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 available on the Canadian Government website.
Fall 2013 Update: A new step in the Canadian visa application process is now being implemented for people from certain countries. It requires an on-line application, followed by a trip to an ASC - Application Support Center (the closest one to RIT is in Buffalo) for photographs and fingerprints (biometrics). The ASC nearest to you can be found through this site: USCIS Service and Office Locator.
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:
*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.