Travel and Visa Renewal
Travel outside the U.S. with the intention of re-entering in F-1/J-1 status is advisable only if you carry the required documents.
Documents Needed to Re-Enter the U.S. after Travel
- Passport—Valid at least six months into the future at all times, especially upon entry to the U.S.
- Valid Form I-20 (F-1) or Form DS-2019 (J-1)—With a travel signature that is valid on the date you enter the U.S. Each travel signature on your Form I-20 (page 3) or DS-2019 (page 1) is valid for one year. A more current travel signature is needed only if you will be applying for a new F-1 or J-1 entry visa while you are outside the U.S. A request for a travel signature should be submitted to OIP as early as possible before travel, but no later than 24 hours before leaving campus.
To obtain a travel signature, bring the following documents to OIP:
- Your most recently-issued Form I-20/Form DS-2019
- Your Form I-94 Arrival/Departure Record (small, white card inside your passport)
- Forms I-20/DS-2019 and I-94 for any dependent family members who will travel outside the U.S.
- Pick up your signed Form I-20/DS-2019 at the OIP front desk 24 hours after it has been dropped off, during our regular business hours (Monday-Friday, 8:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m.).
- If you are away from campus, you may mail your original Form I-20/Form DS-2019 and a copy of your Form I-94 to OIP. You must then complete the Immigration Document Mailing Form so that OIP can mail the signed Form I-20/Form DS-2019 to you.
- F-1 or J-1 entry visa*—Valid on the date of your return to the U.S. (it does not need to remain valid during your stay in the U.S.). If you have an expired passport with a valid U.S. entry visa, you do not need to get a new visa stamp in your new passport as long as you carry both passports when you enter the U.S.
- Current academic transcript or enrollment letter (recommended)—Available from the Registrar’s Office.
- Original funding documents—Personal bank statement or letter of financial support from your sponsor. The original bank statement should be in your name or be accompanied by an original letter of support from the person whose name is on the statement. If Babson College is your funding source, it is recommended that you get a letter written on Babson letterhead that details your funding. If you have already paid tuition for next semester, you may wish to obtain a statement from Student Financial Services which verifies this. All financial documents should be less than one year old.
F-1 Students Engaged in Post-Completion Optional Practical Training (OPT)
- A valid Employment Authorization Document (EAD)
- Proof of current employment or a job offer letter
- Valid Form I-20 with a current travel signature (less than six months old on the date of entry)
J-1 students engaged in post-completion Academic Training
- An Academic Training letter from an International Student Advisor
- Proof of current employment
- Valid Form DS-2019 with a current travel signature (less than six months old on the date of entry)
If your F-1 or J-1 entry visa has expired, review the information in this handout under Automatic Visa Revalidation.
Entering in Tourist Status
Students should NEVER enter the U.S. in tourist immigration status. If your Form I-94 is marked with anything other than “F-1, D/S” or “J-1, D/S” see an International Student Advisor right away.
*Canadian Citizens are not required to have an F-1/J-1 visa stamp to enter the U.S., BUT ARE REQUIRED to present all other documents listed above. All students must request F-1/J-1 status and present Form I-20/DS-2019 to the immigration inspector at the U.S. port of entry. ALWAYS check your Form I-94 before leaving the inspection area to ensure that it was properly notated with “F-1” or “J-1” and “D/S”. Often, your Form I-94 will not be removed when you leave the U.S., and you will not receive a new one upon re-entry. This is okay, but if the I-94 card is removed, remember to get a new one with the “F-1/J-1, D/S” notation when you re-enter.