Travel and Reentry into the U.S.

It is important to make sure you have all the information and documents you need before you depart the U.S. It is much harder to prepare for reentry from outside of the U.S. and while you are traveling. Read below for what is needed when traveling and contact ISSS with any additional questions.

Required Documents for Travel:

The U.S. Government does look at your documents carefully when you enter the U.S. so it is important to stay updated on what you need to travel. All international students leaving the U.S. need to be in possession of the following upon reentry: 

  • Returning students need a valid I-20/DS-2019 with current travel signature from within the last year. (Travel signatures should be valid within 6 months for students on OPT). You can submit a Travel Signature request via MyISSS. Note: New USF students with an initial I-20, do not need a travel signature the first time you enter.
  • Valid passport from your home country that is valid more than 6 months into the future.
  • Valid U.S. F-1 or J-1 visa stamp in your passport (except for Canadian nationals)
  • SEVIS I-901 fee receipt that matches your current I-20/DS-2019 SEVIS ID number; you can print a new one here if needed.
  • EAD card and letter confirming your employment if you are on post-completion OPT.
  • If you are arriving late for the semester you need department approval and confirmation that you will be able to maintain a full-course load prior to arrival.

Additional items to carry with you and present if requested: 

  • Transcripts showing you have been a full-time student and are enrolled for the current or next academic term. If you need to request updated transcripts, you may do so by visiting USF's Transcripts website to complete the process for ordering transcripts

  • Proof of finances, which can be a bank statement or letter showing that you have funds to cover your stay and tuition while in the U.S.
  • Enrollment verification requested from the USF One Stop Office.

Custom and Border Protection (CBP) Search Procedures:

When you arrive in the U.S. from any international destination, you may encounter stricter inspection procedures. CBP is legally allowed to search any item you are bringing into the U.S. This includes turning on and asking you to log in to your email, social media, and other items on your laptops and personal devices. You can read more about these search procedures on this CBP information sheet. Keep in mind that these searches can be unpleasant but it is always best to be polite and tell the truth when questioned. If you feel that your search was excessive and the officers mistreated you, please report these details to ISSS as soon as you enter.

Renewing your U.S. Student Visa:

If your student visa (or visa you are studying on) will expire before you plan to return to the US, you need to renew it. The visa renewal application is much like the initial visa application and in almost all cases will require you to apply in person and sit for an interview. Please check for visa processing times and book your appointment early. Other information about the visa application process can be found here on the ISSS website and on the US State Department website. ISSS will keep our resource page updated if government policies and procedures change.