Travel Guidance

This page provides general guidance on travelling abroad while on a nonimmigrant visa. As always, contact GEO if you have any questions! Better safe than sorry.

Things to consider before travelling abroad:

  • Contact your country’s consulate to determine what travel precautions they suggest. 
  • Contact the U.S. Department of State website to view travel advisories 
  • Make sure your documents are valid and you have a travel signature on your I-20 or DS-2019 that is no older than one year prior to the date you plan to return to the U.S. 
  • Speak to an international student advisor at GEO if you have any concerns about travel or if you are not maintaining your F or J status.

What documents do I need to take with me when I travel?

  • Passport
  • Valid visa (not expired)
  • Form I-94
  • I-20 or DS-2019, endorsed for travel by an international student advisor within the last year
  • In addition, we recommend that you carry: 
    • Official transcript (obtained at the Registrar’s Office) OR Letter of Enrollment
    • SEVIS fee receipt 
    • Proof of financial support (a personal bank statement or sponsor’s letter and bank statement)
    • Business card of PDSO or DSO (to contact us if you encounter problems)

Other Frequently Asked Questions Related to Travel:

Do I need to renew my visa if I travel abroad? If your nonimmigrant visa stamp has expired, you will have to apply for a new visa to reenter the U.S. unless you will be using Automatic Revalidation. Please review the Visa Renewal handout and speak with an international student advisor at GEO before you leave the United States to apply for a visa renewal.

What if I travel to Mexico, Canada or the Caribbean? If you plan to travel to a country that is contiguous* to the U.S. (but NOT Cuba) and you intend to stay there less than 30 days and will NOT apply for a new U.S. visa, you may reenter the U.S. on an expired visa stamp (this regulation is known as Automatic Visa Revalidation). *Saint Pierre, Miquelon, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Bermuda, the Bahamas, Barbados, Jamaica, The Windward and Leeward Islands, Trinidad, Martinique, or other British, French or Netherlands territories or possessions in, or bordering, the Caribbean Sea.

How does Automatic Visa Revalidation work? When traveling to a contiguous country, you keep the same I-94 number with you upon exiting the U.S. Tell the immigration official at the port of exit (border) that you intend to stay outside the U.S. for less than 30 days and that your U.S. visa is expired. Make sure to have your I-20 or DS-2019 signed by an immigration advisor at GEO before you travel and present that document along with your valid passport, form I-94, and expired visa to reenter the U.S. Please note that reentry into the United States through Automatic Visa Revalidation is not guaranteed.

Do I need a visa to travel to Mexico, Canada or another country? If you are traveling to Mexico, Canada or any country that is not your country of citizenship, you may need a visa to enter that country. The following contacts may be helpful to determine if you need a visa to enter another country: