Travel for F-1 Students

Initial Travel to the U.S.

You'll need a valid passport and visa along with supporting documentation to enter the U.S. You will also be subject to secondary inspection upon arrival (see Arriving in the U.S. below).

Canadian citizens do not need a visa.

If you have questions about what documents are needed visit the embassy or consulate where you'll apply for your visa.

Travel Within the U.S.

Whenever you travel, even in the U.S., you should carry your original passport, I-94 and any supporting documentation with you.

Arriving in the U.S.

U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security is using secondary inspections to verify SEVIS status.
If you have an I-20 or DS-2019 when you arrive in the U.S. you will be sent to a secondary inspection where immigration officials can confirm that your SEVIS record is active. Secondary inspection will be normal procedure until a new SEVIS verification system is in place.

Expect delays. Allow extra time for connecting flights; current estimates are 1–3 hours to get through Immigration.

Leaving/Re-entering the U.S.

When you depart the U.S. for another country by air, you should leave your I-94 card with the airline agent, unless you're traveling to Canada, Mexico, or the Adjacent Islands. You may retain your I-94 card if you're a Canadian or Mexican citizen and you plan to re-enter the U.S.

You'll need to renew an expired visa before returning to the United States. Details can be found on embassy or consulate websites. Security checks for visa renewals may take several months. If you're planning to travel from the U.S. to Canada or Mexico and your visa has expired, speak with an ISS Specialist before you leave.

If you're traveling from the U.S. to a country other than your home country, you may need to apply for a visa at the embassy of the country you're visiting.

To re-enter the U.S. after a temporary departure, you must have a valid passport and visa and any supporting documentation. You will also be subject to secondary inspection (see Arriving in the U.S. on this page).

If your F-1 visa in your passport IS EXPIRED, you will need to bring the following documents to the U.S. Consulate or Embassy as part of your F-1 visa application:

    • Valid passport (must be valid for at least six months into the future);
    • Valid Form I-20 (be prepared to show the consulate all of your previous I-20s to confirm your valid initial and continuous stay in the U.S.);
    • Travel signature on the bottom of page three of the Form I-20 signed by an ISS Specialist in the ISSO within the last 6 months;
    • If a graduate student, a verification letter from your department stating in GENERAL terms a description of your studies and that you are in good standing;
    • Current proof of financial support; and
    • Copies of transcripts for every semester that you have been enrolled including the current semester.

If your F-1 visa in your passport has NOT EXPIRED, you will need to take the following documents to return to the U.S.:

    • Valid passport (must be valid for at least six months into the future);
    • Valid I-20;
    • Travel signature on the bottom of page three of the Form I-20 signed by an ISS Specialist in the ISSO within the last 6 months; and
    • Valid F-1 visa in your passport

*Although not required, it is also good to have the following documents with you:

    • Current proof of financial support; and
    • Copies of transcripts/study lists for every semester that you have been enrolled at UNL
Travel Signatures

When traveling outside the U.S., all F visa holders will need a valid travel signature on thier I-20, found on the second page of the I-20. Travel signatures are valid for 6 months. To get a signature, come to the ISSO during business hours and give it to staff at the front desk. When the travel signature is finished, the F visa holder will be emailed to pick up the I-20 with a photo ID.

Travel to Canada or Mexico

If you are planning to travel to Canada or Mexico for 30 days or less for business or pleasure, please be sure to speak with an ISS Specialist regarding visa revalidation before you travel.

Travel on OPT

Please speak to an ISS specialist before you travel if you are currently participating in Optional Practical Training.

Upon re-entry to the United States, please give ISSO a copy of your new I-94 (front and back) and a copy of any new passport or F-1 visa information.