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Travel Authorization for Re-Entry

If you plan to temporarily travel outside of the U.S. and return to continue your studies at CSUDH, you must obtain a travel authorization on your I-20 before departure. Without proper authorization, you may not be able to enter the U.S. If you plan to travel to another country, you must confirm the entry visa requirements for your citizenship by contacting the consular office of the country you plan to visit.

Renewing Your F-1 Visa

Suppose your F-1 visa has expired while studying in the U.S., and you intend to travel to another country. In that case, you will need to renew your visa overseas before returning to the U.S. You cannot renew your F-1 visa in the U.S. because the visa renewal process is the same as your first visa application.

Abroad, you will need to present the U.S. embassy with financial documents like bank statements, an official transcript to verify full-time enrollment, and your intention to return to your home country after completing your degree. Make sure you take the following documents with you to the U.S. embassy:

  • Valid passport
  • CSUDH I-20 with a valid travel signature and with current and correct information
  • Official CSUDH transcripts
  • Financial documents indicating the source and amount of money

Automatic Visa Re-Validation*

For travel to Mexico, Canada, or adjacent islands** for less than thirty (30) days, you may be able to re-enter the U.S. with an expired U.S. student visa. For more information, please visit the U.S. Department of State's website about visa re-validation

To use automatic visa re-validation, you must meet the requirements listed below:

  • Hold a valid I-94
  • Inform the officials or the airline staff that you are an international student with an expired visa
  • Hold a signed I-20
  • Travel for less than 30 days to Canada, Mexico, or adjacent islands*
  • Have maintained and intend to maintain non-immigrant status
  • Have not applied for a new visa during the trip
  • Have never had a visa canceled under INA222

* Citizens of Cuba, Iran, Sudan, or Syria cannot use automatic visa re-validation.

** Adjacent islands: Saint Pierre and Miquelon, 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 [Cuba is not included].

Travel While on Optional Practical Training (OPT)

If you have been authorized for Post-Completion Optional Practical Training (OPT) and wish to travel outside the U.S., you will need the following documents to re-enter the country:

  • Valid passport, which must be valid six (6) months from the date of entry
  • Valid, unexpired F-1 student visa
  • CSUDH I-20 with valid travel signature (a travel signature is only valid for six (6) months while on OPT)
  • Valid Employment Authorization Document (EAD)
  • Letter from the current or prospective employer