Traveling with an F-1 Visa

There are so many places to see in the U.S. and around the world. You may also want to visit home during your studies.

If you are maintaining your status, you limit the risk you may encounter while traveling.

Here are some key things to keep in mind while traveling inside and outside of the U.S.

Bring a copy of your current I-20 or DS-2019 and your passport with you. Most of the time, you will not be required to present these to anyone.

However, if you are detained by an immigration officer for some reason, you will need to present these documents.

You will be asked to present an official picture I.D. such as a Driver's License, I.D. Card, or Passport when traveling by plane or train. Your WSU ID is not sufficient for travel identification.

When visiting U.S. airports (even if not traveling) it is recommended you carry your passport or copies of all immigration documents and a state ID.

Your passport must be valid for 6 months into the future at all time.

Continue to check your WSU email while you are away. All university notices, including information that could affect your immigration status, will be communicated via email.

Make certain that there are no holds on your student account.

Whether you are traveling within or outside the USA, please bring your insurance card with you.

You will need a valid travel signature on your I-20/DS-2019 in order to re-enter the U.S. Please bring the document to ISSS at least 2 weeks before you depart.

We will meet with you to confirm your major and your current address in the U.S., which needs to stay current on e-Services.

Documents to carry with you:
  • I-20/DS-2019 (with travel signature dated in the last 6 months)
  • Valid Passport (valid for 6 months into the future on date of re-entry)
  • Valid United States visa (exceptions to Canada/Mexico/Islands for 30 days or less)
  • Recommended: Carry proof of enrollment (past and future) – print off schedule or transcript from e-Services or take a screenshot of e-Services registration page with your phone.
  •  If you changed immigration status while in the US – carry change of status approval notice (I-797)

Continue to check your WSU email while you are away. All university notices, including information that could affect your immigration status, will be communicated via email.

Make certain that there are no holds on your student account.

Whether you are traveling within or outside the USA, please bring your insurance card with you.

You will need a valid travel signature on your I-20 in order to re-enter the U.S., which can be a challenge if you live outside of Winona while on OPT.

Please allow plenty of time for a travel signature if you need to send in your I-20 to WSU. You are required to report any changes to your address in the U.S. to us within 10 days of moving, so we should always have your current address on file.

Documents to carry with you:

  • I-20 (with travel signature* dated in the last 6 months)
  • Valid Passport (valid for 6 months into the future on date of re-entry)
  • Valid F-1 visa (exceptions to Canada/Mexico/Islands for 30 days or less)
  • Valid EAD card
  • Letter of employment from OPT employer
  • If you changed immigration status while in the US – carry change of status approval notice (I-797)

Continue to check your email while you are away. All university notices, including information that could affect your immigration status, will be communicated via email.

Whether you are traveling within or outside the USA, please bring your insurance card with you. Contact your health insurance provider to obtain a card.