For COVID-19 vaccine updates, please review our information guide. For patient eligibility and scheduling availability, please visit VaccineTogetherNY.org.

TRAVEL

Overview

F-1 students are advised to plan any travels in advance to ensure that you have the proper documentation to re-enter the United States, as well as to avoid missing classes and other required academic activities. You should carry these douments with you and not in your checked luggage because you must present these documents to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer at the U.S. port of entry.

It is important that you print and save a copy of the I-94 Travel Record after each entry to the United States and make sure the information of your current status is correct, which should be "F1" and your duration of stay "D/S."

CURRENT F-1 STUDENTS

Current F-1 Students

When traveling outside of the United States, currently enrolled F-1 students should carry the following original documents for reentry to the U.S.

  • Valid Passport

Your passport must be valid at least six months into the future at the time you return to the United States and throughout your stay in the U.S.

  • Valid U.S. Visa

Check your visa page in advance to make sure it is still valid. If your F-1 visa expires while you are in the U.S. OR will expire on or before you return to the U.S., you must renew your visa in order to be readmitted to the United States. We strongly recommend that you renew your visa in your home country. The instructions on how to apply and the documents required may vary by U.S. Embassy or Consulate. Please consult the instructions on the US Embassy or Consulate website to learn about the specific requirements to apply for a student visa in your country. You can also visit the U.S Department of States website to learn the steps to apply for an F-1 visa.

Note you should bring a copy of Student Enrollment Verification letter to your in-person visa interview at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate. You can request this letter through the Registrar by completing the Document Request Form.

  • Form I-20 with Valid Travel Signature

You should be traveling using your most recent and original I-20 with a valid travel signature (page 2). The signature is valid for 12 months from the date of signature and can be used for multiple entries. We recommend that you request a travel signature at least 2-3 weeks before leaving the United States. Do not wait until the last minute!

To obtain a travel signature, please reach out to one of the Designated School Officials (DSO) and bring your most recent I-20. 

  • Financial Document (recommended)

Evidence of financial support is recommended for students who pay tuition.

NOTE:
Current F-1 students may travel internationally and reenter the United States before the "Program End Date" listed on your I-20 while your OPT application is pending.

F-1 STUDENTS on POST-COMPLETION OPT or STEM OPT

F-1 Students on Post-Completion OPT or STEM OPT

Since you are still in F-1 status while you are on OPT, you must carry the following documents for reentry to the United States.

  • Valid Passport

Your passport must be valid at least six months into the future at the time you return to the United States and throughout your stay in the U.S.

  • Valid U.S. Visa

Check your visa page in advance to make sure it is still valid. If your F-1 visa expires while you are in the U.S., or will expire on or before you return to the U.S., you must renew your visa in order to be readmitted to the United States. We strongly recommend that you renew your visa in your home country. Visit your country's US Embassy or Consulate website to learn about what you will need to apply for a student visa.

  • Form I-20 with Valid Travel Signature

You should be traveling using your most recent and original I-20 with a valid travel signature (page 2). The signature is valid for 6 months from the date of signature and can be used for multiple entries. We recommend that you request a travel signature at least 2 - 3 weeks before leaving the United States. Do not wait until the last minute!

To obtain a travel signature, please reach out to one of the Designated School Officials (DSO) and bring your most recent I-20. If you live ouside of NYC and are unable to obtain a travel signature in person, refer to the I-20 Shipping Instructions to learn how to create a FedEx pre-paid shipping label.

  • Valid Employment Authorization Document Card (EAD)

EAD card alone is not sufficient documentation for entry to the United States. You must present this card with the documents listed here.

  • Employment Letter (recommended)

Letter from your employer or supervisor that confirms continued employment and travel dates.

IF YOUR OPT or STEM OPT is PENDING

If Your Post-Completion OPT is Pending

We do not recommend you travel outside of the United States while your OPT application is pending. However, if you must travel after graduation, after the "Program End Date" listed on your I-20 AND while your OPT appplication is pending, you must have a valid passport, a valid U.S. visa, I-20 with valid travel signature, including the additional documents listed below in order to have the best chance for reentry to the U.S.

  • Notice of Action, Form I-797 from USCIS (This is a notice from USCIS proving that the application has been filed.)
  • Evidence that you have a job or job offer in the U.S.

If Your STEM OPT Extension is Pending

If your current post-completion OPT EAD has expired, you may travel abroad and seek reentry to the United States in F-1 status if you have properly filed your STEM OPT application with USCIS.

Note if your STEM OPT extension is denied while you are outside of the United States, you will not be able to reapply or reenter in F-1 status.

For reentry to the U.S. while your STEM OPT application is pending, you must carry the following documents:

  • Valid passport
  • Valid F-1 visa
  • STEM OPT I-20 signed by a DSO within the last six months (page 2)
  • USCIS receipt notice for your STEM OPT application
  • Proof of employment - offer letter or a letter confirming continued employment

DESIGNATED SCHOOL OFFICIALS

PDSO

Clive Liew

Student Services Administrator

cll4002@med.cornell.edu


Book an appointment with WCGS International Student Services using SetMore

Weill Cornell Medicine Graduate School of Medical Sciences 1300 York Ave. Box 65 New York, NY 10065 Phone: (212) 746-6565 Fax: (212) 746-5981

Ready to start?
Apply now
Need more info?
Ask a question
Follow us on
Instagram