• Travel Information

    During your time in the United States you will hopefully have the opportunity to visit sites around the United States or to travel home to see friends and family. As you prepare for travel, please keep in mind the following travel-related information to ensure that you have a safe and stress-free trip.

  • Travel in the United States

    • An identification with picture (driver’s license, passport, state ID card, etc.) is required if traveling by plane.
    • It is recommended that you carry copies of your current passport and I-20 or DS-2019 with you at all times.

    International Travel

    Required Documents:

    • A valid I-20 or DS-2019 signed for travel - recommended that signature date is within past 6 months (6 month requirement for students on OPT). Make sure to obtain a travel signature from the GEC at least one week before traveling.
    • A valid passport (should be valid for at least six months after reentry to the US)
    • If you are traveling while on OPT, your Employment Authorization Document (EAD) is required, and evidence that you will be returning for employment (contact the GEC for details is traveling while on OPT)
    • A valid US visa (exceptions listed below)
      • Students from Canada do not require a US visa
      • Students who travel to Canada, Mexico, or the adjacent Caribbean islands for 30 days or less may re-enter the United States with an expired US visa under the Automatic Visa Revalidation provision. To reenter under this provision, students should not surrender the I-94 card at the time of departure. Students from Iran, Syria, Sudan, and Cuba are not eligible for Automatic Visa Revalidation.

    Recommended Documents: 

    • Travel letter from the GEC
    • Evidence of financial resources
    • University transcript (recommended if applying for a new visa)
    • Emergency contact information and health insurance card
    • If you are traveling while on OPT or during your grace period (after program end date but before OPT begins), it is strongly recommended that you bring proof of employment such as a letter from your employer. 
    • If you changed status in the United States, bring a copy of your change of status approval notice. You will need a student visa to return to the US if returning in F-1 or J-1 status.
    • F-2/J-2 dependents, if traveling separately from the F-1/J-1 visa holder, should bring a copy of the primary visa holder’s immigration documents (passport, visa, I-20 or DS-2019) 

    Renewing your US Visa

    • If your US visa has expired and you require a visa to return to the US, be sure to plan time accordingly. See Visa Wait Times.
    • Bring all required documents with you to your visa interview. Check the website of the US Embassy or Consulate where you will apply for your visa to see what documents are required. You may need to bring some of these from the United States, so be sure to plan ahead.
    • Answer all questions clearly and truthfully, and be prepared to answer questions about your studies in the US. Remember that as a non-immigrant visa applicant, you must also demonstrate that you have a residence in your home country that you do not intend to abandon. It is suggested that you bring documentary evidence that proves this to be true. 
    • Additional information is available on the Department of State website.

    Other Travel Reminders

    • If you are traveling to another country, check to see if you require a visa (or transit visa) to enter that country. Visa requirements are generally listed on the country's embassy website.
    • If you are bringing food or money back into the US, in some cases these must be declared at customs. For more information about entry into the United States, visit the Customs & Border Protection website.
    • Carry the documents listed above in your carry on luggage, as you will need them to get through customs upon entry into the US. If you forget your documents and are issued a form I-515 for temporary entry into the US, please schedule an appointment immediately with the GEC so we can assist you in resolving this.
    • Continue to check your Hamline email account while you are out of the country. Important information, including information that could affect your immigration status, will be communicated via email.