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Travel Abroad

  • Specific documents and signatures (contact GEO) are needed in order to return to the U.S. even if you will only leave the U.S. for a brief period of time.

  • If you plan to travel out of the U.S. for an extended period of time (more than 5 months), you must come in to speak with a GEO advisor about requirements and options.

  • If you plan to travel out of the US for a short visit and return to study, please make sure you are aware of all the documents you need for re-entry to the US and whether or not you need a valid visa to return.

  • If you will need to apply for a new visa while outside of the U.S., you must plan enough time to obtain the visa while you are abroad.

  • If you are traveling internationally then make sure you take pre cautions of your electronical data e.g. (phones,computers,tablets,etc.) For more information visit: https://www.eff.org/wp/digital-privacy-us-border-2017
  • For FAQ, Please visit U.S. Immigration Website for Travel

While on Student Visa

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Students on F or J Visas and their dependents MUST present the following documents to reenter after any departure outside the U.S.:

  1. SEVIS Form I-20/DS-2019, endorsed for travel by an international advisor at UNM within the last six months.

  2. A valid passport (must be valid for at least 6 months into the future).

  3. A valid F or J visa stamp. If you are traveling to Canada or Mexico for less than 30 days and not applying for a visa while there, you may be able to travel with an expired visa (ask an advisor for details).

REMEMBER: You have requested GEO to endorse your I-20/DS-2019 for travel; our signature confirms that you are maintaining legal status. It is the individual’s responsibility to confirm the visa and passport are valid for reentry to the U.S. If you have questions about this handout, be sure to consult with an international advisor to ensure understanding of the rules before you travel outside the U.S.

While on OPT

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F-1 students who have graduated and are on authorized OPT must present the following documents to reenter after any departure outside the US:

  1. SEVIS Form I-20, endorsed for travel by an international advisor at UNM within the last six months.

  2. Employment Authorization Document (EAD).  Note that the EAD card says “not valid for travel” on the face of the card.  This means that you cannot use the EAD alone to reenter the US, but must also have the signed I-20 and a letter of employment.

  3. Valid passport.

  4. Valid F-1 visa stamp (if you are traveling to Canada or Mexico for less than 30 days and not applying for a visa while there, you may be able to travel with an expired visa - ask an advisor for details).

  5. Documentation or letter from your OPT employer, showing that you are working for them on OPT.

Below is a list of documents F-2 dependents must have to reenter the US if they are traveling without the student.

  1. SEVIS Form I-20, endorsed for travel by an international advisor at UNM within the last six months.

  2. Copy of the F-1 student (spouse/parent) SEVIS Form I-20 showing authorized OPT.

  3. Copy of the F-1 student’s Employment Authorization Document (EAD).

  4. Valid passport.

  5. Valid F-2 visa stamp (if you are traveling to Canada or Mexico for less than 30 days and not applying for a visa while there, you may be able to travel with an expired visa -ask an advisor for details).

  6. Documentation or letter from the F-1 student’s OPT employer, showing that the F-1 student is working on OPT.

Remember: You have requested GEO to endorse your I-20 for travel; our signature confirms that you are maintaining legal status. If you do not have all of these documents, you should not travel out of the country or you risk not being able to reenter to participate in optional practical training.  Traveling outside the US is not recommended if your F-1 visa has expired; a new one is required in order to reenter the US. Be sure to consult with an international advisor when contemplating travel outside the US and reentry to continue OPT.