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Travel Seminar. Please bring your: I-20 or DS-2019 Passport Visa I-94 Proof of Health Insurance including Medical Evacuation and Repatriation Coverage. Travel Signature. A travel signature is provided on page 3 of the I-20 / Page 1 of the

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Travel seminar l.jpg

Travel Seminar

Please bring your:

I-20 or DS-2019




Proof of Health Insurance including Medical Evacuation and Repatriation Coverage

Travel signature l.jpg
Travel Signature

A travel signature is provided on page 3 of the I-20 / Page 1 of the

DS-2019 and is valid for re-entry within 1 year from the date it was

given or until the end date on your document (whatever is shorter)

  • Exception: 6 month validity during OPT

  • If you are concerned about your status, you may request a more current travel signature

    To obtain subsequent travel signatures, you may:

  • Attend the Travel Seminar at the Slutzker Center

  • Schedule an appointment to meet with the ESF Coordinator of Int’l Education

    You must bring the following documents to the seminar/


    • I-20 or DS-2019

    • Passport

    • Visa

    • I-94 card

    • Proof of current health insurance and medical evacuation & repatriation coverage

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    Travel Within the U.S.

    Law and immigration enforcement agents may randomly stop and

    question you during routine activities such as driving in your car or

    waiting for a bus at a bus station.

    Be prepared!

    • Carry original I-20 or DS-2019, passport, visa, and I-94 card

    • Carry your University ID card

    • If you are applying for a change of status, visa, or EAD card, carry your application receipt as proof of pending application

      Individuals without valid travel documents may be detained,

      arrested, threatened with deportation, and/or taken into

      Department of Homeland Security (DHS) custody.

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    Travel Outside the US: Special Registration (NSEERS)

    As part of the non-immigrant visa application process, consular

    officers at U.S. Embassies and Consulates are required to identify

    individuals who will have to follow the special registration

    requirements in the U.S..

    Further security checks after initial immigration inspection are

    typically required for:

    • Certain citizens or nationals of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Sudan and Syria, as designated by the DHA Secretary in the Federal Register

    • Males age 16-45 from Afghanistan, Algeria, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Indonesia, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Malaysia, Morocco, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Tunisia, the United Arab Emirates, and Yemen

    • Foreign nationals of any country may be asked by a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (USCBP) officer to undergo Special Registration if they feel they may be a national security threat

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    Travel to:Canada, Mexico, & Adjacent Islands

    *Travel documents for absence less than 5 months:

    • Passport—valid 6 months beyond your date of re-entry

    • U.S. visa

      • Automatic Visa Revalidation: You may be eligible to re-enter the U.S. from Canada, Mexico, or adjacent islands (not Cuba) on expired visa if:

        • you are in lawful status and not terminated in SEVIS;

        • your visit was 30 days or less;

        • you are not a citizen of “state sponsors of terrorism (Iran, Syria, Sudan, North Korea, Cuba); and

        • you did not just apply for a U.S. visa in Canada or Mexico and get denied

    • I-94 card

    • Valid, accurate I-20/ DS-2019 with current travel signature

    • May require an additional visa- consult Consulate prior to travel

      • Canada (Can apply via the mail or at the Canadian Consulate in Buffalo)

      • Mexico

        * Originals, not copies

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    Travel to:Canada, Mexico, & Adjacent Islands

    If you are exiting the U.S. and traveling to Canada, Mexico, or

    Adjacent Islands and:

    • are not an individual seeking a visa renewal;

    • have maintained your lawful non-immigrant status in the U.S.; and

    • intend to resume that status upon your return

      you should keep your I-94 card provided it is valid beyond the

      time of expected return to the United States.

      If you were previously required to do special registration and:

    • Exit and re-enter the U.S. by land:

      Stop on the U.S. side of the border at Customs and Border Protection

      to complete your registration procedure

    • Exit and re-enter the U.S. by air or sea:

      Complete the exit procedure at an approved U.S. departure port

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    Traveling Beyond North America

    *Travel Documents for absence less than 5 months:

    • Passport—valid 6 months beyond your date of re-entry

    • Valid U.S. Visa

    • I-94 card– Be sure to surrender your I-94 card when you exit.

      Failure to do so may effect your eligibility to re-enter the U.S..

    • Valid, accurate I-20/ DS-2019 with current travel signature

    • Transcript from Registrar’s Office (111 Bray Hall) and/or Letter of Registration

      (If you are traveling during the school year, you should obtain letter at the Registrar’s Office; If the spring semester is over and you are traveling over the summer, you should ask your academic department to issue a letter verifying your enrollment/progress towards your degree.)

    • Financial documentation

      e.g., bank statements, assistantship letter, tuition scholarship

    • License/University ID card/additional photo ID

      * Originals, not copies

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    Travel Documents (cont.)

    • Office of International Education contact information

      Carolyn Salter, (315) 470-6691

    • Additional visas may be necessary

      • Entry Visa (e.g., visitor, tourist)

        Some individuals visiting countries they are not citizens of must obtain a visa indicating the nature of their visit

      • Transit Visa (e.g., visitor in transit)

        Some individuals “transiting” into a country because travel requires an intermediate stop in a third country are required to obtain Transit Visas prior to traveling (there are sometimes exceptions for F-1 and J-1 students/scholars)

        - Change airports; Change airlines; Stay overnight in the airport

        Transit visas are commonly needed for travel through Europe (e.g., UK, France, Italy, Germany, Netherlands)

        Please consult the embassy prior to travel to determine if any

        visa(s) are necessary.

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    Airport Security Clearances

    Everyone who travels by air must go through a Federal

    Transportation and Security Administration (TSA) screening

    process prior to boarding the plane.

    • Travel documents are reviewed

      - Airline boarding pass and government-issued photo ID (e.g., passport); passport is reviewed if it is international travel

    • Individuals are screened through a metal detector

      - Must remove shoes, coat, metal objects

      - Lap tops are screened separately

      - If detector is set off, additional screening may be necessary

    • Checked and carry-on baggage is screened for prohibited items

      -Travel-size liquid-based toiletries (3 ounces or less) that fit comfortably

      in 1 QUART-SIZE, clear plastic, zip-top bag may now be brought in carry-on

      (e.g., toothpaste, mouthwash, shampoo, sunblock, perfume/cologne, liquid foundation)

      -After clearing security, travelers can bring beverages and other items purchased in

      the secure boarding area on-board aircraft.

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    Dependent Travel

    Dependents in F-2/J-2 status:

    • Should carry documents similar to those the primary F-1 student/J-1 exchange visitor carries when traveling

      - Valid visa - Valid passport

      - I-94 card -Valid 1-20/DS-2019 with current travel signature

      - If applied for OPT: Copy of primary’s I-20 endorsed for OPT and EAD

    • Should carry documentation that the primary is enrolled and maintaining their status

      - Transcript/ Letter of Enrollment/ Appointment Letter

    • Dependents are not required to travel with the F-1/J-1 primary

    • Dependents may remain in the U.S. without the primary as long as theF-1/J-1 maintains his/her current status and will return after a temporary absence using the same SEVIS ID number

      - If the F-1/J-1 primary will be outside the U.S. for 5 months or more, current

      status will be terminated and a new initial attendance I-20 will have to be

      issued for the primary and dependent(s)

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    U.S. VISIT Entry Procedures

    U.S. Visitor and Immigration Status Indicator Technology (US-

    VISIT) is a system for keeping records of the entry of non-

    immigrants traveling to the United States.

    Under US-VISIT Entry procedures,

    • Your passport and visa documents (including I-94 and I-20/ DS-2019) will be reviewed

    • At a minimum, an inkless finger-scanning of your left & right index finger will be conducted

      - Moving towards 10 fingerprint system

    • A digital photograph will be taken

    • You may be questioned about the purpose of your visit to the U.S.

      An entry confirmation will be added to your travel records to

      demonstrate compliance with the terms of your admission and to

      verify that you are the same person who received the visa you

      are utilizing to travel and enter the United States.

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    I-94 Card

    On the airplane, train, or ship/ at the U.S port of entry:

    Since you surrendered your I-94 card to exit the U.S., you will be

    given a new I-94 card to fill out. It is required to re-enter the U.S.

    Non-Immigrant Status

    • The immigration officer will stamp your I-94 card and note:

    • - Your non-immigrant status (F-1/ F-2/ J-1/ J-2)- The date of your entry - The authorized period you may stay in the U.S. (D/S) (Duration of Status)

    Please submit a copy of your new I-94 card to OIE every time you travel

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    Re-Entry Issues

    If the immigration officer reviewing your documents:

    • Does not stamp your I-94 card or new I-20/ DS-2019

    • Improperly marks your I-94 card or new I-20 / DS-2019

      politely inform the officer of this and ask for assistance.

      If the officer will not correct the issue, do not push the matter as

      you risk being issued an “expedited removal” which could result in

      a 5 year ban from entering the U.S..

      If you do not receive the proper markings, you must make

      an appointment to meet with the Coordinator of Int’l Education.

      She will help you to obtain the proper markings from an immigration officer at either:

    • The Hancock International Airport in Syracuse, or

    • Customs and Border Protection at the U.S. border

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    Re-Entry Issues (cont.)

    If there is a problem with your immigration documents, the

    immigration officer may give you a Form I-515A granting you

    lawful admission to the U.S. for 30 days and eligibility for all

    of the benefits associated with your status.

    In order to maintain status,within those 30 days you are required

    to meet with the Coordinator of Int’l Education and send the

    documents listed below to the address that is indicated on the

    back of the I-515A Form.

    • Completed Form I-515A

    • Your original I-20/ DS-2019 signed by the Coordinator of Int’l Education

    • Your original I-94 card

    Re applying for a u s visa l.jpg
    Re-Applying For a U.S. Visa

    Visa renewals should be applied for at the U.S. Consulate

    in your home country.

    • U.S. Department of State visa information sheets are available online.

      • F-1 students

      • J-1 exchange visitors

      • Procedures for visa applications at a specific foreign U.S. consulate can be obtained by selecting the appropriate embassy from the embassy list.

        Though not recommended, in some instances it is possible to apply for a U.S.

        visa in a third country such as Canada or Mexico. This is riskier and denials are

        more frequent.

    • Some U.S. Foreign Consulates will not accept renewal application from non-residents

      Consulates along the U.S. border no longer accept applications from non-resident third country nationals from Cuba, Iran, Iraq, Libya, North Korea, Sudan, and Syria

    • If you are denied, you must return home and re-apply for a visa and be approved in order to re-enter the U.S.

    Traveling to obtain a u s visa l.jpg
    Traveling to Obtain a U.S. Visa

    It is recommended that you schedule a visa appointment well in

    advance and prior to exiting the U.S..

    Be sure to check visa appointment waiting times at the consulate

    prior to traveling.

    Also, be sure to check the hours of operation as Consulates may

    close temporarily for breaks or holidays.

    If visa processing delays will interfere with your ability to resume

    your studies, it is advisable to cancel your travel plans since you

    may remain in the U.S. with an expired visa as long as you are

    maintaining your non-immigrant status.

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    Visa Renewal Security Clearances

    Individuals who are citizens of certain countries or with certain

    backgrounds may be subject to special security clearances that

    will lengthen the visa application processing time.

    • Security Check and Special Registration

      Individuals from countries identified by the U.S. Department of State as being state sponsors of terrorism or perceived to have nuclear capability. (Cuba, Libya, Iran, Iraq, North Korea, Sudan, Syria)

    • Background Check

      If you have ever been arrested, or if you have a name that is the same as or similar to someone who has been arrested

    • Technology Alert List (TAL)

      Students who are considered to be majoring in “sensitive areas of study” as determined by the U.S. government (e.g., physics) or from countries perceived to pose national security threats or nuclear capability (China, India, Israel, Pakistan, and Russia).A TAL delay can take several months to resolve.

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    Visa Application Requirements

    • Passport—valid 6 months beyond date of re-entry

    • Valid, accurate I-20 or DS-2019 with current travel signature

    • One current 2x2 photograph(passport-sized)

    • Completed visa application forms

      • Form DS-156 (Non-Immigrant Visa Application)

      • Form DS-158 (Contact Information and Work History for Non-Immigrant Visa Applicant)

        • The new DS-160 Online, Nonimmigrant Visa Electronic Application, will eventually replace current nonimmigrant application forms DS-156, 157, 158, and other related forms, such as the DS-156E and 156K. Some embassies have converted to the DS-160 Online process.

          Some Applicants:

          Also required to complete and sign Form DS-157

          Child Dependents:

          Required to submit additional form, even if they are included in a parent’s passport

    • Visa processing fee receipt or payment

    • I-901 SEVIS fee receipt or payment if for initial attendance(if applicable)

    • Embassy interview

    • Biometric procedures: Finger-scan and digital picture

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    Visa Application (cont.)

    Be prepared to also provide:

    • Transcript and Letter of Registration

    • Financial evidence indicating sufficient funds to cover tuition and living expenses during your program of study

      - e.g., bank statements, assistantship letter, tuition scholarship

    • Evidence of binding ties to your home country

      Applicants with dependents must also provide:

    • Proof of relationship to F-1/J-1 (e.g., marriage license, birth certificates)

      Applicants who may be subject to Technology Alert List (TAL):

    • Resume including research and presentations

    • Departmental letter of support noting relevance of study to TAL

      Landed Immigrant applying for a U.S. visa in Canada must provide

      evidence of:

    • Landed Immigrant status (e.g., Permanent resident/Maple Leaf card)

    • Established residency in Canada (e.g., home ownership, employment, family ties)

      It is not advisable to apply for a new U.S. visa in Canada if you cannot prove

      equally strong ties to Canada and your home country

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    Post-Completion Travel Advisories

    After completing an F-1 program you have 60 days to depart the

    U.S.; after completing a J-1 program you have 30 days to

    depart the U.S. This“grace period” to depart the U.S is intended

    for departure preparation and travel within the U.S .

    Travel and re-entry is not permitted during the exit grace period if:

    • You have not been accepted into a new program of study (e.g., Master’s, Ph. D.) and received an I-20/DS-2019 for the program from the college

    • You have not received (F-1) Optional Practical Training or (J-1) Academic Training Approval

    • You have not received a new visa for re-entry (e.g., B-2 tourist)

      If you have submitted an application for OPT (pending or approved) or have

      received Academic Training authorization and travel with an expired visa:

    • You must obtain a new visa while abroad in order to re-enter the U.S..

      Visa issuance for individuals on practical training can be problematic since it is

      more difficult to prove compelling ties to your home country because you are

      returning to the U.S. for employment and that may be interpreted as a desire to

      obtain H-1B or permanent resident status.

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    F-1: Post-Completion OPT Travel Info

    If OPT has been approved, also travel with the following


    • New, valid I-20 endorsed for OPT

    • I-20 with current travel signature (obtained within 6 months of date of re-entry)

    • Valid passport

    • (Valid) F-1 visa

    • Employment Authorization Card (EAD Card)

    • Letter from your employer verifying your employment status

      If OPT approval is pending, travel is not advised.

      If you chose to disregard this recommendation and travel, you must also carry the following documents:

    • New, valid I-20 endorsed for OPT

    • I-20 with current travel signature (obtained within 6 months of date of re-entry)

    • Valid passport

    • (Valid) F-1 visa

    • USCIS Service Center Receipt of OPT application

    • Letter from a U.S. employer indicating a job offer if you have received one

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    J-1: Post-Completion AT Travel Info

    If you plan to leave the U.S. after you complete your program

    of study and re-enter the country for J-1 academic training,

    you must apply for work authorization with the Coordinator of

    International Education prior to exiting the U.S..

    To re-enter the U.S. in J-1 student status, you must have:

    • Valid DS-2019 endorsed for Academic Training

    • DS-2019 with current travel signature (obtained within 6 months of date of re-entry)

    • (Valid) J-1 visa

    • Valid passport

    • A valid Academic Training Authorization Letter

    • Job offer letter from employer

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    Reminders & Travel Updates

    • OIE strongly recommends that you attend a travel seminar at the Slutzker Center for International Services prior to departing the U.S. since immigration regulations change frequently

    • Please submit copies of updated documents to OIE (e.g. new I-94 after travel, renewed passport, renewed visa)

    • Be sure to keep all immigration documents together in a safe place

    • Be aware of immigration document expiration dates and plan ahead to have them renewed or updated

    • Additional information on immigration issues is available on the OIE website: