Necessary Travel Documents
- I-20 Form: Be certain that your I-20 is properly endorsed by an International Student Advisor at CIPS. The advisor's signature is required on page 3 of the I-20. The signature is technically valid for one year, except when you travel to Canada, Mexico or one of Caribbean Islands (except Cuba) or when you are engaged in Optional Practical Training. In these cases, your I-20 must be signed within 6 months prior to your planned reentry date to the U.S.
- Original copies of previous I-20's: You should carry all the original copies of I-20's issued for you during your stay in the U.S.
- Valid passport
- Valid entry visa stamp: Be certain that your entry visa is still valid! You should check the expiration date of the U.S. visa stamp in your passport. Students from certain countries may have a single entry or limited numbers of entries allowed. If you obtained a new passport that does not contain a visa stamp, make sure that you carry both the new passport and the old passport which bears your U.S. entry visa stamp.
- Employment Authorization Document ("EAD Card"): If you are currently engaged in Optional Practical Training, you need to present your EAD card at the port of entry along with your passport and I-20 and proof of employment.
Visa Application Information
If your U.S. visa stamp has expired, you will need to apply for a new entry visa stamp at the U.S. embassy or consulate overseas, most likely in your home country. Be sure to contact the local U.S. consulate or embassy first to find out the necessary procedure and the approximate processing time. You must plan carefully and allow yourself ample time.
The following documents are required:
- Proof of Enrollment: May be requested at CIPS. It takes at least 5 business days to process. You may also request an Enrollment Verification Form at Registrar's Office.
- Official Transcript - May be requested at the Registrar's Office.
- Proof of funding - You must present proof of sufficient funds to support yourself and dependents, if any, for at least one academic year.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has introduced an additional security measure, called the "U.S.-VISIT" program. All visitors to the United States will have two fingerprints scanned by an inkless device and a digital photo taken by an immigration officer upon their arrival at a U.S. port of entry (airport or seaport). DHS will store the information and share it with selected law-enforcement agencies on a need-to-know basis. In the future, most visitors will be required to verify their departure as well.