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International Student Services: Current Students

How to Return to the United States in Valid F-1 Immigration Status after a Trip Abroad

  • Travel with a passport that will be valid for at least six months into the future on the day you return from your trip abroad.
  • Have your I-20 signed as needed (signatures are valid for six months).

If you are in F-1 status and travel abroad, we recommend that your I-20 be signed once each semester that you travel. If you do not travel abroad, it is not necessary to have the I-20 signed. You will need a new I-20 form only if any of the information has changed.

  • Have an unexpired F-1 visa stamp valid for further entries in your passport.
  • Carry recent financial documents.
  • If you are on Optional Practical Training, carry your EAD card and a letter from your employer.

International Students with F-1 status who will be leaving the United States and returning to continue in the same program at New Paltz should check the date of the last travel signature on page three of the I-20. If the signature is less than six months old, you will not need a new travel signature. If it is more than six months old, you will need to apply for a new travel signature.

To be eligible for a travel signature, you must be registered as a full-time student and you must be in good standing with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS). If you need a travel signature, come to the International Student office during walk-in hours: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday 12-2:30 p.m. Take your original I-20, your passport, and I-94 Card.

If you have not been a full-time student or if you have questions about your status with the USCIS, please make an appointment to speak with the International Student Adviser.

Obtaining a New Entry Visa

If you visit countries outside the United States, you must have a valid F-1 visa stamp in your passport to re-enter the U.S. If your visa is no longer valid, you must make an appointment at the nearest United States consulate or embassy in the country you are visiting to apply for a new visa stamp and show the following documents:

  • Valid passport
  • I-20 with recent travel signature
  • Financial documents
  • Status letter from the International Student Office 

If you need a status letter, please take your original I-20, your passport and I-94 card to the International Student office during walk-in hours: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday 12-2:30 p.m. 

It is likely that the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) officer will also want to review this documentation at the port of entry.

A Few Words of Advice

  • If you are unsure about your status, check with the International Student Adviser.