If you are planning to travel outside the U.S., please remember to do the following before you leave:
1. Determine if you will need a visa for countries other than your own.
2. Obtain a travel endorsement (signature) from International Education & Programs.
3. Check your passport validity.
4. Check your visa validity.
To facilitate entry into Canada or Mexico as a visitor, you must carry all the documents listed above except for valid F-1 visa stamp for some students, and the I-94 departure card.
In addition, a visitor's visa may be required depending on your country of citizenship. F-1 students or their dependents that are planning a trip to Canada or Mexico should contact the respective consulate offices to determine whether a visitor's visa to the country is needed prior to your trip.
Mexican Consulate: http://www.sre.gob.mx/nuevayork/
If you travel to Canada, Mexico or the adjacent islands of the Caribbean, other than Cuba, for 30 days or less, you may be eligible to re-enter the U.S. without a valid U.S. visa stamp in your passport.
This benefit also applies to individuals who have changed non-immigrant status in the U.S., whose visa is in the category in which they entered the U.S. (the visa is considered "converted" as well as "extended").
This procedure is not available to nationals of Iraq, Cuba, Sudan, Iran, Libya, Syria and North Korea.
Note: If you choose to apply for a visa renewal while visiting a neighboring country and are denied, you will not be eligible for the automatic revalidation benefit, but you will need to apply again from your home country.
In order to re-enter the U.S. after a temporary absence (not exceeding 5 months) you must carry the following documents:
The U.S.-VISIT Program is operational at most major U.S. airports and seaports and tracks foreign students to the U.S. through the use of biometrics (measurable, physical characteristics used to recognize identities such as fingerprints and facial features).
When students and their dependents in F status enter the U.S., immigration officers continue to review their travel documents (i.e. passport, I-20, visa, etc.) In addition, they take the non-immigrants' fingerprints (with ink-less fingerprint scanner) and a digital photograph of their face.
When non-immigrants depart the U.S., they are required to "check-out" at an exit kiosk at the port of departure. The exit procedures have not been fully implemented. Non-immigrants are expected to complete the exit procedures where the exit kiosks and attendants are available in some major U.S. ports.
Whether you are traveling within the State of New York or elsewhere in the U.S., be sure to carry proof of your identity and immigration status at all times. This includes: 1) a valid passport 2) a valid I-20 and 3) the I-94 departure card.
Note: We generally do not recommend carrying your passport and other original documents on a daily basis; however, if you are traveling outside of the immediate Potsdam, NY area you should carry your original documents, not photocopies. Unfortunately, a state driver's license or state ID is not an acceptable form for federal identification purposes.
Adapted from Washington State University's "Travel Guidelines for F-1 Students."