International Student and Scholar Services
Travel for F-1 Students
Traveling within the U.S.
- Carry a copy of your current I-20 or DS-2019 and your passport.
- You likely will not be required to present it, however you will be asked to present it if you are detained by an immigration officer for any reason.
- Be prepared to present an official picture ID such as a driver's license, ID card or passport when traveling by plane or train.
- Carry your passport or copies of all immigration documents and a state ID when visiting U.S. airports (even if not traveling).
- Keep your passport valid for 6 months into the future at all times.
Traveling outside the U.S.
Documents to carry with you:
- I-20 (F-1) or DS-2019 (J-1) with valid travel signature/endorsement*
- Travel signatures are on page 2 of the I-20 or page 1 of the DS-2019.
- Current students: Travel signatures are valid for 1 year or until your program end date, whichever comes first.
- OPT/STEM OPT students: Travel signatures are valid for 6 months during Optional Practical Training (OPT).
- Travel signatures are required for re-entry to the U.S. They are not required for departure.
- Valid passport (valid for 6 months into the future on date of re-entry).
- Valid United States visa (exceptions to Canada/Mexico/Islands for 30 days or less).
- Proof of enrollment past and future (recommended).
- If you have optional practical training status, also carry your Employment Authorization card and proof of employment.
- If you changed immigration status while in the U.S., carry change of status approval notice (I-797).
*To obtain a travel signature:
- Request your travel signature from the Center for International Studies at least 3 weeks before you depart. Please allow 5-7 business days to process your request.
- To request a travel signature:
- By e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Subject: I-20 (or DS-2019) Travel Signature
- Text: Last name, First name, Tech ID, SEVIS identification (ID) number, personal email, and include expected travel dates.
- In-person: Visit the CIS Front Desk in Lawrence Hall Room 101. If you have your latest I-20 or DS-2019, please submit with the travel signature request. If you require a new one, please request a reprint with travel signature.
- New I-20s or DS-2019s will be sent by e-mail. Please print the new document and sign it in blue ink on page 1 for official use.
- Check to see if the countries you are visiting require you to obtain a visa (e.g. transit visa).
- If your visa has expired, you will need to apply for a new U.S. visa at a U.S. Consulate/Embassy abroad. Plan your time accordingly.
- For information on visa renewal and visa questions visit the Department of State travel page.
- Surrender your I-94 card when leaving the U.S. (exceptions to Canada/Mexico/Islands for 30 days or less).
- Government resources provides additional information.
Key points for travelers
- Check your St. Cloud State University email while you are away. All university notices, including information that could affect your immigration status, will be communicated via email.
- Make certain there are no holds on your student account.
- Carry your insurance card with you inside and outside of the U.S. If you have never received one, contact the Medical Clinic at 320-308-3191.
Carry the St. Cloud State University Emergency Contact Card for International Students. It is available at the Center for International Studies front desk.
If you need of assistance while traveling, you may contact St Cloud State’s Public Safety ANY time of the day or night at 320-308-3333. Public Safety will accept collect calls (reverse charge), both local and international.
- In the U.S., you must dial ‘0’ for the operator from a landline phone and ask to make a collect call.
- To make an international collect call, you must ask the phone operator in the country you are calling from to make the call for you.