There are many things to consider prior to traveling as an F-1 or J-1 student. This section covers the basics on first time travel to the United States. Information on departure from the U.S., visa renewal and coming back to the U.S. in your student status and other related topics are also addressed.
Please consult the International Student Advisors in OISS for further information.
F-1 and J-1 Travel
Are you traveling overseas? To re-enter the United States, you will need the following:
- Valid I-20 or DS-2019 recently endorsed with signature from OISS. You must bring your I-20/DS-2019 to OISS for travel signature. Travel signatures take 24 hours, so plan ahead.
Valid visa stamp in passport. Check the expiration date. If expired, you must renew at a U.S. Consulate or Embassy. (Please note, if you have been outside of the United States for 5 months or longer and your F-1 or J-1 visa is still valid ie. unexpired, you may need a NEW visa according to a recent State Department rule. Please check with the nearest U.S. consulate to determine if your visa is still valid for entry to the US.)
- Valid Passport: Passport must be valid for at least 6 months from the intended date of entry into the U.S. If your passport is valid for less than 6 months, then we recommend that you renew your passport or run the risk of being denied entry into the U.S.
- Beginning April 30th, 2013 U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) will no longer provide paper I-94 cards at the Port of Entry (except in limited circumstances). For details, visit: I-94 Newsflash
If you have any questions before you depart the U.S., please contact OISS.
Visa Stamp Renewal
- Visit the U.S. Embassy/Consulate web site for a list of required documents, forms, and further instructions on how to renew your visa. Please be aware that each consulate may require different information and have specific application procedures.
- If allowed, schedule a visa appointment in advance with the U.S. Embassy/Consulate.
- To locate your embassy/consulate, please visit: http://www.usembassy.gov.
To renew your visa stamp you will need the following documents:
- Valid passport (at least 6 months into the future from the date of re-entry).
- I-20 or DS-2019 signed by OISS no more than 6 months from the date of re-entry. Please verify that all I-20/DS-2019 information is accurate and up-to-date (especially funding information).
- Updated funding documentation matching the information displayed on your I-20/DS-2019.
Common Documents Consulates can request:
- Transcripts from MSU Registrar. If you have been dual enrolled with another institution such as Lansing Community College (LCC), you must also have transcripts from the other institution's Registrar.
- Proof of past/present/future MSU enrollment (e.g. transcripts, StuInfo print out, Registrar's Office Certificate of Enrollment).
- Current financial proof (e.g. copy of bank statement, assistantship offer letter, etc)
Student verification letter from OISS.
- All previous I-20s or DS-2019s.
For more information, please visit the travel section or consult with an OISS advisor.
U.S. Embassies and Foreign Embassies
Travel to Canada, Mexico, and the Caribbean Islands
Traveling to MSU and the U.S.
Other travel-related info
- Canadian Embassies and Consulates
- Obtaining a U.S. Visa for a third country national
- Helpful hints to invite parents and/or other relatives to the U.S. (PDF)*
- Travel information for Scholars
*Adobe Acrobat Reader is required to read PDF documents.