A plane flying over some palm trees

F-1 and J-1 visa holders and their dependents wishing to travel outside the United States must make an appointment with OISS before leaving the country.

In order to re-enter the country, F-1 and J-1 visa holders need the following:

  • Valid Passport
  • Valid F-1/J-1 Visa
  • Current Travel Signature on I-20/DS-2019

Note: LMU students and scholars requesting a travel signature must complete and submit a Travel Signature Request Form. This form is available online and must be accompanied by verification of enrollment from PROWL.

What to do if you get an I-515A

If you did not receive a travel signature, or have an older version of your I-20, you may receive what's called Form I-515A.  Please read what to if you receive an I-515A to see what the Form I-515A is, and what to do if you receive one.

Invitation Letter

Having family or friends visiting?  We've created this template you can use that might help with the visa process (this does not guarantee a visa).  Please fill in the information, and send the letter to the person(s) you are inviting.

Visits to Canada and Mexico

Before leaving the United States to travel to Mexico or Canada, make sure that you have the proper documents to travel in those countries, and the proper documents to return to the US.

Necessary Documents

International students must have these necessary documents to travel:

  • Valid passport
  • I-94 form with D/S
  • SEVIS I-20 or SEVIS DS-2019 recently signed for travel

To determine if persons from your country need a visa to visit Mexico or Canada, check with the Mexican or Canadian Consulates in Los Angeles.

Automatic Visa Revalidation

Generally, it is not necessary to have a valid US visa for re-entry to the US if you stay in Mexico or Canada for 30 days or less. The visa is considered automatically revalidated if all required papers are in order. Border Officials at the San Diego-Tijuana border now require students to have a valid visa if their SEVIS I-20 or SEVIS DS-2019 is not stamped with the red entry stamp. Students whose SEVIS I-20 or SEVIS DS-2019 does not have the red entry stamp should consult with OISS before visiting Mexico.

Re-Validation Exceptions

Please note that the Automatic Visa Revalidation does not apply to the following persons:

  • All persons traveling on passports issued by Iraq, Iran, Syria, Libya, Sudan, North Korea, and Cuba
  • All persons who visit a US consulate in Canada, Mexico, or adjacent islands and submit an application there for a new non-immigrant visa.

Note: Please note that under this second provision, if you travel to Canada, for example, with an expired visa stamp in your passport and apply for a new visa at a U.S. consulate you will only be able to return to the United States if your new visa is granted. If your visa application is denied, you will not be able to return to the United States. In the event of visa denial in Canada (or in Mexico or the adjacent islands), you will have to travel to another U.S. embassy or consulate, probably one in your home country, to apply for a new visa there.