Travel Information - Re-entry to the U.S.

Travel and Re-entry to the U.S.

Travel information for the following statuses can be found on this page:

F-1 Students and J-1 Students and Scholars Traveling Outside of the U.S.

Students and scholars traveling outside the U.S. who intend to return to resume their F-1 or J-1 status are required to carry the following documents* with them when entering the U.S. Do not place these documents in your checked luggage!

  • Valid Passport: Your passport must be valid at least six months into the future at all times, especially upon entry or re-entry to the U.S.

  • Valid Visa: The F or J visa stamp in your passport should be valid on the date of your return to the U.S. (It does not, however, need to remain valid during your stay in the U.S.) If you have an old, expired passport with a valid U.S. entry visa, you do not need to get a new visa stamp in your new passport as long as you carry both passports when you enter the U.S. Canadian citizens are exempt from the visa requirement.

    If you need to renew or apply for a U.S. entry visa, expect delays if you are required to attend an in-person interview at the consulate, particularly during the holiday season. In addition, "security checks" can delay visa issuance for several weeks. Graduate students and scholars should notify their academic departments accordingly prior to their anticipated trip. 

  • Valid I-20 or DS-2019: Those who are re-entering the U.S. must make sure their Form I-20 or DS-2019 has been PROPERLY ENDORSED (signed within one year of your intended re-entry date) by the school official or agency that issued the document. (Those on F-1 OPT must have the endorsement within past six months). If Brown University issued your immigration document, please bring it to OISSS for endorsement.

*SPECIAL NOTE: Students who do not meet these requirements may be denied re-entry into the U.S.

OISSS also recommends that students and scholars carry the following documentation:
  • Evidence of Financial Support: OISSS recommends that F/J nonimmigrants carry proof of the financial support and resources reflected on their Form I-20 or DS-2019.
  • Evidence of Current Semester's Enrollment (Student): F-1 and J-1 students should carry a letter certifying active student status and enrollment. The letter can be obtained from the Brown Registrar's Office in J. Walter Wilson, 3rd Floor.
  • Evidence of Valid Appointment with Brown University (Scholar):  J-1 Scholars should carry their official Brown University appointment letter.


Additional Information for F-1 and J-1 Students Pursuing Post-Completion Employment

In ADDITION to the above documentations, OISSS also recommends that students travel with the following:

  • F-1 students on post-completion OPT or STEM OPT** should carry the Employment Authorization Document (EAD) and an employment verification or offer letter from the current or prospective employer in addition to above mentioned items.
  • J-1 students on post-completion Academic Training** should carry extended DS-2019 with Academic Training notation and an employment verification or offer letter from the current or prospective employer.

**SPECIAL NOTE: If you travel outside the U.S. after completion of studies, you must re-enter in the appropriate F-1 or J-1 status; otherwise your OPT, STEM OPT or Academic Training authorization will end. We encourage you to consult with an OISSS advisor when contemplating travel outside the U.S. during OPT.


H-1B and O-1 Scholars

  •  Valid Passport: Your passport must be valid at least six months into the future at all times, especially upon entry or re-entry to the U.S.
  • Valid Visa: The F or J visa stamp in your passport should be valid on the date of your return to the U.S. (It does not, however, need to remain valid during your stay in the U.S.) If you have an old, expired passport with a valid U.S. entry visa, you do not need to get a new visa stamp in your new passport as long as you carry both passports when you enter the U.S. Canadian citizens are exempt from the visa requirement.

    If you need to renew or apply for a U.S. entry visa, expect delays if you are required to attend an in-person interview at the consulate, particularly during the holiday season. In addition, "security checks" can delay visa issuance for several weeks. Scholars should notify their supervisors accordingly prior to their anticipated trip. 

  • A Valid I-797 Approval Notice issued by USCIS.  H-1B and O-1 scholars will want to travel with their most recent I-797 approval notice showing the validity dates of their O-1 or H-1B status.


Special Circumstances

In the following cases, consult with an OISSS adviser at least two weeks before departure if:

  • You will need to renew/apply for a new visa. Be mindful of possible processing delays due to applicable security clearances in the sciences.
  • You will be out of the U.S. for more than five months.
  • You are planning to travel to Mexico or Canada to renew or change the U.S. entry visa.
  • Your I-20 or DS-2019 has expired or will expire within 30 days of your expected return to the U.S.
  • You have ever applied for U.S. legal permanent resident status (green card).