Before you travel outside the U.S., you are responsible for ensuring your visa and travel documents are valid in order to re-enter the U.S. and to continue your studies at UCI Division of Continuing Education.

Some countries require a visa or an in-transit visa for connecting flights. It is your responsibility to check visa requirements before you travel.

The following is a list of documents you will need to re-enter the United States:

  • Valid Passport (must be valid for at least six months beyond the date of re-entry into the U.S.)
  • Valid F-1 Visa (must be valid upon re-entry into the U.S.)
    • If you were approved for a CHANGE OF STATUS (COS) to F-1 status and do not have an F-1 visa in your passport, you must apply for and obtain an F-1 visa in your home country before re-entering the United States.
  • Valid I-20 with a Travel Signature
    • You must have a travel signature on page 2 of your I-20 from an International Student Advisor no older than one years old (no older than 6 months for OPT students)
    • OPT students must also have their OPT card and an employer offer letter upon re-entry to the U.S. if OPT has begun.

Sample of I-20 Page 2 Travel Endorsement Section:

Customs and Border Protection (CBP) also recommends that you have the following:

  • Evidence of financial resources
  • Evidence of student status (recent tuition receipts, I-901 SEVIS fee receipt, transcripts)
  • Name and contact information for the UCI Division of Continuing Education International Student Advisor who signed your I-20

A travel signature is not required if you are traveling within the United States, but we recommend you travel with your I-20 in case you are asked to present it at any time.

Traveling during the quarter

  • If you will miss class, you must contact your Academic Advisor for approval (at least 1 week before your trip). If you have an emergency trip, contact your Academic Advisor as soon as possible.
  • If you will not miss class, you do not need to contact your Academic Advisor and you do not need approval to travel from an International Student Advisor.

Traveling during the break in between quarters

  • Make sure you will not miss any classes or new program orientations.
  • If you are changing your program (i.e. certificate program) after the break, you must get your updated I-20 and a new travel signature before you depart the U.S.
  • When you return to UCI Division of Continuing Education:

Visa Revalidation

If your F-1 visa has expired, you may still travel to certain countries near the United States (Mexico, Canada or adjacent islands) and be allowed re-entry. Further guidance can be found at Department of State Travel - Automatic Revalidation Information.

You may only be outside of the United States for 30 days or less and the specific country you are visiting may have their own tourist visa requirements. Check with the consulate of the country you will be visiting for visa requirements.