International students must have a valid stamp in their passport to be eligible for entry or re-entry to the United States (There are some exceptions for travel to Canada, Mexico or an adjacent island for less than 30 days). If your F-1 or J-1 entry visa has expired or will expire prior to your return, you must apply for a new visa at a US consulate abroad before you return. It is not possible to renew your visa from within the United States. For visa wait-times, please review the U.S. Department of State website.
You will need the following documents to re-enter the U.S. to continue your studies.
- Valid and unexpired passport,
- Valid and unexpired I-20 form for F-1 students, or valid and unexpired DS-2019 form for J-1 students, signed for travel by an IPS advisor within 6 months of your return date
- If you are an F-1 student on OPT after graduating, also bring your EAD card and job offer letter
- Evidence of financial funding (bring a copy of whatever funding is listed on your I-20 or DS-2019: graduate assistantship funding letter, bank statements of personal funds, affidavit of financial support, etc.)
- Unofficial copy of Michigan Tech transcripts
- Proof of Enrollment for the next semester from Office of Student Records and Registration (if you are returning to complete your degree).
- Dependent I-20’s or DS-2019’s and passports (if applicable)
- Travel letter issued by IPS stating that you are maintaining your F-1 or J-1 student status at Michigan Tech.
We hope all international students are successful in their visa applications at US Consulates abroad. However, students may encounter some difficulties which could cause delays or denials of visa applications. These difficulties may include:
- Security Clearances – Because of heightened security concerns, the number of security checks done for U.S. visa applications has increased. There is no way to know for certain ahead of time whether you will be delayed by one of these security checks. We do know that students from certain countries, students with a criminal history, or students studying a highly technical or “sensitive” subject are more likely to need a "security advisory opinion" to be completed prior to being granted a visa. If you are studying or doing research in a field that might be of concern, it would be advisable to get a letter from a professor which describes briefly and in layman's terms the specific area of your study or research. This letter will not deter a security clearance, but it may speed up the process if you are subject to one. If you have any concerns or questions about your study or research area, or you want to know which countries are subject to increased scrutiny, come to the IPS office for more information, or visit the U.S. Department of State website
- Demonstrating "Non-Immigrant Intent" – you may be required to demonstrate your intent to return to your home country following the completion of your studies. There are several ways you can be prepared to support your intent to return home: 1) have a few sentences in mind that express how you intend to use your degree or research at home after your finish your program; 2) bring copies of deeds to any property that you or your family owns in your home country; 3) bring bank statements for any accounts that you or your family maintain in your home country; 4) if you have an employer who intends to employ you when you return home, bring a letter from that employer.
- Interviews Required for Visa Applications – regulations governing visa applications require that U.S. consulates interview nearly all international students applying for non-immigrant visa stamps. Only in rare situations will an applicant be able to get a visa without the interview. The requirement for the interview will mean that you may have longer delays in getting an appointment at the U.S. consulate than you have in the past.