Departure and Re-entry Rules and Information

Form I-94, Arrival/Departure Record

Form I-94 is proof of your legal admission to the United States. Please print your I-94 Arrival/Departure Record and carry it at all times. You are issued a new I-94 each time you enter the country.  

Current students need these documents to re-enter the US:

  • Valid, unexpired visa (except for Canadian Citizens). Learn how to renew your visa.
  • Valid, unexpired passport. Always be sure your passport is valid for at least six months into the future. Depending on your country, you might be able to extend your passport here in the US. Or you might have to go home to do it. Get more details from the US Department of State
  • Valid, unexpired I-20 or DS-2019 form.
  • I-20 or DS-2019 signed for travel by an IPS advisor within six months of your return date.
  • Dependent I-20’s or DS-2019’s and passports (if applicable).
  • Optional travel support letter from IPS.

To renew your visa, complete and submit the online Travel Support Letter Request Form. We will let you know when your letter is ready. Normal processing time is at least two days.

You Need to Know:

  • If you graduated and are in your grace period, and depart the US for any reason, such as a cruise, the grace period automatically ends. You cannot re-enter the US.
  • I-20s automatically expire for students with F-1 visas if they are outside the US for longer than five months—regardless of the date of the travel signature. You need to pay a new SEVIS fee and get a new I-20.

If you Forget your I-20 or DS-2019 Form:

IPS can mail your I-20/DS-2019 before you enter the US. Contact us at or 906-487-2160. You have to pay the extra mailing fee if your I-20/DS-2019 needs to be express-delivered.

If you do not have the I-20/DS-2019 when you enter the US, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) issue Form I-515A. With Form I-515A CBP also gives you Form I-94, Arrival/Departure Record, allowing you 30 days from your entry date to provide SEVP the necessary documentation to prove lawful entry. Contact IPS immediately for assistance.

Travel to/from Canada or Mexico and Automatic Revalidation

Every country has its own entry requirements, which can vary greatly. Complete the requirements on time. Review information about traveling to and from Canada or Mexico. Most F-1 and J-1 students can travel to Canada, Mexico, and the adjacent Caribbean Islands and re-enter the United States on an expired visa, but only if their stay is less than 30 days. This brief travel makes you eligible for automatic revalidation when you re-enter the U.S.: CPB Automatic Visa Revalidation Information. Students and scholars who travel to Mexico or the Caribbean by cruise ship must contact the cruise line before they buy a cruise package. Find out if the cruise line recognizes automatic revalidation and will allow you to return to the US without a valid F-1/ J-1 visa.

Travel Tips within the United States

  • Students traveling within the US should carry your visa, passport, I-20 or DS-2019, and printed copy of I-94
  • Traveling while on CPT/OPT students should carry your visa, passport, I-20, EAD card (where applicable), and printed copy of I-94

Travel Tips

  • Online flight check-in is fastest and easiest. Check in at home and print your boarding pass. In some cities, you can have a link to your boarding pass emailed to your mobile device, then show your boarding pass barcode on your device screen at the security checkpoint and when boarding. You can check-in starting 24 hours before the scheduled departure. You will be notified if your flight changes or is canceled. The airline will help you book a new flight if needed.
  • If you fly from Houghton County Memorial Airport, install the United app on your mobile device to book and check flight status and other conditions. Weather often affects flight schedules.
  • Join Stuck Huskies on Facebook, where you can post on either if you need a ride, can give a ride, or will go in on a rental car, for example, if a flight from Chicago to Houghton has been canceled check with the Huskies pool resources to carpool back to Houghton.
  • Make and carry in a separate safe place a copy of your passport biographic page, US visa and admission stamp, or paper Form I-94.
  • If your passport is lost or stolen, contact your embassy or consular section for the country of your citizenship to find out how to replace it.
  • Contact Michigan Tech Public Safety or go to your local police station to report lost or stolen documents.

When Family Travels

F-2 or J-2 spouses and minor children who are not accompanied by the F-1 or J-1 student must have:

  • Valid and unexpired passport
  • Valid and unexpired US visa stamp (except for Canadian citizens)
  • Valid separate Form I-20 or DS-2019
  • Evidence of financial support for dependent(s)