Studying in America and Canada

Can I travel outside the United States?

Students may leave the United States and be readmitted after absences of five months or less. Upon your return to the United States, you should provide immigration inspectors with:

  • A valid passport.
  • A valid F-1 entry visa stamped in the passport (if necessary).
  • A current INS Form I-20 ID (Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant F-1 Student Status for Academic Students) signed by your appropriate school official. Note: you should have the appropriate school official sign your INS Form I-20 each time you wish to temporarily travel outside the United States.
  • A new INS Form I-20 A-B/I-20 ID if there have been any substantive changes in your course of study or place of study.
  • Proof of your financial support.

When making your travel plans, remember that you must be a full-time student to keep your F-1 student status. You will be considered to be "in status" if you take the annual summer vacation, as long as you are eligible and intend to register for the next school term.

How can I get INS forms?

You should be able to pick up immigration-related forms from your designated school official (DSO). Only your DSO can give you an INS Form I-20 (Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant F-1 Student Status for Academic Students) or an INS Form I-538 (Certification By Designated School Official). If you would like other immigration forms, you may call 1-800-870-3676 in the US, or submit a request through forms by mail system. For further information on filing fees, see INS filing fees, fee waiver request procedures, and the INS fee waiver policy memo.

Can anyone help me?

Your school will have a designated school official (DSO) to help you with immigration issues. Note that you (the F-1 student) are solely responsible for following U.S. immigration laws.

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