Travel Issues

  • Until the student's graduation date
    Students will travel as they always have, as a student, even if they have filed for OPT*. The documents to travel with are:
    • Valid passport
    • Valid (unexpired) F-1 visa stamp in passport
    • I-20 (endorsed for travel by OIS) on page 3 of the I-20 (Signature must be less than 6 months old.)

    *Filing for OPT has NO effect on your ability to travel before your graduation date.

  • After the student's graduation date
    Students will transition from an F-1 student status to a status of an F-1 doing OPT. This means they must present to the border officials all the documents listed ABOVE that they carried as a student as well as:
    • EAD Card (says “Not Valid for Re-entry” since card must be presented with ABOVE documents. Alone, it does not suffice.) [8 CFR 214.2 (f) (13) (ii)].
    • Proof of current employment or job letter [http://www.ice.gov/sevis/travel/faq_f2.htm] Item 2.O
Students are STRONGLY advised not to depart the United States before they receive the actual EAD card in hand to take with them for travel after their graduation date.

Please note: Students will still need to request a travel signature while on OPT. If you cannot drop-off your I-20 to OIS, please mail it, along with a self-addressed, stamped return envelope, and the OIS request form to the address below. Processing time is 4 business days.