International Travel

International students with F and J visas should be sure to check in with International Student Services before leaving the United States.

Travel at a glance:

  • Request a travel signature before leaving the U.S.
    • Request signature 1-2 weeks prior to travel
  • Travel signatures are valid for one year, but CBP recommends you to receive a fresh signature prior to each international travel
  • Check your visa expiration and make plans for visa renewal if necessary.
  • Graduates may not re-enter the US while on their grace period.

Re-Entry into the United States

Upon re-entry we advise you to bring a copy of the following:

  • I-20 signed for travel
  • Passport valid for at least 6 months in the future with unexpired visa (unless eligible for automatic revalidation)
  • Proof of registration for the current or following semester, as applicable
  • Financial support documents, typically the same as those provided during the original visa interview
  • I-901 SEVIS Fee Receipt, available at fmjfee.com
  • An acceptance letter or recent tuition payment receipt
  • A designated school official’s name and contact information
  • Recommended- Copy of transcript

Additional information for port of entry:

  • For an emergency at port-of-entry, call UALR Public Safety. They will transfer you to an international advisor if needed: 501-569-3400
  • If the border patrol issues you any documentation (I-515) be sure to bring it to ISS at your earliest convenience so we can respond
  • The I-94 is now electronic. You will not receive an I-94 at the port-of-entry

Upon return check in with International Student Services only if you received:

  • A new visa
  • A new SEVIS record
  • An I-515 at the port-of-entry

Renewing Visa

If your visa has expired, you may need to renew your visa while you are outside of the United States. (See the section on Automatic Revalidation for information on travel not requiring a visa renewal.) Visa renewal is recommend from your home country, but in certain circumstances you may also be able to renew your visa from another country. On the Travel Signature Request Form, you can indicate whether you need a visa renewal letter. An international student advisor will give you a letter verifying your academic progress to assist you at the consulate. If you are in valid F or J status, visa denials are rare, but must be considered when making plans to travel outside the country.

We recommend that you bring the following to your visa interview.

  • Transcript verifying academic progress up-to-date
  • Proof of registration for the current or following semester, as applicable
  • Recent tuition payment receipt
  • I-20 signed for travel
  • Optional- Visa renewal letter from International Student Services

Automatic Revalidation in Border Countries

Students with an expired F or J visa taking a trip of less than 30 days to Canada, Mexico, or Adjacent Islands may be eligible for automatic revalidation. This means that you would not be required to renew your visa if you were outside the US for less than 30 days. Citizens of certain countries are not eligible for this benefit (including Cuba, Iran, Syria, and Sudan). On the Travel Signature Request Form, you can indicate where you are traveling and what is the duration of your travels and an international student advisor will issue a letter for you to use at the port of entry.

Learn more about international travel while on OPT.

Learn more about travel when transferring to a new university.