Traveling Abroad for F-1 Visa Holders

(Except for Canada, Mexico, or the adjacent islands for which different rules apply)

If you are a student holding an F-1 visa and you plan to travel abroad or to your home country, in order to be readmitted to the US you need to present to the Immigration Officer, at the port of entry, the following documents:

  1. Valid Passport. It must be valid for at least 6 months when you enter the US.
  2. Valid American F-1 Visa. A valid F-1 visa stamped in your passport. If you need to apply for a new visa, bring proof of financial support and your I-20 form to the American Consulate or Embassy. A current photograph will also be necessary when applying for a visa.
  3. Valid I-20. A new I-20 or page 3 of your I-20 which has been signed by one of the advisors in the International Students Office within the last year.
  4. Documentation of Financial Support (award letters, letters from departments, bank letters, etc.)
  5. Documentation of MIT enrollment (letter from department, unofficial transcript, MIT ID card, etc.)
  6. Form I-901 (SEVIS Fee) Receipt

Please be advised that entry into the US is at the sole discretion of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (USCBP) Officer at the U.S. Port-of-Entry. Also, please be aware that since the passage of the Immigration Act of 1996 it has become extremely hard to receive a new US visa in a third country.

Special Cases:

  1. Students who have changed their visa type while in the US, if you decide to travel outside of the US after the change of status has been approved, you must apply for a new entry visa at the American Consulate or Embassy in the country you are visiting.
  2. Students who are married to American Citizens or Permanent Residents, and students who have been included in a petition for permanent residency, please make an appointment to talk with one of the International Student Advisors before you finalize plans for your trip.
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