F-1 Travel Outside the United States
Before an F-1 student travels outside the United States, certain documents need to be checked to verify eligibility to re-enter the U.S. The F-1 student must have a valid form I-20 with a current travel endorsement signed by a DSO at the Office of International Affairs (OIA). This endorsement is needed even if the student will be out of the U.S. for only a few hours. The student must also have a valid F-1 visa for re-entry, or the student will have to get a new F-1 visa at a U.S. consulate while outside the United States. There are certain exceptions to the visa rule that should be discussed with a Counselor at OIA prior to departure from Lubbock. Due to the inherent risk of immigration problems in international travel and re-entry into the United States, travel should be limited to emergency situations, and great care should be exercised in making travel plans.
In general, persons with applications pending with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) should not travel outside the United States. This includes F-1 students who have applied for employment authorization under Optional Practical Training.
F-2 dependents can travel with the F-1 student. The F-2 dependents must have a dependent’s I-20 issued in their name with a DSO’s signed travel endorsement. The F-2 dependents also must have current F-2 visas for re-entry. F-2 dependents that travel separately from the F-1 must also have the above documents.
If the F-1 student will be outside the U.S. for 5 months or more, special DHS rules are applied and a new I-20 for initial entry will have to be issued. Such long-term travel must be discussed with a Counselor prior to departure.
Unfortunately, emergency travel is sometimes necessary. Even in these cases, students should contact OIA prior to departure. In emergencies call the OIA at 742-2974, or when the office is closed contact an international office Counselor through the Texas Tech Police Department at 742-3931.
Questions should be directed to an International Student Counselor at 742-2974.
General Procedures for an I-20 Travel Endorsements at OIA:
1) Provide evidence of health insurance and current information on financial support for at least one academic year for the F-1 and any F-2 dependents.
2) Provide current immigration documents (generally, passport, I-94 and I-20) for the F-1 and for any F-2 dependents that are traveling.
3) Provide information on planned travel including destination, duration, and mode of transportation.
4) Obtain evidence of current student status (transcripts).
Texas Tech University Office of International Affairs, MS 5004, 742-2974, fax 742-1286