F-1 Visa Travel Signature Requirement

Get a travel signature from OISS prior to international travel!

  • You must have a valid travel signature on your I-20 to return to the U.S. after travel abroad.
  • Each signature is valid for one year
  • A travel signature is issued by your International Student Adviser.
  • The travel signature is required for returning to the U.S. It is not required for leaving the U.S.
  • If your current travel signature will expire before you will return to the U.S., you must request an updated travel signature.
  • The travel signature is on page 2 of your I-20, see image below.

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How To Obtain a Travel Signature

  • Drop off your I-20 to the front desk at the Office of International Programs, your signed I-20 will be available the next business day for pick up unless otherwise notified.
    • Note: Always allow yourself one week for processing in the instance your International Student Advisor is out of the office.
  • Same day travel signatures are not issued.
  • Be sure to factor in holidays as you will not be able to get a travel signature when the university is closed.

Emergency Travel

If you have an emergency travel need when the OISS office is closed (weekends and holidays), go ahead and depart the U.S.

The travel signature is required for returning to the U.S. It is not required for leaving the U.S. 

Contact your International Student Advisor and if time allows we can mail you a new I-20 with a travel signature when we return to the office.

What if I do not have enough time to receive a new I-20 with a valid travel signature before returning to the U.S.?

If your travel plans do not allow enough time for us to ship a new document to you before you return to the U.S., then you must either change your anticipated return date, or travel without a valid travel signature on your I-20.

If you choose the latter option, it is most likely the Customs and Border Protection officer at the U.S. Port of Entry will issue you an I-515 form. This form would allow you temporary admission to the U.S. for 30 days. During the 30 days you must schedule an appointment with your International Student Advisor, receive an updated travel signature, then submit the I-515 form to the address provided on the I-515. You would then be allowed to remain in the U.S. as normal.

What if I forgot my I-20 entirely?

If you forget your I-20 entirely, you should ask the immigration official for an I-515 upon entry, which will most likely allow your admission in F-1 status for 30 days. Providing proof of registration in courses may help the CBP officer grant you the I-515.

Please note, however, that temporary admission with an I-515 is at the discretion of the CBP officer and cannot be guaranteed by OISS. On rare occasions you may be denied entry to the U.S., and you should be aware of this risk before traveling.