F-1 and J-1 students must have their I-20/DS-2019 forms signed for travel in order to come back to the United States. If you look at page 3 of your I-20 or the bottom of page 1 on your DS-2019, you can read the following: “Each certification signature is valid for one year”. However, from past experience we recommend that you request a new signature if the one that you have on your I-20/DS-2019 will be older than 6 months by the time you get back to the U.S. Please note students cannot travel internationally (including cruises) and re-enter in F-1 or J-1 status during their grace period. If you have questions about travel during your grace period see an ISSS advisor.
What do I need to do to request a travel signature?
- Be registered for the current semester and the semester you expect to be back if registration is open
- Fill out our Travel Signature Request Form
- Submit your original I-20/DS-2019 at least 2 weeks before your departure
Unless it is a true emergency, you should expect to have your request processed in 5 business days.
It is now mandatory that you go through US-VISIT Exit procedures when departing the United States. US-VISIT (United States Visitor and Immigrant Status Indicator Technology) was created for security reasons. This U.S. immigration and border management system is used to verify visitors’ identities and compliance with visa and immigration policies. The program is not available at every airport, but right now you can find it at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International or at any of the following airports:
- Baltimore/Washington International
- Chicago O’Hare International
- Dallas/Fort Worth International
- Denver International
- Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County International
- Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International
- Luis Muñoz Marin International in San Juan, Puerto Rico
- Newark Liberty International
- Philadelphia International
- San Francisco International
- Seattle-Tacoma International
The checkout is not yet available at other exit points, but when it becomes available, it will also be required.
In the airport terminal there will be a kiosk where your passport and index fingers will be scanned. You will then be issued a receipt confirming compliance with US VISIT. For more information you can read the Department of Homeland Security’s information at U.S. Visit – How It Works.
Information on US VISIT at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport is available at this website under Security.
Canadians are required to carry a valid passport or a NEXUS card in order to enter the U.S. when traveling by air. It is extremely important that Canadian citizens present their I-20 or DS-2019 to the border official when entering the U.S. If you do not show your I-20, you will be admitted as a tourist, and you will not be allowed to study at Georgia State. Therefore be sure to have your I-20 ready at the port of entry!
International Student Travel FAQ
The federal government has published a new regulation to change the I-94 arrival/departure record from a paper document issued to a foreign visitor entering the United States and stamped by the Customs and Border Protection Official (CBP) at the US port of entry to a paperless, automated process.
With the new automated I-94 process, CBP will gather travelers’ arrival/departure information automatically from their electronic travel records (passport, visa stamp and flight manifest) and in most cases, foreign visitors will no longer complete the paper I-94 arrival/departure card prior to being admitted by a CBP official. CBP officials will stamp the passport of the traveler indicating the date of admission, visa type and authorized period of stay.
This change will have minimal impact on F and J students and scholars already in the US with a paper I-94 document (white card stapled in the passport). Travelers who have a paper I-94 card are advised to turn it in to the airline official when checking into or boarding an international flight as was customary.
Initial entry or re-entry to the United States will now result in an electronic record of entry that can be accessed by the traveler at http://www.cbp.gov/I94. After the traveler enters data about the travel (including date of travel, visa type and port of entry) and passport biographical information, a paper “receipt” can be printed by the traveler to show any state or federal agency that may still require paper evidence (such as the Social Security Administration or Georgia Department of Driver’s Services). The CBP websites below provide additional detail about the new automated process. Should you have any questions or concerns, please visit ISSS during walk-in advising hours or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
I-94 is the Arrival-Departure Record. This form is given to you to fill out upon arrival. The information on your I-94 indicates your entry date and the date until which you are authorized to stay in the U.S.
This form is very important as it is used to establish your legal status, so make sure it has correct information — keep it in a safe place along with all your other immigration documents. Since this document is proof that you are legally in the country and it states the period you can stay in the U.S., it is very important that you surrender it when you leave the U.S. By doing this the date of your departure will be recorded. Unless you encounter a problem at the port of entry, you will be getting an I-94 with duration of status (D/S). This means that you can stay in the U.S. as long as you are maintaining status.