Travel Information

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.

US-VISIT Program

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.’

Canadian Students

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

You should expect to have your request processed in 5 business days. However, your travel request should be submitted at least two weeks before your departure in case you need to resolve issues, such as holds or balances on your account. In addition, most students tend to travel at the end of the semester, and this large number of requests might delay the time travel requests usually take to be processed.
First, do not panic. You just need to fill out our Travel Signature Request Form [PDF], and contact International Student & Scholar Services to make sure your request is processed in a timely manner. You will be required to pay the mailing fee if your I-20/DS-2019 needs to be express mailed to you.
No, it is not a problem. You can use the same travel authorization for a later trip.
All international students will have one of the following types of I-94 records:

Electronic Form

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 isss@gsu.edu.

http://www.cbp.gov/xp/cgov/travel/id_visa/i-94_instructions/i94_rollout.xml

http://www.cbp.gov/linkhandler/cgov/newsroom/fact_sheets/travel/i94_factsheet.ctt/i94_factsheet.pdf

Paper Form

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.

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.

You can apply for a replacement I-94 card by filling out form I-102. You can download this form from http://www.uscis.gov/. Come to the International Student & Scholar Services Office in room 252 of Sparks Hall for advising regarding this matter.
Please come by the International Student & Scholar Services office in room 252 of Sparks Hall to get information about having your I-94 corrected.
You are responsible for maintaining a current passport at all times. Your passport should always be valid for at least 6 months into the future. Depending on your country, you might be able to extend your passport here in the U.S. or might have to go home to do it. If you get a new passport, make sure you always travel with the new one and the old one if your valid visa is on the latter.
You only need a valid visa if you are planning to travel outside of the U.S. because you will not be able to re-enter if your visa has expired. However, as long as you are maintaining status, you can stay in the U.S. with an expired visa.
Generally you do not need to pay the SEVIS fee again for a renewal of a student visa. However, you should take your receipt from your first SEVIS payment with you to the visa interview. For information on SEVIS fee payment, visit https://www.fmjfee.com/help.jhtml.
Students can usually travel to these places and come back with an expired visa as long as they have a valid I-20/DS-2019, passport and I-94—there are some restrictions though. This is called Automatic Visa Revalidation [PDF]. If you are interested in this option, come talk to an ISSS advisor.
Yes, but you need to have been maintaining your status in the U.S. and have your I-20/DS-2019 endorsed for travel.
For information from the U.S. Department of State, visit their web site. For more information from ISSS, see the Visa Renewal page.