All students and scholars traveling abroad need to make sure they check the validity dates on their immigration documents to ensure everything is in order. If you have any questions, please see an OISS advisor.
F-1/F-2 and J-1/J-2 visa holders
Verify the following prior to travel:
- Passport, valid at least 6 months past the date of (re)entry into the U.S.
- Recent travel endorsement on the I-20 or DS-2019 (endorsement should be from the current semester)
- Valid visa stamp
- If traveling while on F-1 OPT or the STEM OPT extension, review your documentation to make sure it includes the following:
- I-20 showing OPT is approved on pg. 2 and updated with current employer information if possible. Please note that travel signatures are only valid for 6 months while on OPT.
- Original EAD
- Letter from your employer, if applicable
Requesting Travel Endorsement
To request for a travel endorsement on your I-20 or DS-2019, please visit OISS with your most recent I-20 / DS-2019 and your passport. Please allow one business day for processing. Prior to summer and winter breaks, OISS will offer specific times when you can get your I-20 / DS-2019 signed for travel while you wait. These times are listed on our Events Calendar. Please note that outside of these times, the standard one day processing time applies. If you are requesting a travel signature from abroad, please send request to firstname.lastname@example.org. You will then have several options for receiving your new I-20 / DS-2019, please see https://oiss.rice.edu/getdocs for additional information.
If your visa stamp has expired and you are traveling outside the U.S., you may need to apply for a visa stamp renewal. Please feel free to schedule an appointment with an OISS advisor to discuss the process. We have also put together some tips for the visa application process and compiled a list of helpful videos, please see https://oiss.rice.edu/visa-tips. You may also request a Letter of Support for your visa renewal application from OISS:
- If you need a travel signature, you may request for the visa renewal letter at the same time. If your travel endorsement is valid, you should request for the visa renewal letter online through our Letter Request form.
- If requested online, please allow 2 business days for visa renewal letter processing.
If you are traveling to Mexico, Canada, or the Caribbean Islands (except Cuba) and your visa stamp has expired, you may be able to use automatic revalidation to re-enter the U.S. without renewing your visa stamp. Please schedule an appointment with an OISS advisor to review automatic revalidation guidelines. The advisor will provide you with a signed letter verifying these guidelines for you to take with you on your travels.
Returning to Rice University
When the U.S. Port of Entry immigration officer stamps your passport with an entry stamp, it should include the following:
- Date and location of your arrival
- Visa type (e.g. F-1 or J-1)
- Admit Until Date, which is the date by which you must depart the U.S. For F-1 and J-1 visa holders, instead of the date the stamp should indicate "D/S", which stands for Duration of Status
Please take a moment to review your entry stamp for accuracy. If it does not have the correct information, please let the officer know that your entry stamp is incorrect.
Make sure to provide OISS with an updated I-94 anytime you re-enter the U.S. so we can update your arrival record. You may submit all new documents at http://bit.ly/oissdocs.