ISSS-BU News                                            15 April 2012                                                               ISSS-BU News
Announcement                                                                                                                                  Announcement



Will you be traveling once the Spring 2012 semester ends? Will those travels be within the United States, to your home country, or to a third country? Are you returning to BU for the Fall 2012 semester, or will you be taking a leave for one or more semesters, or will Spring 2012 be your last semester?

This Travel Issue tells you everything you need to know regarding US immigration regulations and travel. It will also take you to helpful links on the ISSS web pages that will provide you with detailed information.

Even if your travel will be within the United States, or within New York State, remember to always have your passport, I-20 or DS-2019, and I-94 departure card with you. If you are within 100 miles of any land or water border of the United States, or traveling by bus, boat, train or plane, you can be asked by a federal or local police authority to present these documents and if you are unable to present them, you can be detained!

Do You Need to Renew Your Passport?

Check the expiration date of your passport. You must have your passport with you for all travel, including travel within the United States. If traveling abroad, your passport MUST be valid at least six months into the future upon your return to the United States. Passports may be renewed at your country's embassy or consulate in the United States. If you have access to the world wide web, you can obtain up-to-date information on passport renewal. Point your web browser to:

Do You Have a Valid Travel Signature on Your I-20 or DS-2019?

All BU international students are reminded to check their most recent SEVIS I-20 or SEVIS DS-2019 to be sure they have an updated travel signature from the ISSS. If the travel signature (on the bottom of Page 3 of the I-20, or in the lower right hand section of Page 1 of the DS-2019) will be more than 12 months old when you return to the United States to resume classes in the Fall, come to the ISSS for an updated signature BEFORE you travel. If you have applied for Optional Practical Training (OPT) you’ll need a new signature if the current travel signature will be more than 6 months old when you return to the United States. If you plan to apply for a new U.S. F-1 or J-1 visa, see the instructions below.

Planning to Take a Cruise?

Be sure to read up on what you need to know if you are planning a vacation cruise. All the information is at this link:

Are You Applying for a New U.S. F-1 or J-1 Visa?

Students who will also be applying for a new US student visa abroad should not request an updated travel signature on their I-20 or DS-2019. Instead you should request a letter of certification and a new I-20 from the ISSS, as these are needed as part of the visa application. See the important information at: To start the new visa process by requesting a letter of certification, use our on-line form:

Will You Be in the People’s Republic of China?

Students traveling to the People’s Republic of China may find that they have difficulty accessing their Binghamton University e-mail account (BMail) at This is because B mail is powered by GoogleMail, and access to various Google application services may be affected in China.

There is an alternative link to access BMail from China, provided by BU’s Office of Information Technology Services. Use this link:

Departing Binghamton at the end of the semester and not returning for Fall 2012? BU students who will not be returning to the University for the Fall 2012 semester are reminded to fulfill their federal SEVIS responsibilities by completing the ISSS departure form on line at the following web link:

Do You Know The Dates By Which You Must Depart the United States If You Are Graduating?

Students in F-1 status who are graduating and are not going to pursue Optional Practical Training (OPT) or transfer to a new U.S. school or begin a new degree program in the United States are required to depart the United States within 60 days of their degree completion date. Students in J-1 status are required to depart the United States within 30 days of their degree completion date, or the end of their programs.

Are You Male, from the Republic of Korea, and Planning to Enter Military Service?

Many students who are from the Republic of Korea and male make plans to enter the military service for their required obligation some time during their years at Binghamton. If you are entering the Korean military this summer or fall, and will be pausing your studies while you are serving, please complete the required departure form at: and read the important article at:

Planning to Travel Outside the United States With a Child?

If you have a child (or children) with you in the United States, and plan to travel abroad with them, we recommend that you read an important article on the ISSS web site about travel with children. The article specifically addresses issues when only one parent is traveling with the children. Visit:

Additional Resources on the ISSS Web Site:

Travel Check List

An easy-to-read check list that quickly summarizes what you need to know if you have travel plans, whether within the United States or abroad.

Applying for a New F-1 or J-1 Visa Abroad

Everything you need to know about applying for a new F-1 or J-1 visa, including a handy check-list of items to have for the visa interview.

Travel Extra

The Travel Extra is the complete compendium on travel matters for international students, including a pre-departure check-list, baggage requirements, travel tips, travel to Canada or Mexico, strategies for a successful re-entry to the United States, shipping books and other items overseas, and more!

Last Updated: 8/28/14