Note: Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, ISSS recommends that you use caution when planning travel outside the U.S. at this time. Many countries are experiencing COVID-19 outbreaks and implementing travel restrictions and mandatory quarantines, closing borders and prohibiting non-citizens from entry with little advance notice. The U.S. Embassies and Consulates in many countries have not yet resumed routine visa processing. If you choose to travel internationally, your travel plans may be severely disrupted, and you may be forced to remain outside of the United States for an indefinite amount of time. Before traveling, be sure to review the most updated vaccination, testing, and quarantine policies for the U.S. and any destination or transit countries.

Do you have plans to travel outside the Binghamton area? Whether traveling within the United States or abroad, be sure you are prepared – in particular, the documentation you need to have with you must be accurate and up-to-date.

COVID-19 Travel Information

Effective November 8, 2021, all non-citizen and non-immigrant air passengers traveling to the U.S. must show proof that they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Travelers will need to show documentation of full vaccination with a WHO-approved vaccine. Additional details about travel to the U.S. and the vaccination requirement are available on the CDC website. 

Exceptions to this requirement are only available in very limited circumstances. Students who have received a medical or religious exemption from the vaccination requirement at Binghamton University may not qualify for an exception under the CDC requirements and should review the exceptions information on the CDC website.

Vaccination and testing requirements are subject to change, so it is important that travelers continue to monitor the CDC website for any updates that might occur prior to returning to the U.S. 

Travel outside the U.S.

Make sure you have a valid travel signature

  • Check page 2 of your I-20 or the bottom right of page 1 of your DS-2019 for your most recent travel signature.
  • For current students, your travel signature is valid for one year from the date it was issued. If the signature will expire before you return to the U.S., you should visit the ISSS office for an updated signature before you leave. If you are not able to visit the office in person, or if you do not have your most recent I-20 or DS-2019, you can request a new I-20 or DS-2019 with an updated signature online. 
  • When requesting a new document, please note that F-1 students will receive an emailed electronic I-20. J-1 students will be issued a hard copy DS-2019. Be sure to keep all old I-20s or DS-2019s for your records.
  • For students on Post-completion OPT or STEM OPT, your travel signature is valid for 6 months. Additional restrictions and document requirements apply for students on OPT or STEM OPT. Review additional details on our OPT Travel page.

Travel with these required documents

  • Valid passport: your passport must be valid at least 6 months into the future at all times. Contact your embassy or consulate if you need to renew your passport.
  • Valid F-1 or J-1 visa: your visa must be valid on the date you will re-enter the US. If your visa has expired, you will need to apply for a new visa at a U.S. consulate abroad.
  • I-20 or DS-2019 with a valid travel signature

Travel within the U.S.

If you are traveling within the U.S. but outside the Binghamton area, you should carry the following original documents:

  • Valid passport
  • F-1 or J-1 visa (does not need to be valid)
  • I-20 or DS-2019 with a valid travel signature
  • Printed copy of I-94 record

Other Travel Considerations

  • Are you traveling to a country other than your country of citizenship? Be sure to check with that country's embassy or consulate to see if you need a visa. Remember that you may need a transit visa for countries you pass through on the way to your destination.
  • Carry a copy of your health insurance card with you. See our international health insurance page for more details on coverage and accessing your card.
  • If you are traveling with children, ensure that they and you have the necessary documents, especially if the child will be traveling with one parent.
  • Review the Customs and Border Protection website for information on bringing cash and other items into the U.S.
  • If you are withdrawing from the university or taking a leave of absence, be sure to submit a Departure Form to let ISSS know.
  • If you are traveling to Canada, Mexico, or nearby Caribbean islands (except Cuba), it may be possible to return to the U.S. using an expired F-1 or J-1 visa. Review our Travel to Canada, Mexico, and the Caribbean page for additional details.