Note: Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, ISSS does not recommend travel outside the United States. 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. 

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.

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 request an updated travel signature before you leave. You can request a new I-20 with an updated signature online. 
  • If your most recent I-20 has been lost, stolen, or damaged, you can request a new I-20 online. If you are not able to pick up your I-20 in person, you will need to confirm how you would like to receive your I-20. If you are currently within the U.S., you may choose to have the I-20 sent via US Postal Service or via UPS CampusShip (Express Mail) at your expense. If you are outside the U.S., you must pay for Express Mail. 
  • 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.