Whether it is within the U.S. or abroad, the following is a summary of the documents you should have with you when you travel.
Within the U.S.
When traveling within the U.S., you should carry a form of identification with you at all times, such as your college I.D. or a driver's license. If you are boarding a plane, you must show a government-issued I.D.; your college I.D. will not be adequate.
Outside of the U.S.
A signed SEVIS I-20 or DS-2019 form
Page 2 of your I-20 form (if you are in F-1 status) or DS-2019 form (if you are in J-1 status) must be signed prior to your departure by the staff in the International Advising Office. (Note: Keep all previous I-20 or DS-2019 forms as documentation of your history in the U.S.)
Your passport must be valid at least six months into the future, according to U.S. immigration law. Passports may be renewed at your country's embassy or consulate in the U.S.
- Valid U.S. visa
Your passport's visa stamp is what authorizes your entry into the U.S. If you still hold your current visa’s status (F-1 or J-1), the visa has not expired and is for multiple entry with more entries remaining, then you are set to travel. Otherwise, you will need to apply for a new visa at the U.S. embassy or consulate in the country to which you are traveling in order to re-enter the U.S. If you are visiting Canada, Mexico or islands adjacent to North America (except Cuba), contact the International Advising Office to learn about the unique requirements.
- Foreign visa
If you are visiting a country other than your own, you may need a visitor's visa to enter. Contact that country's embassy or consulate in the U.S.
- I-94 number - Every time you reenter the United States you will be given a new I-94 number. View and print your I-94 at cbp.gov.
- Proof of financial support
You should carry financial documentation when re-entering the U.S., especially Canadian nationals to verify the information on their I-20 at the border. If you will need to apply for a new visa, your financial documentation is required at the visa interview.
- Proof of enrollment
Carry your college acceptance letter or carry a print out of the email showing your acceptance to Union College.
- Union ID card
Your current Union I.D. acts as supporting documentation.
- Union transcript
A transcript is necessary only if you will be applying for a new student visa abroad. This shows the Consular officials that you have been making satisfactory progress towards your degree. It also serves as proof of enrollment.
F-1 Optional Practical Training
If you have completed your studies and have applied for Optional Practical Training, in order to re-enter the U.S. you must have your Employment Authorization Document (EAD) card, your I-20 endorsed for practical training within the past six months, a valid visa and a valid letter of employment. An F-1 on authorized practical training may depart the United States temporarily and re-enter the United States to resume employment. Resume means that you not only have a job offer, but you have already started work.
If you are on Optional Practical Training and will need to obtain a new F-1 visa before returning to the U.S., you have to prove to the U.S. Consulate officer that you have ties to your home country in order to renew your F1 visa.