Travel As F-1/J-1 Student

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Travel Outside the U.S. While In F1/J1 Student Status 

Travel Endorsement on I-20/DS-2019

  • For travel endorsement, please submit an eform through your RGlobal Portal. Be sure to submit your request at least one week before your travel date.

An F1/J1 student planning to travel outside the U.S. during school break or during a semester (for conference, study/research or family emergency) must submit your original I-20/DS-2019 to OISS for travel endorsement. If your F2/J2 dependents are traveling with you, you should also submit their original I-20s/DS-2019s. The endorsement indicates that OISS certifies you are a Rutgers student maintaining legal status upon traveling and you are expected to come back to Rutgers to continue studies; therefore, travel endorsement is not a simple signature. OISS staff will have to check your school record, SEVIS record, valid visa and passport before signing your I-20/DS-2019 for travel. Each signature is valid for one year from the date the I-20/DS-2019 is signed; you do not need a new signature to travel during the valid period unless you are completing your academic program requirements. .

Required Documents for Reentering the U.S. after Traveling Abroad

  • A current passport valid for at least six months after the date of your planned reentry or, a passport that is current through the date of reentry if issued by one of the countries on the Six-Month Club list posted on US. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) website. 
  • An unexpired I-20/DS-2019 with a travel signature less than 12 months old.
  • An unexpired F1/J1 visa stamp valid for future entries into the United States; If you are from a visa exempt country, e.g. Canada, you do not need a visa to reenter the United States from the western hemisphere.
  • Financial information showing proof of necessary funds to cover tuition and living expenses; this may include personal or family bank statements, affidavits of support, or copies of your fellowship or scholarship letter
  • Proof of full-time enrollment in the form of an unofficial transcript printed out from your Rutgers portal or official transcript from the Registrar's Office.

Travel to Canada, Mexico, or the Islands (other than Cuba) Adjacent to the United States

An  F1/J1 student traveling to visit Canada,  Mexico or the adjacent islands of the Caribbean for less than thirty days may reenter the U.S. with an expired visa  provided that you have been maintaining legal status.

The adjacent islands are:

  • Saint Pierre
  • Miquelon
  • The Dominican Republic
  • Haiti
  • Bermuda
  • The Bahamas
  • Barbados
  • Jamaica
  • The Windward and Leeward Islands
  • Trinidad
  • Martinique
  • Other British, French, and Netherlands territory or possessions in or bordering on the Caribbean Sea

You will be required to present the following documents at the Port of Entry:

  • A valid Form I-20/DS-2019 endorsed for travel
  • A valid Form I-94 marked with D/S (do NOT surrender your current I-94 when you leave the U.S.)
  • A current passport valid for at least six months after the date of your planned reentry or, a passport that is current through the date of reentry if issued by one of the countries on the Six-Month Club list.
  • A previously-issued nonimmigrant visa (even for a different nonimmigrant classification)

However, if you meet any one of following criteria, the special exemptions do NOT apply to you:

  • You applied for a new visa and it has not been issued 
  • You applied for a new visa and were denied
  • You have a terminated SEVIS record indicating that you are out of status
  • You have been out the United States for more than thirty days
  • You are a citizen of one of the following countries:
    • Cuba
    • Iran
    • North Korea
    • Sudan
    • Syria

Travel After Completing Study

An F1 student is given a 60-day and a J1 student 30-day grace period after completing your degree program to prepare to leave the U.S., to start a new academic program at Rutgers or another U.S. school or to file change of status.  You can travel within the U.S., but if you leave and re-enter, you may not return as an F1/J1 student. Consult OISS if you have further questions.

F1 Student Travel on OPT

  • Do NOT travel outside the U.S. after you complete the degree program but before you file for Post-completion OPT, because your departure will be considered as completing your F1 status and you will not be eligible for OPT after you leave the U.S..
  • You may travel and return to the U.S. to resume employment after a period of temporary absence with the following documents:
    • Form I-20 bearing OPT recommendation endorsed for reentry by OISS within the last six months.
    • Valid F-1 visa
    • Valid passport
    • Job offer letter from employer 
    • Valid EAD card if available
  • For traveling abroad during OPT application pending period, please contact OISS for advices.

Key Contacts

Honors Living Learning Community (HLLC)226 & 227
48 New StreetNewarkNJ07102

OISS In-Person Walk-In Hours:

* No appointment necessary. *
Monday - Thursday: 10:00am – 3:00pm

Friday, Saturday, Sunday: CLOSED

Virtual one-on-one appointments available at  Rutgers Newark - OISS (