Traveling Outside of the United States

Before you leave the United States, you must do the following:

  • Obtain a travel signature on I-20 or DS-2019
    • Be sure you have obtained the signature of the International Student Advisor/Global Education Specialist on the third page of your I-20 (for F-1 and F-2 students) or on the first page of your DS-2019 (for J-1 or J-2 students) two weeks before your departure.
  • Make sure you have a valid passport
    • Be sure your passport has not expired and that it will remain valid for at least six months before you plan to re-enter the U.S.
  • Make sure you have a valid visa
    • Be sure your visa (the sticker with photo placed in your passport at a U.S. consulate or embassy abroad) is valid and issued for the purpose for which you are here.
  • Have evidence of financial support
    • You will very likely be asked for this information if crossing a border from Canada or Mexico, and possibly if flying into any Port of Entry from any country.

Do you have an expired visa? 

If you know or realize that your visa has expired or will expire on the date you plan to re-enter, you will need to renew your visa, and you must make an appointment on a Wednesday only to see the ISS Specialist. You must bring the following documents for your renewal of your student visa.

  • Evidence of financial support. This can include your most recent bank statement or a letter from your department if you have a graduate assistantship.
  • A new I-20 form /DS-2019 form issued from Gallaudet.
  • Any I-20’s/DS-2019 previously issued to you by Gallaudet University and any other U.S. school you attended before enrolling at the Gallaudet University.
  • Gallaudet student identification card
  • Official College Transcript from the Registrar’s Office.
  • Letter certifying current enrollment from the Registrar’s Office. The deadline for requesting the letter is two weeks before your department.
  • If you are engaged in Optional Practical Training (OPT) (F-1 only), you must also take your current EAD and a letter from your employer stating that you will be returning to resume your OPT employment

Note: If you are a J-visa student and your DS-2019 was issued by another entity such as the Institute of International Education (IIE), you must contact the responsible Officer whose information appears on your DS-2019 document to get a new one.


An important note to F-1 students who have applied for OPT and who wish to travel:

 If you have applied for Optional Practical Training (OPT) and have not yet received the Employment Authorization Document (EAD) card from USCIS, you should be aware that leaving the U.S. before your OPT application has been processed by the USCIS may be considered by the USCIS to be abandonment of your application. Also, if you try to re-enter the U.S. and do not have your I-20 signed for travel within the last six months or do not have your EAD card to show as proof that authorization has been granted, you may be denied entry into the U.S. You may wish to speak with the International Student Advisor before proceeding with any travel plans.

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