Travel within the United States
You may travel freely within the United States including Alaska, Hawaii, and U.S. territories such as American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands while you are in valid immigration status. You should have photocopies of the following documents with you when traveling:
- Form I-20 or DS-2019 issued by DU
- Unexpired passport
- Form I-94 Admission Record (Print from CBP website)
You may leave the United States and return at any time during your program, provided you are still in valid immigration status when you return and you have been absent from the country for less than five months.
When re-entering the United States after traveling abroad, you must present the following at the Port of Entry:
- Form I-20 or DS-2019 issued by DU with unexpired travel signature
- Unexpired passport valid for the next six months
- Unexpired and valid U.S. entry visa *
* If you are traveling to Canada, Mexico, or certain contiguous territories for less than 30 days, and you are not a foreign national of certain countries designated by the Department of State, you may be permitted to re-enter the United States with an expired visa. For more information, review the Automatic Revalidation of Visa section of the Visa Renewal page.
COVID-19 Travel Restrictions
Requirements and recommendations for traveling to the U.S. can change quickly. Your airline and the U.S. Center for Disease Control's (CDC) International Travel page will be good sources of the current travel conditions.
Your Form I-20 or DS-2019 must have an unexpired travel signature in order for you to request re-entry into the United States. The travel endorsement is valid for one year from the signature date, unless you are on F-1 Optional Practical Training, in which case it is valid for six months.
Travel signatures can be requested through the ISSS Portal. In the Control Center, choose the Travel Signature and Reprint Request. ISSS will generate a new Form I-20 or DS-2019 instead of signing your existing document.
Register Your Travel with DU
All DU international students, faculty, and staff traveling for University-related academic and business activities abroad (including to home country) are required to register their travel in DU Passport at least two weeks prior to departure.
- University-related activities include but are not limited to:
- Academic research
- Conference or workshop attendance
- Participating in an internship
- Externship or practicum
- Study abroad, faculty-led, or student-led program
- Travel for athletics
By registering in DU Passport, the University can assist in an emergency situation abroad, provide important travel resources prior to departure, and better track the international efforts of all DU members.
Travel while on OPT
Once a student's academic program is completed, it is still possible to travel and reenter the United States as an F-1 student if returning to use the Optional Practical Training benefit.
Students in F-1 status who have been approved for Optional Practical Training are allowed to travel and reenter the U.S. to start or resume employment. They should be prepared to present the following documents when seeking to reenter the United States:
- Form I-20 issued by DU with OPT remark on Page 2 AND with valid travel signature less than 6 months old
- Unexpired passport valid for the next six months
- Unexpired F-1 entry visa *
- Valid EAD Card
- Evidence that you have a job or a job offer in the United States ‡
If you have exceeded the unemployment limits (over 90 days during for Post-Completion OPT or 150 days for the STEM OPT Extension), we do not recommend travel since you are in violation of your F-1 status. Please contact ISSS in this situation.
* If you are traveling to Canada, Mexico, or certain contiguous territories for less than 30 days, and you are not a foreign national of certain countries designated by the Department of State, you may be permitted to re-enter the United States with an expired visa. For more information, review the Automatic Revalidation of Visa Validity section of our Visa Renewal page.
‡ Students with a valid OPT EAD who do not have a job or job offer will likely be allowed to reenter the United States. However, there is some risk since federal guidance states that only F-1 students on OPT who have a job or job offer are admissible.
Study Abroad/Internship Travel
If you intend to participate in a study abroad program, pursue overseas courses, or engage in an internship abroad, you can meet with an international student advisor to confirm that you have the necessary documents to re-enter the United States in F-1 or J-1 status upon completion of your time abroad.
ISSS is not able to assist with applying for visas in other countries. The country's embassy website in the United States is the best place to start.
Travel during a leave of absence
If you intend to leave the United States on a leave of absence, you should meet with an international student advisor before your departure to determine whether you will be eligible to return in F-1 or J-1 status in the future. Depending on the duration of your absence from the country, new immigration documents may need to be issued to you to resume your studies.
Absence of More Than 5 Months
If you will be absent from the country from more than five months, an international student advisor must report your departure to Immigration and Customs Enforcement by terminating your SEVIS record. You will need to be issued a new I-20 or DS-2019 before you can return to the United States. You will need to pay the SEVIS fee again and apply for a new F-1 or J-1 visa before your return.
Eligibility for Employment Benefits
If you are issued a new I-20 or DS-2019 to resume your studies after an absence of five months or more, you will need to be enrolled full-time for one academic year (three quarters) before you are eligible to apply for Curricular Practical Training and Optional Practical Training off-campus employment benefits.