Skip to main content

  • Contact ISSO

  • Documents Needed for F-1 / J-1 Travel

    Download this as a handout here.


    We want to ensure that in leaving and re-entering the U.S. you have all the documents for re-entry. Please contact the ISSO with any questions prior to leaving the country.

    Traveling within the U.S.: If you will be traveling within the U.S., driving on major highways, riding on buses, trains, or planes, we also recommend that you carry with you your passport, I-94 card and I-20 or DS-2019.

    General Information About Travel

    F-1 and J-1 students and visiting scholars who leave the United States: you must have the following documents with you to be eligible to re-enter the U.S. in F or J status:

    • Valid passport (passport must be valid for at least 6 months into the future)
    • Valid (unexpired) U.S. visa stamp in your passport (except for Canadian Citizens). If you need a new visa stamp click here.
    • Valid I-20 form for F-1 status, signed for travel on page 3 by an ISSO advisor within the last year (six months for Canadian students and students on Post-Completion Optional Practical Training-see Note)Come by the ISSO if you need to update your travel signature! Left the U.S. for break or vacation and forgot your I-20 or DS-2019?
    • Valid DS-2019 form for J-1 status with current travel signature on the lower right hand side
    • Evidence of financial funding (bring a copy of whatever funding is mentioned on your I-20: TA/RA funding letter or bank statements for personal funds)
    • proof of enrollment (certificate of enrollment or transcript). You can obtain a certificate of enrollment from the registrarís office or, if you have an SSN, you can download the certificate from the registrar's web site.

    (Note: If you are on F-1 post-completion practical training (OPT), please read the section below)

    Important if you need a new visa stamp in your passport!!

    It is very important that if you are planning on traveling out of the U.S. AND need a new visa stamp in your passport that you speak to someone at the ISSO prior to traveling.


    Certificate of Enrollment

    A certificate of enrollment is available to download if you are a registered student at Cornell University. This form will provide documentation that you are currently and have been a registered student at Cornell University. While this is not a required form for re-entry it will ease in your re-entry to the U.S. if you are questioned at the border. You can get the certificate of enrollment at the registrar's office (B-7 Day Hall), or if you have a social security number, you may download this form at http://certification.cornell.edu/ . There is no fee for this document.

    Traveling within the U.S.:

    If you will be traveling within the U.S., driving on major highways, riding on buses, trains, or planes, we also recommend that you carry with you your passport, I-94 card and I-20 or DS-2019. While it is not technically required to have a valid travel signature when traveling within the US, we do recommend it.

    Traveling While on F-1 Post-Completion OPT

    The following are the documents you will need to ensure entry to the U.S. while on post-completion OPT:



    The job offer letter or letter confirming your current employment should describe the job as temporary (no more than 12 months) because the idea behind Optional Practical Training is that it allow you to gain training in a temporary position in the U.S. An offer of permanent employment may be construed as inconsistent with holding non-immigrant status in the U.S.

    Dependent Travel (F2 and J2)

    F-2 or J-2 spouses and minor children who are not accompanied by the F-1 or J-1 student and visiting scholars must have:

    If the dependents have never been given an I-20 or DS-2019, then you need to see an adviser at the ISSO.

    Form DS-2019 for the J-2 dependents can be obtained from the ISSO or your program sponsor.