F1 & J1 Travel Documents

We want to ensure that in leaving and re-entering the US you have all the documents for re-entry. Please contact us with any questions prior to leaving the country. We include below the documents that are usually required for those in F or J status to re-enter the US as well as further information for those in specific situations.

General Information About F / J Travel

F1 and J1 students and visiting scholars and their dependents who leave the US must have the following documents in order to re-enter the US in F or J status:

  • Valid passport (passport must be valid for at least 6 months into the future)
  • Valid (unexpired) US visa stamp (page) in your passport (except for Canadian Citizens). If you need a new visa stamp click here.
  • Valid I-20 form for F1 or F2 status, signed for travel on page 2 by an ISSO advisor within the last year (six months for Canadian students and students on Post-Completion Optional Practical Training. Come by the ISSO if you need to update your travel signature or fill out the on line form if you forgot your I-20 or a new travel signature.
  • Valid DS-2019 form for J1 or J2 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 / DS-2019: 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 registrar’s office or you can download the certificate from the registrar's web site.
  • 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 US AND need a new visa stamp in your passport that you speak to someone at the ISSO prior to traveling.

  • Traveling While on F1 Post-Completion OPT

    The following are the documents you will need to ensure entry to the U.S. while on post-completion OPT:
    — valid passport
    — current unexpired F1 visa stamp (except for Canadians)
    — I-20 signed within the last 6 months
    — EAD (OPT card) OR the receipt notice for your OPT application
    — job offer letter or letter confirming current employment

  • 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 US if you are questioned at the border. You can get the certificate of enrollment at the registrar's office (B-7 Day Hall) or you may download this form at http://certification.cornell.edu/ . There is no fee for this document.

  • Traveling within the US

    If you will be traveling within the US, 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.

  • Dependent Travel (F2 and J2)

    F2 or J2 spouses and minor children who are not accompanied by the F1 or J1 student and visiting scholars must have:
    — Valid passport 
    — Valid US visa stamp (except for Canadian Citizens)
    — Valid separate Form I-20 or DS-2019
    — Evidence of financial funding