If you are planning to travel out of the United States and then return to continue studying in The Tseng College, submit a Travel Request to a DSO in ARC (Office of Admissions, Registration and Client Services) at least a week prior to your planned departure.
Travel Eligibility for all F-1 Students
- be in status in SEVIS
- travel when school is not in session
- be eligible to continue your studies
- be returning to the Tseng College to continue your studies (not transferring at the time of travel)
What is a Travel I-20?
What is a Travel I-20?
Whenever students on F-1 visas travel outside of the U.S., they must have a Form I-20 that one of their DSOs has signed (endorsed) on page 2 to present to the Customs and Border Protection officer when they re-enter the United States. An endorsed I-20 is commonly referred to as a ‘Travel I-20.’
When Do I Need a Travel I-20?
What and Who are DSOs (Designated School Officials)?
What Do I Need for Reentry into the United States?
Required Documents for Re-Entry into the United States:
- A Form I-20, signed by your DSO
- A current passport, valid for at least six months after the date of your reentry.
- A valid F-1 visa.
Recommended documents/information to have with you:
- Evidence of financial resources
- Evidence of student status such as tuition receipts, transcripts, or proof of enrollment.
- Name and contact information of someone from the school’s international team such as one of the DSOs in ARC, and for SAC students: Jessica Isomoto and/or Boris Polotzek are additional good contacts for you.
Re-using an I-20 for Travel
If your I-20 was signed for travel in the last few months, you can use that I-20 for more travels, without submitting a Travel Request again. You still need to the meet the same eligibility requirements and carry the same documents listed above.
For SAC Students Only
60-Day Grace Period
All F-1 students have a 60-day grace period to either transfer to a new school or leave the U.S. when they have completed their studies.
They cannot travel and re-enter the U.S., as an F-1 student, during this grace period.
The 60-day grace period begins right after the last day of the last day of the semester.
If you are in SAC for two semesters, your 60-day grace period is after your second semester.
If you are in SAC for one semester only, you have a 60-day grace period after that one semester.
The simple message is this: Unless you are returning to CSUN to continue in a Tseng College program, you cannot use your current I-20 to travel.
NOTE: If you are simply leaving the U.S. after the term ends, that is easy. If you are not traveling in and out of the U.S. during your 60-day grace period, you don’t have to do anything special. You can just leave the U.S. without any special paperwork or requests. You can leave any day during the grace period; you just cannot return to the U.S. using your SAC I-20.
If you plan to travel OUT of the U.S. after the semester ends, AND THEN RETURN to the U.S. after travelling, you need to change to a visitor status.
Citizens of Visa Waiver Program (VWP) Countries
Your options to travel as a Visitor
Visa Waiver Program (VWP)
The VWP enables most citizens or nationals of participating countries to travel to the United States for tourism for 90 days or fewer without first obtaining a visa when they meet all of these requirements:
Important Information about Traveling
Keep Documents With You While Traveling
When traveling, and especially when returning to the U.S., make sure you have all required documentation in your possession; do not put these items in your luggage, keep them with you!
The U. S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) also Recommends in addition to the required documents listed above, that you also have these with you:
Documents to Carry to U.S. Ports of Entry
When you enter the United States, you will arrive at a port of entry and meet with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers for inspection.
The CBP officer may ask questions about your reason for travel and to inspect important documents like your:
- Form I-20
- Student visa
- Passport (must be valid for at least six months after the date of your re-entry)
Be sure to hand-carry all of these items; do not put them in your checked baggage.
Record of Your Re-Entry into the U.S.
Years ago, whenever you entered or returned to the U.S., your passport was stamped. That will still happen occasionally.
However, these days, instead of a stamp in your passport, CBP (Customs and Border Protection) reports your entries into the United States electronically.
The official record of the place and date of your most recent entry can be accessed at https://i94.cbp.dhs.gov/
By the way, the same website has all your arrivals and departures, under ‘View Travel History.’
Generally, all F-1 students traveling to Mexico must have the same documents as required for any travel outside of the United States:
- A valid passport that does not expire for at least six months following reentry in the U.S.
- A valid F-1 visa
- A valid Form I-20 endorsed (signed) for travel.
All foreigner visitors must have a valid, unexpired passport.
Do I need a tourist visa to visit Mexico?
Foreigners of any country traveling to Mexico on a cruise ship are NOT required to obtain a visa or consular stamp. F-1 students must have their passports, visas, and Travel I-20s.
Traveling to Mexico by land, or air: Most F-1 students do not need visas to visit Mexico. If you are a citizen of a country not on the U.S. Visa Waiver Program, contact the Mexican Consulate to see if you need a visa.
The Mexican Consulate in Los Angeles:
2401 W. Sixth St.
Los Angeles, CA 90057
Tel: (213) 351-6800
Fax: (213) 351-2114
A list of Mexican Consulates in the U.S. is available at Mexico Online: http://www.mexonline.com/consulate.htm
You can make an appointment at any Consulate of Mexico in the U.S. through the Call Center (Mexitel) at (877) 639-4835 or online at https://mexitel.sre.gob.mx/citas.webportal/pages/public/login/login.jsf
For a short visit to Canada, citizens of some countries are required to obtain a tourist visa, but citizens of other countries can use an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA).
See if your country of citizenship is a ‘Visa-Required Country’ at http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/visit/visas.asp
You can apply for an eTA or for a tourist visa at http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/visit/apply-how.asp#visitorvisa
This same website has topics about how long you can stay, if you need a Canadian visa, if you already have a U.S. visa, and much more information.
The website of the Canada Border Services Agency has lots of information about traveling to Canada.
Entering the U.S. Without Proper Documents
If your documents cannot be verified by CBP, if you have lost or forgotten your I-20, if you haven’t paid your SEVIS I-901 fee, and so on, you may be denied admission into the United States or you may be issued a Form I-515A, "Notice to Student or Exchange Visitor." A Form I-515A allows you to enter the US, but you must send in the required information and documents listed on the I-515A within 30 days in order to maintain your student status. If you receive a Form I-515A because you did not have your I-20 with you, request from ARC, in EU 200, to have your I-20 reprinted. A Form I-515A allows you stay only 30 days. In that time, you are expected to fix whatever problem caused you to get the form. Therefore, it can be a serious problem if you do not take quick action after receiving a Form I-515A.
See Form I-515A Overview for more information.
Passport Expiration Dates
Travel While on Post-Completion OPT
You can travel and return to the US for the remainder of the period authorized on your EAD card as long as you:
More information available at https://www.ice.gov/sevis/travel.
Caution! Traveling before receiving EAD card (have applied for OPT but have not been approved yet).
You can travel but look out for:
More information available at https://www.ice.gov/sevis/travel.
Travel with Dependent I-20 and F-2 Visa
Family members on an F-2 visa can travel in and out of the United States during the entire time that the principal F-1 student would be eligible to travel. The F-1 visa holder is not required to accompany their dependents. Like F-1 students, dependent I-20s must be endorsed for travel. F-2 dependents are required to keep their passports valid and passports should not expire within 6 months after entering the US. F-2 dependents might also be issued a Form I-515A and be admitted for only 30 days if they do not have proper documentation at the time of entry. The same I-515A rules that apply to F-1 students apply to F-2 dependents.
Travel within the United States
You can travel within the United States (this includes Alaska and Hawaii) during school breaks and vacations without permission from your designated school official (DSO).
If your travel does not involve any re-entry from outside of the United States or crossing a U.S. border, you will not have to apply for re-entry to the United States with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).
Keep a copy of important travel documents, such as your Form I-20, "Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status,” safely with you when you travel anywhere. Your passport should be valid at all times.
Travel for Purpose of Renewing Visa or Re-Establishing SEVIS Status
If you will be re-entering the United States with a new I-20 for the purpose of getting back into SEVIS status, see SEVIS Status Issues.
|Travel Request form, Tseng College Students||https://tsengcollege.csun.edu/sites/default/files/studentinfo/Request-Travel.pdf|
|Visa Waiver Program VWP Information||https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/us-visas/tourism-visit/visa-waiver-program.html
|Apply for ESTA||https://www.cbp.gov/travel/international-visitors/esta|
|U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement – Student and Exchange Visitor Program – Travel Info & Re-entry||http://www.ice.gov/sevis/travel/|
|Homeland Security – Study in the States – Students – Travel Info||https://studyinthestates.dhs.gov/|
|Secondary Inspection Info||https://studyinthestates.dhs.gov/what-is-secondary-inspection|
|Form I-515A Overview||https://studyinthestates.dhs.gov/students/form-i-515a-overview|
|Arrival/Departure Forms I-94||http://www.cbp.gov/travel/international-visitors/i-94-instructions|
|To Print your own I-94||https://i94.cbp.dhs.gov/I94/#/home|