Travel & Re-Entry

Exiting the U.S.? Below is what you need to know in order to successfully re-enter the U.S. after a temporary trip abroad.

Don’t be that person that waits until the last second, be prepared before you leave…

 

  • It is imperative you have the proper documentation to re-enter; if you do not, you will be denied entry into the United States
  • Be proactive: get documents signed/verified by an ISS advisor before your trip.

 

  • F & J Student: Currently Enrolled

    F-1 and J-1 students that are currently enrolled in a degree program and maintaining valid legal F or J status may temporarily exit the U.S. and re-enter in F-1 status with the following documents:

    • Unexpired Form I-20 or Form DS-2019 that has been endorsed for travel
      • The travel signature is valid for 1 year from the date it was last signed
    • Valid F-1 or J-1 Visa Stamp
      • Exception: Students that travel to Canada, Mexico, or the qualifying adjacent Caribbean islands for a period of 30 days or less may re-enter the U.S. using an expired F or J visa stamp provided they have:
        • Valid Form I-20 with current travel signature
        • Valid Passport
        • Not all students qualify for this exception. For more information on the Automatic Visa Revalidation exception please visit: ICE FAQ Page
      • Exception: Canadian citizens are not required to have Machine Readable Visa (MRV) stamps in their passport
    • Valid Passport
      • Passport must have 6 months of validity left for re-entry

    5-Month Limitation

    Students that are outside of the U.S. for more than 5 months forfeit their F or J status unless they are on an approved study abroad program. Students should consult an advisor in the Center for Global Programs & Studies before any extended leaves from the U.S.

  • F Students: OPT (Standard & STEM)

    Students pursuing Standard Post-Completion OPT and STEM OPT can make temporary trips abroad and re-enter with the following documents.

    Remember, students pursuing any period of OPT (standard or STEM) remain in F-1 nonimmigrant visa status. Wake Forest University remains the visa sponsor. OPT is not a separate visa status.

    • Form I-20 with recommendation or approval of OPT notated on page 2 and properly endorsed for travel
      • The travel signature is valid for 6 M O N T H S from the date it was last signed. Please note it is no longer valid for 1 year.
    • Valid F-1 Visa Stamp
      • Remember, you stay in F nonimmigrant visa status for U.S. immigration purposes. Do not re-enter the U.S. in any other status. You must have a valid F-1 visa stamp unless you meet one of the two exceptions below.
        • Exception: Students that travel to Canada, Mexico, or the qualifying adjacent Caribbean islands for a period of 30 days or less may re-enter the U.S. using an expired F visa stamp provided they have:
          • Valid Form I-20 with current travel signature
          • Valid Passport
          • Not all students qualify for this exception. For more information on the Automatic Visa Revalidation exception please visit: ICE FAQ Page
        • Exception: Canadian citizens are not required to have Machine Readable Visa (MRV) stamps in their passport
    • Valid Passport
      • Passport must have 6 months of validity left for re-entry
    • Valid EAD Card
      • If I-765 application is still pending; a receipt notice is required, but please note, you travel at your own risk if you travel while your OPT application is pending. Please read the ICE Travel FAQ Page. Carefully note their response to the question “Can I reenter if my request for OPT is pending?”
    • Employer Offer/Confirmation Letter (optional but strongly encouraged to have)

    Time Spent Outside of the U.S. and 90 Day Unemployment Rule

    Time spent outside of the U.S. counts against the 90 days of allotted unemployment time (and additional 60 days of unemployment time while on STEM) unless your travel is:

    • For your employer OR
    • Your employment continues during your absence and you return to resume employment with your employer
  • J Scholars

    J Scholars may re-enter the U.S. after short trips abroad by presenting:

    • Valid Passport
      • Passport must have 6 months of validity left for re-entry
    • Valid J-1 Visa Stamp
      • Exception: Scholars that travel to Canada, Mexico, or the qualifying adjacent Caribbean islands for a period of 30 days or less may re-enter the U.S. using an expired J visa stamp provided they have:
        • Valid Form DS-2019 with current travel signature
        • Valid Passport
        • Not all scholars qualify for this exception. For more information on the Automatic Visa Revalidation exception please visit: Department of State AVR Page
      • Exception: Canadian citizens are not required to have Machine Readable Visa (MRV) stamps in their passport
    • Valid Form DS-2019 that has been endorsed for travel
      • Travel signature for Short Term Scholars is valid for 6 months or duration of program, whichever is sooner
      • Travel signature for Research Scholars/Professors is valid for 1 year or duration of program, whichever is sooner

    Travel for extended periods of time can be pre-authorized by an advisor in the Center for Global Programs & Studies, particularly if the travel is in conjunction with purposes related to Wake Forest University. Please consult with GPS before departing the U.S. for any extended periods of time.

  • H-1B/O-1/E-3 Employees

    In order to return to the United States after a visit abroad, H-1B, E-3 and O-1 temporary workers need to present:

    • Valid passport (valid 6 months beyond H-1B, E-3 or O-1 approval expiration);
    • Valid H-1B, E-3 or O-1 visa stamped in the passport
      • Exception: Employees that travel to Canada or Mexico for a period of 30 days or less may re-enter the U.S. using an expired H, E, or O visa stamp provided they have:
        • Valid Employee Portion of the I-797 approval notice
        • Valid Passport
        • Not all employees qualify for this exception. For more information on the Automatic Visa Revalidation exception please visit: Department of State AVR Page
      • Exception: Canadian citizens are not required to have Machine Readable Visa (MRV) stamps in their passport
    • Employee portion of the I-797 approval notice (not required for E-3); and
    • Copy of their most recent pay stub (recommended)