Traveling Home or Abroad
F-1 students planning to return home or visit another country should make sure their I-20 form is valid and has been signed on page 3 by an ACU Designated School Official within the past 6 months. If you need a travel signature, please bring your I-20 to the CIE at least a week before your travel dates.
If your U.S. visa is not valid, you will need to renew it at a US Embassy or Consulate in your home country before you return to the U.S. Recommended documents for visa renewal include an official ACU transcript (in a sealed envelope), your I-20 signed for travel, current official scholarship and financial documents, your I-901 receipt, and an enrollment letter. J-1 students traveling abroad should make sure the DS-2019 form is valid and signed for travel, have your I-901 receipt, and bring updated financial documents along to the visa interview. The I-901 receipt can be reprinted from fmjfee.com (click the ‘check status’ button).
Students who need an I-20 or other documents sent to them by express mail will be responsible for the postage costs. Please refer to the page on shipping documents for instructions. To avoid high mailing costs, remember to get your I-20 signed and prepare necessary documents for your visa renewal BEFORE you leave the U.S.
Travel to a Third Country
If you plan to travel to a country outside the U.S. that is not your passport country, make sure you have the proper entry visa for the destination country. For example, an Indian citizen should go to the German embassy website to see if s/he needs a visa to visit Germany.
Visits to Mexico and Canada or Adjacent Islands in the Caribbean
Automatic Visa Revalidation
An F-1 or J-1 student in good immigration status who travels to Canada, Mexico or “adjacent islands” in the Caribbean (except Cuba) for less than 30 days can reenter the U.S. using an expired F-1 or J-1 visa. To qualify for this revalidation of the expired visa, you must have a valid passport, a current I-20 or DS-2019 form with recent travel signature, your I-94 card, and a visa stamp in your passport. The I-94 card is required to be eligible for the automatic visa revalidation. We also recommend you bring all previous I-20s or DS-2019 forms. Students must take care not to travel to any Central American or other non-contiguous islands, as this will make them ineligible for the visa revalidation. Students are generally not allowed to apply for a new visa outside of their home country. However, if you apply for a visa while in Canada or Mexico, you will not be eligible for the visa revalidation due to this application. Here is the legal reference in case you need it: 22 CFR 41.112(d)(1)(i)-(vii) and 8CFR 214.1. If you are planning a trip and hope to use the Automatic Visa Revalidation, we recommend you speak with the Immigration Specialist before you go.
Additional travel information is available on the DHS website here