International Students & Scholars Office

Travel

TRAVEL WITHIN THE UNITED STATES

You are advised to carry your passport and immigration documents (your I-20, DS-2019, Form I-797 Approval Notice, Employment Authorization Card, etc.) with you when traveling within the U.S.; they will be required for a flight, but could also be requested on long trips where you are traveling by car, train or bus.

If you are traveling in and around the Lowell area make sure to always carry the following. A pdf version of these documents would be acceptable as you will be closer to home:
  • Copy of your I-94 card
  • Copy of your I-20, DS-2019 or Form I-797 Approval Notice
  • Copy of the biographical page of your passport
While it is extremely unlikely you would be questioned, having these documents with you provides immediate proof of your lawful status in the U.S.

TRAVEL OUTSIDE OF THE UNITED STATES
Below is a list of documents needed if you will be traveling outside of the U.S.:

For F-1 and J-1 Students:
  • Valid Passport: Your passport must be valid for 6 months into the future beyond the expiration date listed on your SEVIS I-20, DS-2019,
  • Valid U.S. visa (F-1, J-1): The visa stamp in your passport must be valid on the date of return to the U.S. If you have an expired passport with a valid U.S. visa, you do not need to apply for a new visa stamp as long as you carry both passports (the expired passport with valid visa stamp & new passport).
  • Travel Signature on your SEVIS I-20 or DS-2019: Your I-20 or DS-2019 must have been signed by an International Students & Scholars Office (ISSO) advisor within the last 12 months of your intended re-entry date. Students and Scholars with visa documents issued by another program (e.g. Fulbright) must contact their sponsor at least two or three weeks prior to traveling in order to obtain the necessary travel signature.
  • Proof of your current registration
F-1 Students on Post Completion OPT:
  • Valid Passport: Your passport must be valid for 6 months into the future beyond the OPT expiration date listed on your I-20,
  • Valid U.S. visa (F-1): The visa stamp in your passport must be valid on the date of return to the U.S. If you have an expired passport with a valid U.S. visa, you do not need to apply for a new visa stamp as long as you carry both passports (the expired passport with valid visa stamp & new passport).
  • Travel Signature on your SEVIS I-20: Your I-20 must have been signed by an International Students & Scholars Office (ISSO) advisor within the last 6 months of your intended re-entry date. Students visa documents issued by another academic institution must contact their sponsor at least two or three weeks prior to traveling in order to obtain the necessary travel signature.
  • A valid Employment Authorization Document
  • Job Offer Letter
For H1-B or O-1 Visa Holders:
  • A letter from your department verifying your affiliation with UMass Lowell
  • Form I-797 H1-B or O-1 Approval notice
  • Most recent paystubs from UMass Lowell
  • A valid passport valid at least 6 months into the future from the end date on your I-797 Approval Notice
For TN Visa Holders:
  • A letter from your department verifying your affiliation at UMass Lowell
  • Your most recent paystubs from UMass Lowell
  • A valid passport valid at least 6 months beyond your requested date of employment

VISA RENEWAL AND INTERVIEW INFORMATION

If your visa has expired, you will need to allow enough time to apply for a new visa. We recommend consulting with the U.S. Embassy/Consulate where you plan to apply for a visa well in advance. Be forewarned that certain countries and certain disciplines may subject you to a Security Clearance/Administrative Processing. Whenever possible, schedule a visa interview appointment before you leave the U.S. (For a list of Embassies please go to www.usembassy.gov).

The ISSO suggest you bring the following documents to your visa interview in addition to the documents mentioned under “Travel Outside of the United States” above. Make sure to visit the website of the U.S. Embassy or Consulate to which you will apply for any additional documentation they may require.

If you are in F-1 or J-1 Visa Status, please take the following:
  • Official UMass Lowell Transcript which can be obtained through the
UMass Lowell Solution Center – do not open the envelope.
  • Travel Signature on I-20 (for both F-1 student/F-2 dependents) or DS-2019 (for J-1 students/J-2 dependents signed within the last year. Those with visa documents issued by another program sponsor must contact their sponsor at least two or three weeks prior to traveling in order to obtain the necessary travel signature.
  • Financial Documentation that serves as proof of financial support reflected on your I-20 or DS-2019. This can be in the form of a bank statement, departmental funding letter or government issued financial document
  • Graduate Students should take a brief description of their research signed by their Academic Advisor
If you are in H1-B or O-1 Visa Status, please take the following:
  • A letter from your department verifying your affiliation with UMass Lowell
  • Form I-797 H1-B or O-1 Approval notice
  • Most recent paystubs from UMass Lowell
  • A passport valid at least 6 months into the future from the end date on your I-797 Approval Notice
  • A recent C.V
  • Copy of H1-B or O-1 petition submitted to USCIS from UMass Lowell
If you are in TN Visa Status, please take the following:
  • A letter from your from your department verifying your affiliation at UMass Lowell
  • Academic credentials
  • Birth Certificate
  • Your most recent paystubs from UMass Lowell
  • A passport valid at least 6 months beyond your requested date of employment

TRAVEL TO CANADA, MEXICO OR ADJACENT ISLANDS

Citizens of certain countries need to apply for a tourist visa to enter Canada or Mexico. Please visit the Canadian Consulate website or the Embassy of Mexico website for specific information regarding tourist visa requirements.

AUTOMATIC REVALIDATION

Most students and scholars do not need a new U.S. visa to return to the U.S. after visiting an adjacent country. This process is known as “automatic revalidation”. Citizens of Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Syria and Sudan are not eligible for this process known as Automatic Revalidation. The provision allows certain U.S. visa holders to re-enter the U.S. after a visit of less than 30 days to a "contiguous territory" (Canada, Mexico, and the "adjacent islands other than Cuba") without having to obtain a new visa prior to re-entry. Students and scholars in F and J visa status who are maintaining lawful non-immigrant status in the United States, and who travel to Canada, Mexico or the U.S. Caribbean islands, for 30 days or less, can re-enter the U.S. with:
  • Printed I-94 Card (Please go to www.cbp.gov/I94 to print your I-94 card)
  • Valid passport
  • Current Form I-20 or DS-2019 (with valid travel signature)
  • Previously-issued U.S. embassy visa stamp (which could be expired, or even in a different category than the I-94 if a change of status has been approved in the U.S.).
For H1-B and O-1 Visa holders, in addition to above please bring:
  • I-797 for H1-B or O-1 Approval Notice
  • Current Employment letter from UMass Lowell
  • Copy of most recent paystub
  • Copy of H1-B or O-1 petition submitted to USCIS from UMass Lowell
Automatic revalidation of visa does NOT apply if:
  • You apply for a new U.S. visa in Canada, Mexico or the adjacent islands. This means if you apply for a new visa you must wait until that visa is issued to return to the U.S.
  • You travel to any other country before returning to the U.S. from Canada or Mexico.

The ISSO advises that you speak to an advisor in the ISSO before traveling to Canada, Mexico or adjacent islands.

MEET WITH AN ISSO ADVISOR

In the following cases, you must meet with an ISSO advisor at least two weeks before departure if:
  • You need to renew/apply for a new visa
  • You will be out of the U.S. for more than five months
  • You are planning to travel to Mexico or Canada to renew or change your U.S. entry visa
  • Your I-20 or DS-2019 has expired or will expire within 30 days of your expected return to the U.S.