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Graduate International Student Admissions

Traveling Outside the US

Students who travel outside the US and intend to return the US in F-1 status must have the following documents upon reentry:

  • Valid F-1 visa
  • Valid passport with an expiration date that is at least six months valid for at least six months after the date of reentry, unless exempt from the passport requirement.
  • UT Tyler Form I-20 signed on page 3 by the graduate international student advisor :
    • Current students – the advisor travel signature must be valid within the last 12 months of date of re-entry of US.
    • OPT students - the advisor travel signature must be valid within the last 6 months of date of re-entry of US.
    • Additional documents for students on Post-Completion and 17-Month Extension OPT:
      • OPT Employment Authorization Card
      • Proof of Employment

Advisor Travel Signature

Students who require the graduate international student advisor’s signature on page 3 of their Form I-20 for travel should contact the advisor.

Automatic Visa Revalidation

Students may be eligible to depart and reenter the US with an expired F-1 visa if they meet the following criteria:

  • Travel is to Canada, Mexico, or adjacent Caribbean islands
  • Travel is 30 days or less
  • Have a valid I-94
  • Purpose of travel is not to apply for renewal of US visa
  • Citizens of Cuba, Iran, North Korean, Sudan, or Syria are not eligible

To travel with automatic visa revalidation, students should not surrender their I-94 when departing the US.  They will present their I-94 at the port of entry at the time of reentry.  A new I-94 will not be issued.

Please note that this process refers only to reentry to the US. Students are advised to determine if a visa is necessary to enter Canada, Mexico, or adjacent Caribbean islands.

Travel Greater than Five Months

Students lose F-1 nonimmigrant status if they remain outside the US for more than five months. To reenter the US in F-1 status after an absence longer than five months, students must obtain a new initial Form I-20 and a new F-1 visa. These students must be a full-time student for one academic year before they are eligible for off-campus employment.