In order to re-enter the U.S. on your student visa after a temporary absence such as a vacation, you must have the following documents:
- Passport valid for at least 6 months into the future: Some countries have the expiration dates of the passports automatically extended for 6 months based on an agreement with the U.S. If your country of citizenship is on this list, you may enter the U.S. using your passport until its actual expiration date. If your passport will expire, contact your consulate.
- F-1 visa valid for further entries: You should always be aware of the expiration date and the number of entries allowed on your visa. Most visas have "M" written under entries. This means that there is no limit on the number of entries for which you can use your visa. If your visa is expired or you have already used the number of entries you are allowed, you will need to apply for a new F-1 visa in order to re-enter the U.S. For students from certain countries automatic visa revalidation is available for travel to Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean.
- Valid I-20 with travel signature on page #3. The signature (in the bottom left-hand corner of your I-20) tells the immigration inspector at the port of entry that you are maintaining valid F-1 status. The signatures are valid for 12 months from the date of signature, although you may have the I-20 signed more frequently if you wish.
Entry Visas to Other Countries
To travel outside the U.S. to a country other than your home country, an entry visa may be required. Call that country's embassy or consulate in the U.S. for information. For a list of all embassies and consulates in the U.S. visit www.embassy.org.
Mexico and Canada
All students traveling to Mexico or Canada should contact the Embassy or Consulate of Canada or Mexico in the USA contact the Canadian or Mexican consulate to find out about entry requirements and restrictions. Requirements and restrictions are determined by your country of citizenship and by how far you will travel from the U.S. border. Generally if traveling to the border zone of Mexico (ie.Tijuana) for less than 72 hours a tourist visa (FMT) is NOT required.
Mexican Consulate in San Diego
1549 India St., San Diego, CA 92101
Tel: (619) 231-8414 | Fax: (619) 231-4802
Canadian Consulate in Los Angeles
550 South Hope Street, 9th Floor
Los Angeles, CA 90071-2627
Tel: (213) 346-2700 | Fax: (213) 620-8827