Travel Signature

To return to the U.S. after travel abroad, you must have a valid travel signature on your I-20/DS-2019.

Travel signatures are on page 2 of your I-20 in the Travel Endorsement box and on page 1 of your DS-2019 in the Travel Validation box. If you have a signature on your most recent I-20 or DS-2019, look at the DATE ISSUED field. The signature is valid for 12 months from the date of issuance.*

* If you are on Post-Completion OPT or STEM OPT, you are still required to have a travel signature issued within the last six months and your EAD card to enter the U.S. This is a federal regulation.

If you are planning to travel abroad and your travel signature will expire before you return, you will need to get a new travel signature before you depart the U.S. The only people who can sign your I-20 are the staff of International Affairs.

To get a travel signature you must be registered full-time for the next semester (unless you are graduating or have completed the Exception to Full Course of Study Form and been approved by OIA or are currently on OPT) -- No Exceptions!

  • The travel signature is required to return to the U.S. It is not required to leave the U.S. If your current travel signature will expire before you will return to the U.S., you must come to the OIA and get a new travel signature before you leave.
  • The signature is valid for twelve months from the date of issuance. You do not need to return for another travel signature if you will be departing and returning within that twelve month period.
  • The travel signature is issued by an OIA Advisor as confirmation that you are maintaining your F-1 or J-1 student status.

​** If you are traveling within the U.S. and will not be leaving the country, you do not require a travel signature.

F-1 Student traveling while studying at Pratt

If you are traveling outside the U.S., make sure to carry these required documents for travel and re-entry to the U.S.

OIA also recommends that you carry these items whenever traveling within the U.S.:

  1. An unexpired passport (valid at least six months into the future)
  2. An unexpired I-20 or DS-2019 with a travel signature that will be valid upon your return to the U.S.
  3. An unexpired F-1 or J-1 visa valid for further entries into the U.S.
  4. Enrollment verification letter acquired at the Registrar’s Office
  5. Proof of financial ability, i.e., documentation verifying your funding source as indicated in Financials Box of your I-20 or Section 5 of the DS-2019; this may include personal or family bank statements, affidavits of support, or copies of your scholarship letter

The OIA recommends that you make photocopies of your documents to keep with you while traveling and/or scan documents to keep in easily available digital storage like Dropbox or Google Drive for safekeeping and quick access.

* If you are traveling during the semester and will be missing classes, you will need to fill out an additional form in the office and provide us with proof that you have contacted your professors regarding your travel plans. This proof can be in the email you sent to your professor.

 

Traveling while on OPT

If you are traveling outside the United States, make sure to carry these required documents for travel and re-entry to the U.S. OIA also recommends that you carry these items whenever traveling within the U.S.:

  1. An unexpired passport (valid at least six months into the future)
  2. A signature given within the last 6 months on the I-20 with the OPT recommendation (also bring all I-20s ever issued to you, even I-20s from language schools and high schools)
  3. An unexpired F-1 or J-1 visa valid for further entries into the United States
  4. Your original EAD (Employment Authorization Document) from USCIS
  5. If you have a job, carry a letter on company letterhead that states your:
    1. job title
    2. job description
    3. salary
    4. begin and end dates of your employment
    5. statement that the employer expects you back to work on a given date

If you do not have a job, it is highly risky to travel. Visit OIA to talk to an advisor.

Trouble at the airport? Have you ever been sent to “Secondary?” Did you have any questioning from a CBP officer? Please see information here and report it to the Department of Homeland Security.



I-94 Record

The I-94 is your lawful record of admission to the U.S. This is a digital document in most cases, although if you enter via land through Canada or Mexico, complete a Change of Status in the U.S. or travelled before 2003, you may have a paper card in your passport.

The I-94 record changes each time you enter the U.S. and contains:

  • Your Admission (I-94) Record Number
  • Most Recent Date of Entry
  • Class of Admission
  • Period of admittance in the United States

For more information and to retrieve your I-94 Record at any time, go to: i94.cbp.dhs.gov.