Travel

Are you outside the Syracuse area and need a travel signature?

In order to get a new I-20/DS-2019 with a travel signature when you are outside the Syracuse area or outside the U.S., please send us the following information via our office email account lescis@syr.edu:

  1. Provide us your name and SUID number
  2. Attach scans of your passport (include expiration page) and visa
  3. Attach proof of health insurance valid for at least 6 months into the future. 
  4. Attach proof of medical evacuation and repatriation insurance (If you have HTH, your plan automatically provides this coverage, and you can skip this item)
    *NOTE: Most insurance plans offered by US companies do NOT include this coverage.  You can purchase coverage from FrontierMEDEX for less than $28/year.

For shipment of the replacement I-20/DS-2019, Syracuse University’s Slutzker Center for International Services can send the new I-20/DS-2019 to you by regular mail, which will take 4 – 6 weeks to reach you, or you may wish to have the new I-20/DS-2019 sent via express mail. In that case, Syracuse University’s Slutzker Center for International Services uses an express mail service that will allow you to receive your I-20 through DHL or FedEx in 3-5 days.  For instructions on processing the shipment of your documents, please see this page: Document Shipping Options



The Slutzker Center strongly recommends that all students attend a Travel Seminar before leaving the U.S.; travel regulations change frequently and individual advising is not possible for every student who plans to travel.

Travel Seminars Schedule

- First and third Wednesday of each month at 1:30pm
- Every Friday at 12pm 

Travel Signature: A travel signature from a Slutzker Center advisor is valid for ONE YEAR (6 months if on OPT). If you are uncertain about your status or are concerned about immigration issues pertaining to your particular case, you may request a travel signature more current than one year.

Please bring the following documents for you (and your dependents) in order to receive a travel signature:

  • Valid passport
  • I-20 or DS-2019
  • I-94 Card
  • Visa
  • Proof of health insurance valid for a full academic year.

Coverage should include Medical Evacuation and Repatriation coverage; if your plan does not include this, please purchase FrontierMEDEX.

An advisor will review your documents after the seminar and if they are all current and satisfactory, your I-20 or DS-2019 will be signed immediately.

The Basics

The following is a brief summary of the documents you should have with you whenever you travel, whether it's within the U.S. or abroad. You can also visit travel.state.gov for information about travel alerts or warnings, tips for traveling abroad, and how to obtain a US passport.  Another good resource is the ice.gov website's FAQ for F Non-immigrants.

Passport: In order to travel, your passport must be valid at least six months into the future, according to U.S. immigration law. Passports may be renewed at your country’s embassy or consulate in the U. S.  For a list of consulates in New York City, click here.

U.S. Visa: Check the U.S. visa stamp in your passport to see if your visa has expired. Check your visa stamp to be sure it is the category for the status you currently hold (for example, if your visa is for F-2, are you F-2 currently or have you changed your status to F-1 since the visa was issued)? Also check your visa stamp for the number of entries permitted.

I-20 or DS-2019: Be sure your I-20 or DS-2019 has not expired, and that it has a valid signature for travel. Full-time, matriculated students need to obtain a new signature within 12 months of your proposed entry date. Students on practical training must have a new signature within 6 months of your proposed entry date. Verify that the information on your I-20 or DS-2019 is still accurate.

I-94

  • Non-immigrant students entering the US by air or sea will be issued an electronic I-94 upon entry to the US.  Students should visit http://www.cbp.gov/I94 to access their electronic I-94 record.  Make sure that your I-94 record states the correct visa status (F-1/J-1) and the Admit Until Date is "D/S".  Print a copy for your records and send a copy to lescis@syr.edu so we can update your file.  You should access your I-94 after every new entry into the US. 
  • Non-immigrant students entering the US through a land border will continue to receive a paper I-94 card.  If you have a paper I-94 card stapled in your passport, you will need to surrender the I-94 card upon your next departure from the U.S. SPECIAL NOTE: F-1 and J-1 students with expired U.S. visas who are traveling to Canada, Mexico or adjacent islands for up to 30 days who will be resuming their studies upon their return should NEVER surrender their paper I-94 card.* Canadian or Mexican nationals returning to their home country should surrender their paper I-94 card the next time they leave the United States.

Additional Documentation

TRANSCRIPTS - It is highly recommended that F-1 and J-1 students who will need new U.S. visas carry copies of their transcripts with them to show the consular officials that you have been making satisfactory progress towards your degree. An increasing number of consulates are asking for transcripts when students come to renew F-1 visas. 

FINANCIAL DOCUMENTATION - It's a good idea to carry financial documentation when re-entering the U.S. You *must* have financial documentation with you if you will be applying for a new visa. 

PROOF OF IDENTITY - Carry your student picture ID card with you, and any old passports which you may still have. 

LETTER OF REGISTRATION FROM REGISTRAR’S OFFICE

Top Ten Travel Tips for Students

  1. Make sure you have a signed, valid passport and visas, if required. Also, before you go, fill in the emergency information page of your passport!
  2. Read the Consular Information Sheets (and Public Announcements or Travel Warnings, if applicable) for the countries you plan to visit.
  3. Leave copies of your itinerary, passport data page and visas with family or friends at home, so that you can be contacted in case of an emergency. Keep your family or host program informed of your whereabouts.
  4. Make sure you have insurance that will cover your emergency medical needs (including medical evacuation) while you are overseas.
  5. Familiarize yourself with local laws and customs of the countries to which you are traveling. Remember, while in a foreign country, you are subject to its laws!
  6. Do not leave your luggage unattended in public areas and never accept packages from strangers.
  7. While abroad, avoid using illicit drugs or drinking excessive amounts of alcoholic beverages, and associating with people who do.
  8. Do not become a target for thieves by wearing conspicuous clothing and expensive jewelry and do not carry excessive amounts of cash or unnecessary credit cards.
  9. Deal only with authorized agents when you exchange money to avoid violating local laws.
  10. When overseas, avoid demonstrations and other situations that may become unruly or where anti-American sentiments may be expressed.

Maintaining Status

Have you been maintaining the conditions of your non-immigrant status? If you are an F-1 or J-1 student, this means maintaining full time registration each semester at the school you are authorized to attend, refraining from unauthorized employment, not letting your I-20 or DS-2019 expire, and following the appropriate procedures for school transfer and extensions. J-1s are also required to have health and accident insurance for both themselves and their J-2 dependents, and the insurance must include a medical evacuation and repatriation benefit. If you think you may have violated the conditions of your status, be sure to speak to staff in the Slutzker Center for International Services BEFORE departing the U.S., as you may risk being denied permission to return.

Can I travel in the US or abroad? There are no restrictions on travel within the U.S. But you should make sure that you have made copies of all immigration and other important documents in case something happens to the originals. When you travel long distances from Syracuse, take with you the I-20 or DS-2019, passport, I-94, and proof of financial support.

Visits to Canada

When planning a trip to Canada, you should first check whether you will need to obtain a visa to enter Canada.

List of Countries Whose Citizens Require Canadian Visas: http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/visit/visas.asp

How to Apply for a Canadian Visa: http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/information/applications/visa.asp

Returning from Canada, Mexico, or Adjacent Islands: Automatic Visa Revalidation

In general, you must have a valid, unexpired visa to re-enter the U.S. after traveling abroad. If your visa expires, or if you change status while in the U.S., you must obtain a new visa at a U.S. consulate abroad. After short visits to Canada or Mexico, however, your expired non-immigrant visa (e.g., F-1, F-2, J-1, J-2, H-1, H-4) may be considered automatically revalidated for re-entry on that particular date. Those in F or J status may additionally qualify for automatic revalidation after travel from some of the adjacent islands. * If you have changed status within the U.S., automatic revalidation would also convert your visa to the appropriate category for that entry date. Automatic revalidation, however, only if you meet ALL of the following criteria:

  • You have only visited Canada or Mexico (or, for those in F or J status, the adjacent islands) for less than 30 days;
  • You are carrying a current I-94 card stating your valid non-immigrant status;
  • You are carrying your expired non-immigrant visa in your passport;
  • You do not apply for a U.S. visa while in Canada, Mexico, or the adjacent island;
  • You are not from one of the countries the U.S. government considers to be "state sponsors of terrorism" (currently Cuba, Iran, Sudan, and Syria). Nationals of these four countries MUST have an unexpired visa if they seek to reenter the U.S.

Tips for Using Automatic Revalidation:

  • I-94 Card: Be careful to keep your I-94 card when leaving the U.S. When you re-enter the U.S., you must present this I-94 card, your passport, expired visa, and your valid immigration document (I-20, DS-2019, or I-797 H-1 or O-1 approval notice).
  • Changes of Status: If you have been approved for a change of status within the U.S., be sure to carry with you documents showing your former status, the I-797 change of status approval notice, and your current immigration documents.
  • Do not apply for a U.S. Visa at a U.S. Consulate: Do not plan to use automatic revalidation if you apply for a visa in Canada, Mexico, or the adjacent islands. If you do apply, but are denied a visa, then you cannot use automatic revalidation. Of course, if you do apply for and are granted a visa, then you can use that new visa to re-enter the U.S.
  • Uncertain about whether you qualify for automatic revalidation?: If so, please stop by the Slutzker Center with your documents so an advisor can review your documents and help you determine your eligibility.

*Adjacent Islands (excluding Cuba): For those in F or J status (but NOT any other status), the automatic revalidation also works for visits of less than 30 days to the adjacent islands excluding Cuba. Adjacent Islands include: Saint Pierre, Miquelon, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Bermuda, the Bahamas, Barbados, Jamaica, the Windward and Leeward Islands, Trinidad, Martinique, and other British, French, and Netherlands territories or possessions in or bordering on the Caribbean Sea.

Read U.S. Customs and Border Protection's

VISA Application Requirements

Visa Forms: To apply for a new visa, you will need to complete DS-160 application form. The electronic form is available on the State Department web site. You will also need one photograph 1 and 1/2 inches square, showing full face, without head covering, against a light background. 

Visa and SEVIS Fees: You will need to have sufficient currency to pay the required visa fees, or a receipt showing that you have paid the visa fees. New F-1 and J-1 students and J-1 scholars must pay the SEVIS fee for their initial visa prior to their visa appointment. The SEVIS fee for F-1 students is $200; for J-1 students and scholars, $180. You can pay the fee online at www.FMJfee.com. Dependents do not have to pay the fee. Continuing students do not have to pay the fee unless they have fallen out of status and wish to re-enter the U.S. in valid status with a new, initial I-20 or DS-2019.

Immigration Documents: You will need your currently valid I-20 or DS-2019 form. If you are a continuing student, you must have a valid travel signature on page 3 of your I-20 or on page 1 of your DS-2019. If there has been a change in your program of study, level of program, or source of funding, you must obtain an updated I-20 or DS-2019 form the Slutzker Center. 

We strongly recommend that you carry an Enrollment Verification Letter from the Registrar’s Office, verifying your enrollment at Syracuse University.

Proof of Financial Support: You will also need to show proof of financial support to cover your tuition, fees, and living expenses for 12 months or the length of your program, whichever is shorter.

Non-Immigrant Intent: All non-immigrant student visa applicants must demonstrate that they have binding ties to their home country. You must therefore be prepared to show that you have no intention of abandoning your country, and that you plan to return to your home country upon the completion of your studies. Some U.S. consulates will ask you how you plan to use your U.S. education in your home country, so be ready to explain clearly your plans to return home. If you have any documents establishing your ties, such as home country bank statements or titles to your own personal property (e.g., a house or land), bring them with you to your visa interview.

Academic Transcripts (Returning Students): Many consulates will ask you to present copies of your academic transcripts to prove that you have been maintaining your student status in the U.S. and that you have been making satisfactory progress in your program. Plan to have copies with you, but do not present it to a consular officer unless specifically asked to do so.

For additional information regarding the visa process, please visit the Student Visas page at travel.state.gov.

Where and When to Apply

To locate the nearest Embassy or Consulate, please visit http://www.usembassy.gov/. If you are visiting your home country, you should apply at the U.S. consulate which has jurisdiction over your place of residence. If you will be traveling to a third country, you will need to apply for your visa at the U.S. consulate there. A consulate not in your home country will only issue you a visa if you can prove that you have been maintaining valid status while in the U.S.

It is possible that some U.S. consulates may choose not to accept visa applications except from residents of that country. Therefore, you may wish to contact the specific consulate you plan to visit PRIOR to your departure from the U.S., to be sure that they will accept an application from you.

Consulates in certain countries have instituted new procedures for visa renewal, as opposed to first-time visa applications. At some consulates and embassies, an interview is not required for a visa renewal. Instead, visa applications can be submitted at designated "drop-off" locations, or mailed. At others, visa interviews are still required.

In *all* cases, apply for your visa AS EARLY AS POSSIBLE! Consult the appropriate consulate/embassy to ascertain visa application procedures and requirements and approximate processing time. You can also visit the Visa Wait Times page at travel.state.gov to view the typical wait times for visa interviews and processing at the specific consulate/embassy where you plan to apply. Do not wait until the last minute, or you might have to delay your travel back to the U.S.

Transit Visas: Effective as of March 19, 2002 European Community countries began requiring “airport transit visas” from nationals of certain countries. Other countries may also require transit visas. It is crucial that you check the relevant web site of the embassy for each country that you are traveling through BEFORE YOU DEPART the U.S. Please note that you must obtain this visa transit BEFORE you travel.

Security Clearances and Delays

Please note that when you apply for a student visa, you may be subject to a security clearance that can cause delays of weeks or even months in the issuance of your visa and your travel to the U.S.

The following are two common types of security clearance that you might encounter:

Field of Study:  If a visa applicant's area of study is on the U.S. federal government’s “technology alert list,” which includes many of the science and technology fields, the U.S. consulate may seek a security clearance prior to granting the visa.  This process may delay your visa application by anywhere from one to three months.  There is no way to know for certain ahead of time whether you will be subject to this type of clearance.  If you work in one of the science or technology fields and are returning to the U.S. to resume your studies or research, we advise you to ask your supervisor or chair to write a letter that briefly describes the specific area of your research in layperson’s terms.  We also recommend that you carry with you a copy of your CV and one or two of your publications, if you have any.  These materials will not necessarily deter a security clearance, but they may expedite the clearance.

Country of Citizenship, Nationality or Birth:  A security clearance may also be required by the U.S. consulate if a visa applicant was born in or is a citizen or national of certain countries. The list of countries is not published, but seems to include the following:  Afghanistan, Algeria, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Cuba, Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Malaysia, Morocco, North Korea, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, Yemen, and the territories of Gaza and West Bank.

If you have applied for a visa and believe that a security advisory opinion will delay your travel to the U.S., please contact your degree program or department immediately so that they can arrange to defer your degree program start date and/or to cover your teaching or research duties.  If you have been waiting for more than one month for the results of a security advisory opinion, please contact the Slutzker Center to inform us of the delay.

Contacting a U.S. Consulate

If you have questions about visa application procedures or required documents, please contact the particular U.S. embassy or consulate where you plan to apply.

The State Department's Visa Office and many of the U.S. consular posts overseas have their own web sites that provided information on visa application procedures specific to the individual posts. Information on consular post policies, procedures and documentary requirements can be obtained via these web sites.

These sites may be accessed from the State Department's main web page. One feature that a number of the consulates have is an e-mail option. This may be used to ask specific questions of the consulate. The consulate web sites may prove to be a valuable resource for international students and scholars.

Web Sites of Foreign Embassies in the U.S.

Planning to Take a Cruise?

Worried that your flight might be delayed? Please contact your airline, the airport and check this website - http://www.fly.faa.gov