Your browser is unsupported

We recommend using the latest version of IE11, Edge, Chrome, Firefox or Safari.

Travel Guidance

This page is intended to provide travel resources and guidance to individuals who are currently in active status at UIC and planning to travel during their programs. If you are entering the U.S. for the first time to begin your UIC program or employment, please reference Arriving to the U.S. for information and resources.

General travel guidance Heading link

We encourage our entire international community to contact OIS prior to traveling internationally. Travel guidance and requirements vary depending on your status and you may need to request authorization from OIS prior to your departure if you intend to return to the U.S. to continue your current status/program.

When booking any type of travel arrangements, either domestic or international, ensure you book your airline ticket with the exact same spelling of your name as it appears in your passport (Machine Readable Zone – MRZ).

U.S. domestic travel Heading link

U.S. Domestic travel includes travel to the contiguous U.S., Alaska, Hawaii, and U.S. territories (Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, Marianas, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.)

We recommend you use your passport for photo ID and carry paper copies of your U.S. immigration documents (e.g. Form I-20, Form DS-2019, Form I-797 approval notice, Form I-94.)

International travel Heading link

International travel includes travel to/from non-U.S. destinations. Information provided on this page is for informational purposes only and may change without notice. Please check with OIS or the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Department of State for the most current travel information. For the most accurate information regarding entry procedures to the U.S., please see the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol website.

Recommended international travel documents by status

Depending on your status, you will need specific paperwork to re-enter the U.S. when traveling internationally. While documents marked with an asterisk (*) are not required for entry, we strongly recommend that you carry them in your hand luggage so that you can provide them as needed.

If you find that you need to replace or update an immigration document, please see Document Replacement.

  1. Passport – Valid for six months beyond the date of re-entry to the U.S.
  2. F-1 visa – Valid on the date of re-entry to the U.S. Canadian citizens do not need an F-1 visa in their passport but Canadian “Landed immigrants” (Permanent Residents, without Candian citizenship/passport) do. In certain cases, you may be able to re-enter the U.S. after a short trip to Canada or Mexico using AVR. See Automatic Visa Revalidation below.
  3. Form I-20 with valid travel signature – Original, hardcopy document signed by you and OIS in blue ink. OIS recommends that the travel authorization signature be no less than six months old on your date of re-entry to the U.S.
  4. SEVIS (I-901) fee payment* – It is recommended that you carry proof that you have paid the SEVIS I-901 fee. If needed, print your SEVIS fee receipt.
  5. Proof of enrollment* – It is recommended that you carry evidence of current full-time enrollment or future enrollment if you are traveling between academic terms. You can print a copy of your class schedule from the MyUIC portal.
  6. Evidence of financial support* – It is recommended that you carry copies of your financial support documents. Documents should reflect the funding sources on your DS-2019 and be dated within the past six months.

If you attempt to enter the U.S. without the appropriate documentation, you may receive a Form I-515A from the customs officer and you will have 30 days to correct your status or risk falling out of status. Contact OIS as soon as possible if you receive Form I-515A.

  1. Passport – Valid for six months beyond the date of re-entry to the U.S.
  2. J-1 visa – Valid on the date of re-entry to the U.S. and bearing the name of your current school or program. Canadian citizens do not need an J-1 visa in their passport but Canadian “Landed immigrants” (Permanent Residents, without Candian citizenship/passport) do. In certain cases, you may be able to re-enter the U.S. after a short trip to Canada or Mexico using AVR. See Automatic Visa Revalidation below.
  3. Form DS-2019 with valid travel signature – Original, hardcopy document signed by you and OIS (or your exchange program sponsor if not OIS) in blue ink. OIS recommends that the travel authorization signature be no less than six months old on your date of re-entry to the U.S.
  4. SEVIS (I-901) fee payment* – It is recommended that you carry proof that you have paid the SEVIS I-901 fee. If needed, print your SEVIS fee receipt.
  5. Proof of enrollment* – It is recommended that you carry evidence of current full-time enrollment or future enrollment if you are traveling between academic terms. You can print a copy of your class schedule from the MyUIC portal.
  6. Evidence of financial support* – It is recommended that you carry copies of your financial support documents. Documents should reflect the funding sources on your DS-2019 and be dated within the past six months.

If you attempt to enter the U.S. without the appropriate documentation, you may receive a Form I-515A from the customs officer and you will have 30 days to correct your status or risk falling out of status. Contact OIS as soon as possible if you receive Form I-515A.

  1. Passport – Valid for six months beyond the date of re-entry to the U.S.
  2. J-1 visa – Valid on the date of re-entry to the U.S. and bearing the name of your current school or program. Canadian citizens do not need an J-1 visa in their passport but Canadian “Landed immigrants” (Permanent Residents, without Candian citizenship/passport) do. In certain cases, you may be able to re-enter the U.S. after a short trip to Canada or Mexico using AVR. See Automatic Visa Revalidation below.
  3. Form DS-2019 with valid travel signature – Original, hardcopy document signed by you and OIS (or your exchange program sponsor if not OIS) in blue ink. OIS recommends that the travel authorization signature be no less than six months old on your date of re-entry to the U.S.
  4. SEVIS (I-901) fee payment* – It is recommended that you carry proof that you have paid the SEVIS I-901 fee. If needed, print your SEVIS fee receipt.
  5. Proof of UIC appointment* – It is recommended that you carry a copy of your UIC departmental appointment letter and UIC ID (if available.)
  6. Evidence of financial support* – It is recommended that you carry copies of your financial support documents. Documents should reflect the funding sources on your DS-2019 and be dated within the past six months.

International travel while applying for and participating in practical training can carry additional risks and considerations. Please refer to the appropriate page for more information.

Many of the documents needed for international travel are the same as you provided during your visa application process. Please see our UIC Employees page, travel, and visa process drop-down, for more information.

Please contact your sponsor and/or attorney for advice.  Some additional travel details may be found here.

Automatic Visa Revalidation

Generally speaking, if you travel outside of the U.S. and need to re-enter, you must have a valid/unexpired visa to return. There is an exception to this rule for some travelers when taking a short trip from the U.S. to Canada, Mexico, or the adjacent islands. The exception is called Automatic Visa Revalidation or AVR.

To utilize the AVR allowance, your travel must be to contiguous territories and for less than 30 days. Under AVR, your expired U.S. entry visa stamp is considered to be automatically extended to the date of your re-entry to the U.S., provided that your visa has not been canceled, and that you have not applied for a new visa. Rules governing AVR are found in the United States’ Code of Federal Regulation.

Contiguous territories for the purposes of AVR are:

  • Canada
  • Mexico
  • The adjacent islands: Saint Pierre, Miquelon, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Bermuda, the Bahamas, Barbados, Jamaica, the Windward and Lee Islands, Trinidad, Martinique, the other British, French, and Netherlands territories or possessions in or bordering on the Caribbean Sea.

AVR Exceptions and considerations:

  • AVR does not apply to individuals from Cuba, Syria, Sudan, or Iran.
  • AVR cannot be utilized by individuals who travel from a contiguous territory (e.g. Canada) to a non-contiguous country (e.g. Germany) and return to the U.S. via a contiguous territory (e.g. Canada).
  • AVR cannot be utilized if you have a pending or approved visa application.
  • H-1B workers are allowed to take advantage of AVR for travel to Canada and Mexico ONLY, not the adjacent islands. However, Mexican nationals traveling to Mexico must have a valid U.S. visa to reenter the U.S.
  • If you have changed your status while in the U.S. and hold a visa for the previous status (for example, you changed your status from F-1 to H-1B, but still only have an expired F-1 visa; you may still use AVR), You must bring the supporting documents for your new status.

Visas for travel to Mexico and Canada

If you intend to travel to Mexico or Canada, you may require a visa to enter either of those countries, depending on your citizenship. To confirm your need for a visa and how to obtain one, you must contact the Mexican or Canadian government, respectively. Please see below for resources.

Mexico

Canada