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.
International travel cont... Heading link
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:
- 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.
International travel cont...Visas to Canada and Mexico Heading link
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.
- Institute of National Migration, “Immigration Procedures”
- Consulate General of Mexico in Chicago, Visa Information