You may remain in the U.S. and maintain lawful F-1 status during holidays and vacation periods including summer provided that you are eligible and intend to register for the next school term and the "completion of studies" date on your I-20 will not be reached before you resume your studies.
You may travel freely within the U.S. provided you maintain your lawful F-1 status and have a valid passport, I-20 and I-94 in your possession.
Students often travel home for holidays and during the summer breaks. Whenever your travel plans involve leaving the U.S. for a short period of time and returning to MCC to continue your studies, you need to make sure that your travel papers are in order. Prior to leaving the U.S., preferably about the same time you are making your travel arrangements, you need to check the following:
If you answered yes to all of these questions, you can most likely travel without having to see your international student advisor to get a travel signature. However, if you answered no to any of these, you should make an appointment to discuss your travel plans with your international student advisor.
Also, please be advised that you should check with the consulate of the country you wish to visit to determine if a visa for that country is needed.
If you need to renew your passport, contact the consulate or embassy representing your home country in the U.S., or the appropriate authorities in your home country.
What documents do I need to renew my visa? Check the website http://travel.state.gov/ to see exactly what documents, including forms and photos, you need to bring to the consulate.
F-1 students and F-2 dependents need (or may need - officers do not always ask for all these documents):
It depends on your situation. But now, more than ever, all students are advised to go to the consulate to renew their visas at the earliest possible opportunity to avoid possible delays. Ask for a visa "renewal" appointment. Do not wait until the end of your stay abroad. If you know you will be required to appear in person at the consulate, try to make an appointment with the consulate even before you leave the U.S. Go to http://travel.state.gov/visa/temp/wait/wait_4638.html for more information.
Ask the consular officer to give you a written explanation for the denial. Contact us immediately and supply details about your visa interview. Give us the date and place of the denial and, if possible, the name of the consular officer who issued it. Usually, if it is clear there has been a misunderstanding, or if your documents weren't acceptable to the consul, we can provide the additional information needed to help you get the visa. Sometimes, though, we can do nothing to help. The law concerning visas gives consular officers very wide latitude, so their decisions can seem arbitrary.
If your current visa will expire next semester, you might want to go ahead and renew it. Many Consulate Offices have an expedited process for renewals.
You will be considered a returning student after a temporary absence of less than five months provided that your current I-20 contains valid travel signatures that are not more than six months old.
If you have been outside the U.S. for more than five months, you will need new documents (I-20) and you will need to be enrolled for another full academic year before being eligible for optional practical training.
F-1 visa holders may travel outside the U.S. during their period of OPT. The following documents are needed to re-enter the U.S.:
If you have applied for Optional Practical Training (OPT) but have not yet received the Employment Authorization Document (EAD card) from immigration, you should be aware that leaving the U.S. before your OPT application has been processed by immigration may be considered abandoning your application. Also, if you try to re-enter the U.S. and do not have your I-20 signed for travel within the last six months and do not have your EAD card to show as proof that authorization has been granted, you may be denied entry into the U.S. These are some factors to keep in mind when making travel plans.
Before you travel outside of the United States, you need to obtain endorsement for travel on the I-20 document, often referred to as a "travel signature." To qualify for a travel signature you need to maintain your F-1 status. The international student advisor will contact you if the travel signature cannot be issued to you. Depending on the nature of the violation of your status, you may need to apply for "reinstatement".
Certain foreign nationals are subject to special registration requirements. Please refer to the information on Special Registration Requirements at http://www.ice.gov/pi/specialregistration/index.htm.
If you have been subject to Special Registration (certain male non-immigrants who are citizens of Afghanistan,
Algeria, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Egypt, Eritrea, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco,
North Korea, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, and
Yemen, or some male and female citizens of other countries who were chosen to report for Special Registration
at a Port of Entry), please remember that every time you leave the U.S., you must leave only from a designated
Port of Departure and check in at the Customs and Border Patrol office at the Port on the day you leave. Failure
to do this could mean you will be prohibited from entering the U.S. upon your return. For a list of acceptable
Ports, please see the website at:
International students to not need to check out at a U.S. Visit kiosk when leaving the U.S. You do need to return the I-94 card to the airline or ship representative.
When you return to the U.S., you should be prepared to present the following documents: