Re-entry to the U.S.

F-1 Student

To be re-admitted to the U.S. as an F-1 student, you must present the following documents:

  • Your passport, which must be valid for at least six months on the day that you re-enter the U.S. If you recently renewed your passport, you may need to carry your old expired passport, too, if your F-1 visa is in your expired passport. An exception to this rule exists for certain countries having agreements with the U.S. to extend the validity of passports. People with passports issued by one of those countries can enter the U.S. until the date the passport expires. As a reminder, you should always keep your passport valid while you are in the U.S. To extend, renew or replace your passport, please contact one of the embassies and consulates nearest Michigan.
  • A valid F-1 visa stamp in your passport (except Canadians). In most situations, the F-1 visa must be valid on the day you will enter the U.S. (see Visa Requirements; for exception, see Automatic Revalidation of Visa).
  • Your currently valid I-20 immigration document with a recent travel signature on page 2 of your I-20. It should have been signed by the U-M International Center after you arrived to begin your study. The signature must be less than one year old on the day you will re-enter the U.S. If you need to request a new travel signature, refer to the I-20 Travel Signature Drop-Off form.

You may wish to bring copies of financial documentation and your student transcript as an additional precaution when traveling. If you feel you may come under increased scrutiny, you may want to get a letter from your department that says that you are a student in good standing with the University.

For more information, refer to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement SEVIS FAQs.

J-1 Student and Scholar

To be re-admitted to the U.S. as a J-1 student or scholar (exchange visitor), you must present the following documents:

  • Your passport, which must be valid for at least six months on the day that you re-enter the U.S. If you recently renewed your passport, you may need to carry your old expired passport, too, if your J-1 visa is in your expired passport. An exception to this rule exists for certain countries having agreements with the U.S. to extend the validity of passports. People with passports issued by one of those countries can enter the U.S. until the date the passport expires. As a reminder, you should always keep your passport valid while you are in the U.S. To extend, renew or replace your passport, please contact one of the embassies and consulates nearest Michigan.
  • A valid J-1 visa stamp in your passport (except Canadians). In most situations, the J-1 visa must be valid on the day you enter the U.S. (see Visa Requirements; for exception, see Automatic Revalidation of Visa).
  • Your currently valid DS-2019 immigration document with a recent handwritten travel validation. If you need to request a new travel signature, refer to the DS-2019 Travel Signature Drop-Off form. The travel validation is in the bottom right corner of your DS-2019 and should have been signed by the U-M International Center after you arrived to begin your program. The signature must be no more than one year old on the day you will re-enter the U.S. If you need to request a new travel signature, please see the travel signature form.

As an additional precaution when traveling, you may wish to bring copies of financial documentation and if you are a student, your transcript. If you feel you may come under increased scrutiny, you may want to get a letter from your department that says that you are a scholar, employee, or student in good standing with U-M.

If you are a J-1 student on academic training, you should carry evidence of your academic training position and your academic training authorization letter.

F-2 or J-2 Dependent

For dependents, your required documents are quite similar to your husband or wife or parent who is student or scholar.

To be re-admitted to the U.S. as an F-2 or J-2 dependent, you must present the following documents:

  • Your passport, which must be valid for at least six months on the day that you re-enter the U.S. If you recently renewed your passport, you may need to carry your old expired passport, too, if your F-2 or J-2 visa is in your expired passport. An exception to this rule exists for certain countries having agreements with the U.S. to extend the validity of passports. People with passports issued by one of those countries can enter the U.S. until the date the passport expires. As a reminder, you should always keep your passport valid while you are in the U.S. To extend, renew or replace your passport, please contact one of the embassies and consulates nearest Michigan.
  • A valid F-2 or J-2 visa stamp in your passport (except Canadians). In most situations, the visa must be valid on the day you will enter the U.S. (see Visa Requirements; for exception, see Automatic Revalidation of Visa).
  • Your currently valid I-20/DS-2019 immigration document with a recent handwritten travel signature on page 2 of your I-20 or the bottom right corner of your DS-2019. It should have been signed by the U-M International Center after you arrived. The signature must be less than one year old on the day you will re-enter the U.S. If you or your F-1 or J-1 spouse needs to request new travel signatures, refer to the I-20 Travel Signature Drop-Off Form or the DS-2019 Travel Signature Drop-Off Form.

You may wish to bring copies of your financial documentation and the F-1 student transcript, or the J-1 scholar's offer letter of the position, as an additional precaution when traveling.

If the F-1 or J-1 is on post-completion Optional Practical Training (OPT) or Academic Training (AT), you should carry photocopies of the F-1 or J-1 documents indicating authorization for work permission. For F-1, this would include I-20, EAD card, and evidence of job. For J-1, it would be the DS-2019, Academic Training authorization letter, and evidence of job.

For more information, refer to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement SEVIS FAQs.