Travel Plans Abroad

According to U.S. law, a non-immigrant visa student may be readmitted to the United States after an absence of five months or less, provided that they have maintained lawful full-time F-1 status during their stay in the United States.

There may be visa regulations that limit the amount of time you can travel abroad, and you may have trouble re-entering the United States. Consult your international student advisor who serves as DSO before you make a decision to leave the United States for vacation. A DSO is required to work with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service Office to maintain records of every international student at KSU.

Please be advised that international students will not be given preferential treatment during the scheduling of midterm and/or final examinations. In order to re-enter the United States after traveling abroad as an international student, consult your advisor prior to taking a term off. If your visa stamp is expired, you need to renew it in your home country. You must present the following documents to the U.S. immigration inspector upon arriving at a U.S. airport or other Port of Entry (POE), similar to your first entry:

  • Valid passport with valid visa stamp
  • Evidence of full time enrollment for two semesters
  • Transcripts
  • Record of registration for the following semester
  • DSO signed travel page of your current I-20. Check to make sure that the travel signature on your document is not older than six months
  • I-94
  • Proof of adequate financial support. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has recently stated that returning, as well as first time students, may be required to provide financial documentation in order to enter the United States.
  • Your KSU student ID

Travel Signatures & FAQs from US ICE

Make sure you have a valid travel signature from your DSO prior to returning to the U.S. after international travel!

  • You must have a valid travel signature on your I-20 or DS-2019 to return to the U.S. after travel abroad.
  • Each signature is valid for one year. (F-1 students on OPT: the travel signature is valid for six months).
  • A travel signature is issued by your DSO to confirm you are maintaining your F-1 or J-1 student status.
  • The travel signature is required for returning to the U.S. It is not required for leaving the U.S.
  • If your current travel signature will expire before you will return to the U.S., you must request an updated travel signature.
  • The travel signature is on page 2 of your I-20 or the front page of your DS-2019.

Emergency Travel

If it happens you have an emergency travel need and you are not able to reach out to a DSO, just go ahead and depart the U.S.

The travel signature is required for returning to the U.S. but not required at the time you depart the U.S. Then we can ship you a new document with the travel signature to you before you return to the U.S.. Please be advised that you may be asked to pay the shipping fee.

However, if your travel plans do not allow enough time for us to mail you a new valid document, then you must either change your anticipated return date, or travel without a valid travel signature on your I-20 or DS-2019.

If you choose to return without a valid travel signature on your I-20, the Customs and Border Protection officer at the U.S. Port of Entry will issue you an I-515 form. If not, please request Form I-515A at the immigration port of entry. This form would allow you temporary admission to the U.S. for 30 days.  If you receive a Form I-515A, alert your DSO as soon as you arrive on campus. It is critically important you work with your DSO to address the Form I-515A within the 30 days given to you.

Please note that temporary admission with an I-515 is at the discretion of the CBP officer and cannot be guaranteed by OIA. On rare occasions you may be denied entry to the U.S., and you should be aware of this risk before travelling.

FAQs from the U.S. ICE ( This link will take you to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement website of frequently asked travel questions