Traveling Outside of the United States:

When reentering the U.S. after traveling outside of the country, you must be prepared to show the Border Patrol the following documents:

  • Continuing/Currently Enrolled Students
    • Original I-20 signed for travel within the last 12 months
    • Passport (Valid 6-month into Future)
    • Valid M-1 Visa Stamp (if applicable)
    • Proof of Enrollment – Enrollment Verification from the Registrar

*Travel signatures are endorsed on page 2 of your I-20.

In order to reenter the US after traveling outside of the country, you must have a travel signature on your I-20 – this signature confirms that you are a full-time student maintaining lawful status.  To obtain a travel signature please visit the Office of International Affairs for an appointment and come on the day of your appointment with your passport, I-94 card/electronic printout and Form I-20.

Students (and dependents) may leave the US and return as long as they are within their program dates.  Travelers must have a valid passport, valid visa and a travel signature on their I-20 to be eligible to re-enter the US.  If an M-1 student is traveling to Canada and/or Mexico ONLY and their visa is expired, they will be allowed to reenter the United States as long as they have been gone for less than 30 days.  An M-1 student will not be allowed to reenter on an expired visa if they have visited any of the adjacent islands (Bahamas, Puerto Rico, etc.)


  • M-1 students with expired U.S. visas who are traveling to Canada, Mexico or adjacent islands for up to 30 days, who will not be applying for a new U.S. visa while there, AND who will be resuming their studies upon their return should NOT surrender their I-94 card (if applicable).  Discuss this with the Office of International Affairs before traveling.
  • Canadian or Mexican nationals returning to their home country should surrender their I-94 card as they enter their country, and obtain a new I-94 card when re-entering the U.S.
  • Canadian nationals should be sure to carry with them their financial documentation that verifies the information on their SEVIS Form I-20 when returning to the United States.
  • Absence from the United States for more than five months requires a new SEVIS Form I-20 and M-1 Visa for reentry. Be sure to notify the Office of International Affairs no less than 45 days prior to return to the U.S. of your intention to return.


Traveling Within the United States:

If you are planning a trip within the United States it is important that you have your I-20, passport, visa, and Mahanaim ID card with you for ALL distance travel, even travel within New York State.

You and your dependents may be surprised to learn that federal law requires that you carry “registration” documentation at all times. This includes basic identification documents such as a passport, current I-20, and I-94. For day-to-day purposes, we suggest you keep these documents in a secure location, such as a fire-proof deposit box. However, if you are traveling within the U.S. you should carry these documents with you, as proof of your status may be required before boarding when traveling by air, train, bus, or ship.

If you are applying for a change of non-immigrant status, have an immigration petition or EAD card application pending, be sure to carry your U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services (USCIS) receipt notice (green Form I-797). This notice proves that you have an application pending with USCIS.