Before you leave the United States, you must do the following:

  • Obtain a travel signature on I-20 or DS-2019
    • Be sure you have obtained the signature of the Designated School Official/Responsible Officer (DSO/RO) on the third page of your I-20 (for F-1 and F-2 students) or on the first page of your DS-2019 (for J-1 or J-2 students) two weeks before your departure.
  • Have a valid passport
    • Be sure your passport has not expired and that it will remain valid for at least six months before you plan to re-enter the U.S.
  • Have a valid visa
    • Be sure your visa (the sticker with photo placed in your passport at a U.S. consulate or embassy abroad) is valid and issued for the purpose for which you are here.
  • Have evidence of financial support
    • You will very likely be asked for this information if crossing the border from Canada or Mexico, and possibly if flying into a port of entry from any country.

Do you have an expired visa?

If you know that your visa has expired or will expire on the date you plan to re-enter the U.S., please set up an appointment with an ISSS Specialist to have it renewed. You must bring the following documents:

  • Evidence of financial support. This can include your most recent bank statement or a letter from your department if you have a graduate assistantship.
  • A new I-20/DS-2019 issued from Gallaudet.
  • Any I-20/DS-2019 previously issued to you by Gallaudet University and any other U.S. school you attended before enrolling at the Gallaudet University.
  • Gallaudet student identification card.
  • Official college transcript from the Registrar’s Office.
  • Letter certifying current enrollment from the Registrar’s Office. The deadline for requesting the letter is two weeks before your departure.
  • If you are engaged in Optional Practical Training (OPT, F-1 only), you must also take your current Employment Authorization Document (EAD) and a letter from your employer stating that you will be returning to resume your OPT.

Note: If you are a J-visa student and your DS-2019 was issued by another entity, such as the Institute of International Education (IIE), you must contact the responsible Officer whose information appears on your DS-2019 document to get a new one.

An important note to F-1 students who have applied for OPT and who wish to travel:

If you have applied for OPT and have not yet received the EAD card from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), you should be aware that leaving the U.S. before your OPT application has been processed may be considered by USCIS to be abandonment of your application. Also, if you try to re-enter the U.S. without your I-20 signed for travel within the last six months, or do not have your EAD card to show as proof that authorization has been granted, you may be denied entry. You may wish to speak with an International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) Advisor before proceeding with any travel plans.

Contact Us

International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS)

Building 103 #101/102

(202) 250-2294

(202) 651-5150

(202) 803-7546

9:00 am-5:00 pm
9:00 am-5:00 pm
9:00 am-5:00 pm
9:00 am-5:00 pm
9:00 am-5:00 pm

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