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Travel Outside of the US

There are logistical risks to consider before purchasing tickets or departing from the U.S. Over the last several weeks there has been a slight easing of border restrictions and airlines are gradually adding more international flights. *If you are a student who needs to renew the U.S. visa with a face-2-face interview at your home country U.S. Embassy, you may not receive a visa interview date for you to return to the U.S. Even if you receive a visa interview date, it may get cancelled 1-2 days before your interview date, and you may be stuck until the pandemic is over to return to the U.S. We currently have students who are not able to secure a U.S. visa appointment date to return to the U.S. and this has been ongoing since the pandemic started in January for some countries.   If infection rates increase again over the winter (as projected) it’s certainly possible that travel back to the U.S. could again become difficult, expensive, or even may not be possible. 

U.S. Department of State and U.S. Customs and Border Protection can function anyway possible to protect the United States and it is out of anyone’s control.  If the COVID-19 numbers are high the President of the United States may issue new proclamations preventing students from returning to the U.S.  If you do find yourself unable to travel back to the U.S. by the start of the spring 2021 term you may not be able to receive support as a TA, GA, or RA, or other scholarships if applicable.  It would be important to evaluate that risk and have a backup plan in place before you embark on your travel.

If you plan to leave the U.S. for any reason, you must have the following documents in order beforehand to be able to return to the U.S.:

Optional Practical Training Students

If you have completed your studies, you should NOT travel while waiting for your EAD card (Employment Authorization Document). Once you receive your EAD card, it is still very risky to travel while on OPT. You might not be allowed re-entry because your academic program is completed. OPT students must have a job offer to re-enter the U.S.

Travel Within the U.S.

All students: It is recommended that students carry all their immigration documents with them even when traveling domestically within the U.S.