Global Learning

Travel Documents


Current Student: Documents to Carry

Just need a reminder? Current students should carry:
Printed Form I-20 – with valid PDSO or DSO signature within last 12 months

Post OPT and STEM OPT: Documents to Carry

Just need a reminder?  Documents to carry after graduation:

  • Original Employment Authorization Document (EAD or “OPT card”)
  • Employment verification letter from your employer or a letter showing a major-related job offer
  • Printed Form I-20 – with valid PDSO or DSO signature within last six months
  • Proof of I-901 SEVIS fee payment
  • Most recent I-94 admissions record
  • Unexpired passport 
  • Unexpired F-1 U.S. entry visa

Requesting a Travel Signature (Current Students and After Graduation)

The average processing time is five business days. Plan accordingly.

Step 1. Make sure that your current U.S. address is listed in SPIRIT Online. You are required to update your address within ten days of any change. 

Step 2. Submit your request through the International Student Portal. Simply click on the Student Request Center and then Request Travel Signature. You will need:

  • The dates you plan to depart and enter the U.S.
  • Photo, screenshot or pdf of your most recent I-94 record showing F-1 and D/S
  • Post OPT and STEM OPT Extension Students only: Photo or screenshot of the front and back of your Employment Authorization Document (EAD or “OPT card”)

Step 3. Your record is reviewed by the PDSO or DSO. 

Step 4. The PDSO or DSO emails an updated I-20 to students.

Step 5. You review the I-20 and print the I-20.

Email iss@saintpeters.edu or call if:

  • you need to reenter the U.S. in less than two business days or
  • if your personal information, major or program end date on page one of your I-20 is wrong or is not correct. 

 

Current Students (I-20 holders)

Planning to travel outside of the U.S.?  The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is responsible for determining your eligibility to reenter the U.S. after a period abroad.  Be prepared to explain your return to study and have the proper reentry documents with you. 

Documents to Carry When Reentering the U.S.

Current students with valid F-1 status should carry the following items when reentering the U.S.:

  1. A printed I-20 with a PDSO or DSO travel signature dated within the last 12 months on page two
  2. A printed I-94 record (Go to U.S. Customs and Border Protection website and click on "Get Most Recent I-94" from the top menu bar or the middle of the page.  PDF of how to print your I-94 record after clicking on "Get Most Recent I-94". 
  3. Unexpired passport
  4. Unexpired F-1 U.S. entry visa (Also see: travel to Canada, Mexico, or certain Caribbean countries without a valid U.S. entry visa)
  5. Proof of I-901 SEVIS fee payment (Click on Check I-901 status)

 We strongly recommend carrying proof that you are a current student: 

  1. Current Saint Peter’s University ID card.
  2. Printed proof of most current semester of enrollment to verify full-time student status. Per the Enrollment Services website, "An Enrollment Verification statement includes all terms attended, current program, anticipated completion date and degree awarded. There is no fee for this service. To request a statement Login to Spirit Online and use the “Enrollment Verification” link. There is generally a turnaround period of three business days for Enrollment Verifications. During peak registration periods, additional time may be required to process your request.

 

Travel After Graduation

F-1 students enter a sixty-day grace period after the last date of class in the last semester of study.  During the grace period, F-1 students may: 

  • Travel within the U.S.,
  • Apply for Post-completion Optional Practical Training and remain in the U.S., or 
  • Depart the U.S. no later than the sixtieth day of the grace period. 

The grace period applies to F-2 spouses and children as well. 

Documents to Carry When Reentering the U.S. on Post OPT or STEM OPT

Students who have completed all degree requirements and are pursuing Post-Completion Optional Practical Training or the STEM OPT Extension must still travel with F-1 student documents. You are now in a period of experiential learning and your ability to enter the U.S. will be based on that.  

Follow the instructions for requesting a travel signature if you would like an I-20 that reflects your OPT or STEM OPT Extension approval or your employer information.  Be sure to update your information in the SEVIS Portal if you haven’t already.

Carry the following items when reentering the U.S.:

  1. Original Employment Authorization Document (EAD or “OPT card”)
  2. Employment verification letter from your employer or a letter showing a major-related job offer
  3. A printed I-20 with a PDSO or DSO travel signature dated within the last six months on page two
  4. Proof of I-901 SEVIS fee payment (Click on Check I-901 status)
  5. A printed I-94 record (Go to U.S. Customs and Border Protection website and click on "Get Most Recent I-94" from the top menu bar or the middle of the page.  PDF of how to print your I-94 record after clicking on "Get Most Recent I-94". 
  6. Unexpired passport
  7. Unexpired F-1 U.S. entry visa ( travel to Canada, Mexico, or certain Caribbean countries without a valid visa)

Although rare, you may be asked to show proof of how you are financially supporting your stay in the U.S. 

 


Important Points to Remember

  • Plan ahead when possible. For example, do you know when your entry visa expires? Also, avoid a longer processing time for a travel signature by requesting signatures well before federal/school holidays or university closures.

  • Not planning to enroll at or cannot enroll at Saint Peter’s University next term? Schedule an appointment to discuss your options and required next steps with a Center for Global Learning (CGL) staff member immediately.

  • You may not be allowed to or able to access your mobile device or laptop to access a digital copy of your documents when going through the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) inspection. Paper documents carried in your carry-on luggage or bag are best.

  • Make sure that your name, citizenship country, and date of birth are correct on your current I-20. If you need to update your citizenship country, send a brief explanation and a copy of your updated passport to iss@saintpeters.edu.  Dual-country nationals must use the passport for the country listed on the I-20.

  • Your social media posts and group affiliations matter. Government officials use Google, TikTok, Instagram, WhatsApp, and other things, too. Do not participate in activities that are contrary to what you are permitted to do under current F-1 regulations. 
  • Know Your Rights: Enforcement at the Airport [Source: ACLU]
  • The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) are the folks who check your documents when you enter the U.S. The CBP is able to patrol areas that are within 100 miles of the U.S. border. This means you may need your F-1/F-2 travel documents even if you are not planning to cross a U.S. border. [Source: ACLU’s Know Your Rights: 100-Mile Border Zone]