Travel and Re-entry

Students on OPT should refer to Travel while on OPT.

Students on STEM OPT Extension should refer to Travel while on STEM OPT.

If you require a new travel signature, drop your I-20 off at the ISSO at least 2 weeks prior to your scheduled travel date.  A new travel signature will be ready on the 3rd business day after you drop your document off.

If you plan to visit a country outside of the United States that is not your country of citizenship or legal permanent residence, research whether or not you need a visa to enter that country.

If you are visiting Canada, Mexico or the contiguous islands for less than 30 days and your U.S. visa has expired, you may be eligible for Automatic Visa RevalidationContact ISSO if you have questions about this process.

Travel checklist

  • Passport that will be valid for six months beyond your anticipated stay in the United States.
  • Valid Form I-20 or Form DS-2019*, signed each academic year by an advisor in the ISSO.
    * If Clark did not issue your DS-2019, contact your program sponsor (i.e. IIE, Fulbright, Dept of State, etc) to get your document signed.
  • Valid F-1 or J-1 visa stamp in your passport.  If your visa has expired, schedule an appointment at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate abroad to apply for a new visa.  Contact your ISSO advisor if you have questions about applying for a new visa.
  • Evidence of the financial support listed in the “Financials” section of the I-20 or section #5 of the DS-2019.
  • Proof of payment for the SEVIS (I-901) fee.  If you do not have this, print a payment confirmation from
  • Official or unofficial transcript for this past semester. An unofficial transcript can be printed from your CUWeb account. If you are applying for a new visa, we suggest that you bring an official transcript with you to your visa appointment.
  • Proof of registration or pre-registration for the next semester.
  • If you are traveling to a country other than your home country, check with that country’s embassy to find out if you need a visa to enter.

What to expect at the Port of Entry

  • U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has a short video about what to expect when you arrive in the United States
  • Make sure that you have all of the documents listed in the Travel Checklist to show to the Customs and Border Protection Officer if they ask for them.
  • Most students are admitted into the United States at primary inspection (the first counter with a CBP officer).  If the CBP officer cannot admit you at primary inspection with the documents you have, you may be sent to “Secondary Inspection.”
  • If you are sent to Secondary Inspection, do not panic!  Follow the instructions that the CBP officer gives you. Answer any questions carefully and completely.
  • If you are sent to Secondary and you want or need to call someone, please call the ISSO so we can help!
  • If you are in Secondary during regular business hours (Monday – Friday from 8:30 AM until 5:00 PM Eastern time), call our main number at 508-793-7362.
  • If it is after hours, call University Police at 508-793-7575.  Provide them the following information:
    • You are an international student
    • Spell your first and last name
    • Give them your CU ID number
    • Tell them that you are at the airport in Secondary Inspection and you need them to contact ISSO.
    • University Police will know how to contact with ISSO staff.

Save these numbers in your cell phone and write them down to keep in your carry-on bag in case your phone is lost or stolen.