Significant travel restrictions have been imposed due to COVID-19. Please make sure you check the regulations for your destination and any layover airports. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has extensive COVID-19 travel resources. If you have any questions, contact the ISSO.
Travel Outside the U.S.
Travel outside of the U.S. for a short period of time while you are studying, researching, or working at Clark should be possible if you are maintaining status and your immigration documents are valid and unexpired. See below for travel information specific to your visa category and status at Clark (F-1, J-1, or H1-B).
If you are traveling to a country other than your passport country, you must determine whether you need a visa to enter that country. You should visit the embassy website of your destination country for more information.
F-1 students and J-1 exchange visitors (students and scholars) are required to have a valid travel signature on their Form I-20 or Form DS-2019 when entering the United States. If you do not have a Clark-sponsored visa, you must request your travel signature from your program sponsor. For more information about travel, visit the Department of Homeland Security’s Study in the States page.
- Travel signatures are generally valid for one year or until the program end date on your I-20 or Form DS-2019, whichever comes first. However, the ISSO recommends getting a travel signature every six months.
- Travel signatures are valid for six months for students on Post-Completion OPT and STEM OPT Extension.
- You are not required to have a travel signature to depart the United States; travel signatures are only required for you to re-enter the U.S. to continue your studies, Academic Training period, or OPT period.
Note: You must be maintaining your F-1 or J-1 status. You do not qualify for a travel signature on your I-20 or Form DS-2019 if:
- Your I-20 is in Initial, Transfer, or Change of Education Level Status.
- You take a leave of absence from Clark that is not for an approved study abroad experience
- You have been withdrawn from Clark
- You have transferred your SEVIS record to another school.
- You are in violation of your F-1 or J-1 status.
Travel in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, or Caribbean
If you currently hold non-immigrant status at Clark such as F-1 student, J-1 scholar, or H1-B employee, you must have an unexpired U.S. visa (F, J, or H) in order to enter the United States.
If your current F, J, or H visa will or has expired, you must get a new visa (F, J, or H) if you are outside the United States and want to return to Clark to continue your studies or employment at the University.
Note: If you are a Canadian citizen, you generally do not need a visa in your passport to enter the United States.
Express Mail for Documents
The International Center uses UEMS eShipGlobal for all domestic and international mail requests. eShipGlobal is a university shipping company that assists international scholars and students send and receive important documents such as I-20s, DS-2019s, and OPT applications.
To use eShipGlobal:
- Go to the eShipGlobal site and register to create an account.
- Follow the instructions to select Clark University as your school (selecting Clark University as your school should give you a small discount on your shipping options).
- Select your shipping service and enter your address and contact information.
- Pay the required shipping fee.
- Print your shipping label.
- Log out.
Note: Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the ISSO is temporarily allowed to issue I-20s electronically. Your I-20 will be uploaded to the ISSO Portal for you to access. DS-2019s must still be issued by paper.
Inviting Family and Friends
You may want to invite your family, friends, or relatives to visit while you are an international student or exchange visitor at Clark University. In most cases, short-term visitors to the United States must have a valid B-1/B-2 (visitor’s) visa, or be eligible to visit the United States under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP). If your visitor needs to apply for their B-1/B-2 visa, they must do so at a U.S. consulate or embassy. You can learn more about the visitor visa program and how to apply here.
The ISSO does not issue invitation letters, as the U.S. State Department does not require them or consider them a fact when making a determination whether to issue or deny a visa. The ISSO is not authorized to provide advice on the B-1/B-2 visa process, but is able to provide the following general information that may be helpful for your family or friends who plan to visit you:
- The B-1/B-2 visa is for persons who are interested in coming to the United States for short-term, temporary trips for either business (B-1) or tourism or medical treatments (B-2).
- Applicants are required to show that their visit to the United States will be a temporary one and that they will retain connections to their home country, including keeping it as their country of residence.
- Examples of home country ties include proof of employment, home country family, and property, as well as proof of a return date (e.g., a return trip ticket).
While not required or recommended by the U.S. Department of State, you may want to issue a personal invitation written and signed by you. The ISSO provides a sample invitation letter template as courtesy but cannot guarantee that your visitor will have their visa approved. Along with the invitation letter, you may want to provide documentation of your student status such as a copy of your Form I-20 or Form DS-2019, Enrollment Verification Letter, or Transcript to your visitor for their visa application process.