Leaving and reentering the U.S.

While you’re here pursuing your studies, you may wish to travel to nearby countries for educational or personal enrichment. Please refer to these guidelines for leaving and reentering the U.S. as an international student.

Traveling to Mexico or Canada for 30 Days or Less - Automatic Revalidation

For entry into Canada or Mexico as a visitor, an F-1 student should carry the following documents:

  1. Valid I-94 card
  2. Valid passport
  3. Valid SEVIS I-20 - signed for travel by a Designated School Official (DSO)

DSOs are located in CGCC’s International Education Program (IEP) office, room SC165. The signature is valid for up to one-year from the date of signature, but you are advised to have it renewed every 9 months if you are traveling outside the United States. The above documents are also needed to reenter the United States as an F-1 student. If your visit is less than 30 days, your F-1 visa does not need to be valid to reenter the United States, UNLESS you are a citizen of Iraq, Iran, Syria, Libya, Sudan, North Korea, and Cuba. This is called Automatic Revalidation, but note that it does not apply when a student is denied an F-1 visa in Mexico or Canada.

F-1 students planning a trip to Mexico should contact the nearest Mexican Consulate online regarding F-1 and M-1 legal status, or call 602-249-2363 well in advance. That office will determine whether or not a Mexican visa is needed for entry into Mexico.

Canada requires a Canadian visa for citizens of a number of countries. Individuals needing a Canadian visa should check Citizenship and Immigration Canada online for instructions and forms.

Returning from a trip outside the U.S.

To reenter the United States after a temporary departure, students will need the following documentation:

  1. Valid passport
  2. Valid I-94 card
  3. Valid visa
  4. Valid SEVIS I-20 - signed for travel by a DSO
  5. Current proof of financial guarantee

Before you go, we also recommend that you do the following:

  1. Request an Enrollment Verification of current semester, available at the Admissions/Records & Registration Office.
  2. Register for the next semester and take your class schedule with you

Important: If you’re gone longer than 5 months, you will need a new "initial attendance" I-20. This will trigger the restart of a new program, with full-time attendance for 9 months required before authorization of any off-campus employment.