All F-1 students planning to depart the United States for a temporary vacation period, or leaving the United States permanently, must report to the Office of International Student Services (OISS) prior to departure to ensure that all travel documentation is properly issued.
What documentation is required for F-1 students to return to the United States after traveling abroad for pleasure or personal business to continue their studies with Houston Community College?
- Endorsed SEVIS I-20 Form - signed by the Designated School Official (DSO). The signature (on page three of the SEVIS I-20 Form) cannot be older than one year at the time of entry. The endorsement becomes invalid if the student is considered in violation of status.
- Passport - must be valid for at least six months after the date of your reentry
- F-1 visa - must be valid
- I-94 Departure record – obtained either on the aircraft or at the port of entry halls
- Proof of Financial Support - information showing proof of necessary funds to cover tuition and living expenses
- I-901 payment receipt – validating that the I-901 payment was submitted. The receipt can be reprinted at www.fmj.com
- F-1 students are not allowed to re-enter the United States during the 60 day grace period after the completion of program (program end date listed on the SEVIS I-20 Form) or after completion of Optional Practical Training period.
- If F-1 students depart the United States permanently, they must report to a DSO prior to departure to document the exit from the program properly with the Department of Homeland Security.
- If F-1 students are unable to return from a vacation leave to continue their studies, they must contact the DSO immediately to avoid an adverse termination of F-1 status.
- F-1 students planning to travel to Mexico, Canada, or one of the islands (other than Cuba) adjacent to the United States for less than 30 days and have an expired visa, may be eligible for automatic visa revalidation. Students qualified for this process may travel for less than 30 days and return without a valid visa; however, it is the student’s responsibility to verify their eligibility for this process based on the guidelines provided by the Department of Homeland Security.
For more information and frequently asked questions, please review the guidelines posted by the Department of Homeland Security:
F-1 students must follow all procedures outlined by the Department of Homeland Security in regards to exiting and re-entering the United States. It is the student’s responsibility to ensure that all documents are valid and in possession of the student. Students can be denied entry to the United States without valid entry documentation!
OISS makes these additional recommendations to all F-1 students planning to travel:
- Request the travel endorsement at least three weeks prior to the anticipated travel date. Keep in mind that OISS is closed in December for the holidays, therefore these endorsements should be requested in late November.
- Register for a full course of study and pay for all courses for the following semester before leaving the country.
- F-1 students who apply for a new F-1 visa while outside the Unites States may request a good standing letter from Houston Community College to take to the U.S. Embassy.
- Request an official HCC transcript.
- Students who plan to travel to a third party country (a country other than the home country of the student), should confirm with their consulate here in the United States if special entry visas are required and obtain any other relevant travel information.
Have a pleasant and safe trip. We look forward to welcoming you as a returning student in the next semester.
Download a PDF of the Travel Advisory For F-1 Students