Skip to main content

Coronavirus Updates: Visit Cornell’s Coronavirus Resources and Updates for campus-wide information. Visit COVID-19 FAQ for Cornell's International Community for summer resources, immigration information, visa status, and more.

Travel Documents for Students

When you travel as a student at Cornell, you’ll need to carry various documents to prove your immigration status and to allow reentry if you leave the United States.

If you’re leaving the United States and you need a new visa stamp, find out what you need to do. If you have further questions, visit our drop-in advising hours before leaving on your trip.

F-1 Student Documents

F-1 students need to have the following documents to reenter the United States in F status:

  • Valid passport
  • Valid entry visa stamp (Canadians excepted)
  • I-20 showing F-1 status, signed for travel by an Office of Global Learning advisor within the last year. If you are a Canadian or a student on post-graduate OPT, you need to have obtained your travel signature within the last six months.
  • Proof of financial support. (Bring copies of documents mentioned on your I-20 funding letter or bank statements for personal funds.)
  • Proof of Cornell enrollment, such as your certificate of enrollment or a transcript

J-1 Student Documents

J-1 students need to have the following documents to reenter the United States in J status:

  • Valid passport
  • Valid entry visa stamp (Canadians excepted)
  • DS-2019 showing J-1 status, signed for travel by an Office of Global Learning advisor within the last year.
  • Proof of financial support. (Bring copies of documents mentioned on your DS-2019 funding letter or bank statements for personal funds.)
  • Proof of Cornell enrollment, such as your certificate of enrollment or a transcript

F-1 Dependent (F-2) Documents

The spouse or children of an F-1 student traveling with the student need the following documents to reenter the United States in F-2 status:

  • Valid passport
  • Unexpired F-2 entry visa stamp
  • Unexpired I-20 showing F-2 status, with a valid travel signature. A travel signature is valid for 12 months if the F-1 student is currently enrolled; it is only valid for six months if the F-1 student is on OPT.

If the F-2 dependents of an F-1 student are traveling without the student, they need all the above documents, plus the following:

  • Copy of the student’s F-1 visa page
  • Copy of the student’s most recent I-94 arrival record as proof of the student’s F-1 status
  • Copy of the student’s I-20

J-1 Dependent (J-2) Documents

The spouse or children of a J-1 student traveling with the student need the following documents to reenter the United States in J-2 status:

  • Valid passport
  • Unexpired J-2 entry visa stamp
  • Unexpired DS-2019 showing J-2 status, with a valid travel signature. A travel signature is valid for 12 months or until the DS-2019 end date, whichever is earlier.
  • Proof of financial support

If the J-2 dependents of an J-1 student are traveling without the student, they need all the above documents, plus the following:

  • Copy of the student’s J-1 visa page
  • Copy of the student’s most recent I-94 arrival record as proof of the student’s J-1 status
  • Copy of the student’s DS-2019

Proof of Cornell Enrollment Can Help Reentry

If you are a registered student at Cornell, you can obtain a certificate of enrollment. There is no fee for this document. It provides documentation that you currently are and have been a registered student at Cornell.

The certificate is not required for reentry into the United States, but it will ease your reentry if you are questioned at the border. You can request a certificate of enrollment at the Office of the University Registrar in B7 Day Hall, or you may download it.

Traveling on F-1 OPT

Find out more about traveling on OPT.

If you travel during your OPT employment, you need the following documents to reenter the United States:

  • Valid passport
  • Valid entry visa stamp (Canadians excepted)
  • I-20 showing F-1 status, with travel signature within the last six months
  • EAD (OPT card) or, if your OPT application is still pending, the receipt notice from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)
  • A job-offer letter or letter confirming current OPT employment

Traveling in the United States

If you will be traveling within the United States—driving on major highways, or riding on buses, trains, or planes—you should carry your passport, I-94 card, and I-20 or DS-2019. You are not required to have a valid travel signature when traveling within the United States, but we do recommend it.

Next Up: Travel Signatures and I-20/DS-2019 Reprints