Travel Signatures and I-20/DS-2019 Reprints
Your I-20 or DS-2019 is an important document that proves you are legally enrolled in a program of study in the United States.
You will need it to enter and reenter the country, among other things. An advisor in the Office of Global Learning will electronically sign your I-20 (or hand sign your DS-2019) to verify that you are eligible to travel. This is called a travel signature.
It’s very important to keep your I-20 or DS-2019 up-to-date, safe, and available at all times. We can help with any questions or problems.
To obtain a new signature, either come to the office during advising hours with your original I-20 or DS-2019 OR request a reprint of your I-20 or DS-2019 via our I-20/DS-2019 reprint request form. We will send you your form by one of three methods: PDF, "regular" USPS (no delivery time estimate or tracking), or express mail (payment instructions are included in the request link). Express mail is required for international shipments.
You may be able to travel many times on one travel signature. In November 2021, the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) published policy guidance that permits the permanent use of electronic signatures for the I-20. Therefore, students on an F-1 visa do not need an original "wet" signature; the digital document is fully acceptable for your travel needs. Note that we still recommend original signatures on DS-2019 forms for students and scholars on a J-1 visa.
A travel signature from the Office of Global Learning is good for six months or a year, depending on your visa status and situation. Here’s how long your travel signature will remain valid …
Travel Signature is Valid for ...
|Most F-1 Students||One year|
|F-1 Canadians||Six months|
|F-1 Students on OPT||Six months|
|J-1 Students||One year|
|F-2 Dependents||One year, if the F-1 student is currently enrolled; six months, if the F-1 student is on OPT|
|J-2 Dependents||One year or until the DS-2019 end date, whichever is earlier|
What if I plan to travel home, and my travel signature has expired?
In order to reenter the United States, you need to have a valid travel signature. If you need to update the signature, request a new I-20 or DS-2019 with a new travel signature via our I-20/DS-2019 reprint request form. If you are a Cornell Tech student, visit the Cornell Tech office to obtain an updated signature.
Need a I-20/DS-2019 reprint for travel?
If you’ve lost your form, forgot to bring it with you, or need an updated travel signature while traveling, we can help! We will reprint your I-20 or DS-2019 and send it to you wherever you are in the world! Just complete the I-20/DS-2019 reprint request form.
Need a new I-20 to apply for OPT?
To request an new I-20 for the OPT application, follow the directions on F-1 OPT.
What if I have a recent change to my program, and I want an updated form?
Use the request form to update us on your new employment, cap-gap extension, change of major, or other change. We will send you an updated I-20 or DS-2019.
How will I get my updated form? Can I get it faster?
We will send you your new I-20 or DS-2019 form by regular mail within two business days after you submit your online request. If you are concerned about receiving your form quickly or need tracking, request expedited shipping via eShipGlobal. Once you have completed the eShipGlobal payment make sure to notify an advisor.
What if I’m traveling and don’t have any time to wait?
If you are traveling back to the United States too soon to receive a new I-20 or DS-2019 by mail, don't panic! When you reach your port of entry, explain to the officer that you forgot your I-20 or DS-2019, and ask the officer to let you in to the United States with an I-515A. The I-515A will allow you entry to the United States in F-1 or J-1 status for 30 days. If you get an I-515A at the port, visit the Office of Global Learning as soon as you arrive back in Ithaca, and we will help you complete the requirements.
Can I request a reprint of my I-20 if I’ve already applied for an OPT I-20?
If you missed the 30-day window for mailing your OPT application, do not ask for a reprint! Request a cancellation of your first OPT request. Then use this OPT request form to ask for a new I-20 with OPT recommendation.
I’m not traveling, but I think I need to extend my I-20!
If you need more time to complete your academic program, you’ll need to apply for an extension to your I-20 or DS-2019. Find out more.
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