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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.

Travel Signatures

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. Students on an F-1 or J-1 visa are not required to have an original "wet" signature on the I-20 or DS-2019; a digital signature from our advising team is fully acceptable for your travel needs. Note that you are still required to print and sign your digital I-20 or DS-2019 for visa applications and for travel to the U.S.

A travel signature from the International Services 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 …

Visa Status

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 PDF form within five business days after you submit your online request. If you wish to receive an original paper 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.

Next Up: Study or Research Abroad