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Travel » All you Need to Know About Travel

If you are planning on traveling in the near future, please read the following information.

Before coming to the Office of International Education:

  • Do you already have a valid travel signature? Look at the third page of your I-20; signatures are valid one year from the date they are signed. EXCEPTION: those working on OPT need to have a signature every six months.
  • Do you have a valid passport? Your passport must be valid for 6 months or more into the future.
  • Do you have a valid F-1 visa stamp? It does not have to say “UT Arlington” on the stamp, but must be valid for you to reenter the US.
  • Do your dependents also need their I-20s signed for travel? Look at the third page of their I-20s; signatures are valid one year from the date signed.

Submitting your request for travel signature to the Office of International Education:

  • Can be done 2-4 weeks in advance of your trip
  • Takes 7-10 business days
  • You must have bursar’s holds cleared from your account. Requests for travel signature for students who have bursar’s holds will not be accepted.
  • You must also have enrollment holds cleared from your account. If you are not eligible to enroll for classes, then we cannot sign your I-20 for travel.
  • If your admission category is probationary, then your I-20 cannot be signed until after grades are released.
  • If you are on probation with the university, then your I-20 cannot be signed until your probation is lifted (at the earliest after grades are released).
  • If you are returning from your trip in the next semester (example: if you are traveling over the Christmas break and will return in January) then you must first pre-register for classes before we can sign your I-20 for travel.
  • You must otherwise be eligible for travel (includes maintaining status; eligibility to return to UTA).

Your spouse and/or children must also have their I-20s properly endorsed for travel. The same provisions discussed above also apply to dependents, as our ability to sign their I-20s is based on the person in F-1 status.

Applying for a visa stamp

General requirements:

If you need to apply for a visa stamp to reenter the US, then you should take the following documents:

  • I-20 signed for travel
  • Transcripts
  • Passport valid for at least six months
  • Evidence of financial support for amount listed on I-20
  • Optional. Status letter from the Office of International Education (please note that this request takes 7-10 business days to process).

Applying for a visa in your home country:

To find the US Embassy or Consulate in your home country, as well as additional information pertaining to obtaining an F-1 visa, please visit You will want to contact the Embassy or Consulate to find out what the latest processing times are for F-1 visa stamps.

Going to Canada or Mexico:

For information about obtaining a visa by going to Canada or Mexico, please visit Please note that you may need a visa to enter Canada or Mexico. For information about visiting Canada, please contact . For information about visiting Mexico, please visit . Please note that if you make an application for a visa in Canada or Mexico and that application is denied, then you are ineligible to reenter the US under the automatic re-entry with a valid I-94. More information can be found at

Applying for a visa as a Third Country National:

If you will be applying for a visa in a country where you do not have a residence, please be aware that you need to contact that Embassy or Consulate to find out whether or not they take applications from Third Country Nationals (TCNs). You may do so by choosing the appropriate Embassy/Consulate from this website: .

Automatic Visa Revalidation

Under certain circumstances, you may re-enter the US without obtaining a new visa. In general you are eligible if you are gone for 30 days or less to a “contiguous territory”, have a valid I-94, are maintaining status, have a valid passport and have not applied for a US visa while abroad. Nationals of some countries are ineligible for this provision. For a complete description, please visit our website at or the cable from the State Department at