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Travel

Travel basics

  • You may travel freely within the U.S. at any time.
  • You may leave the U.S. at any time; however, you may need a visa to enter other countries. Please check with the relevant embassy to determine entry requirements for any country you are planning to visit during your travels.
  • If you re-enter the U.S., you must have all necessary documents with you.
  • We recommend that you carry your I-20 or DS-2019 and passport with you when you travel.

World map.Documents needed for international travel and re-entry

Please note that the requirements below apply to dependents as well.

  • Passport (must be valid for six months beyond the date of re-entry).
  • Valid U.S. visa for your current visa status.
    • Exception: A valid visa is not necessary when returning from Canada, Mexico and most Caribbean islands if you have been gone for less than 30 days. This exception, however, does not apply to all students.
  • I-20 or DS-2019 signed for travel.
    • It is recommended that travel signatures be no more than six months old at the time you re-enter the U.S.
    • Travel signatures are technically valid for one year.
    • Please come to the International Center during walk-in advising hours to obtain a travel signature. Before the end of each semester, the International Center has additional walk-in times specifically for travel signatures.
    • If you are transferring to a new school, you must re-enter the U.S. on your new school's I-20 or DS-2019. Contact your new school for instructions.
  • Proof of financial support.

At the border

What happens to my I-94 record when I leave and re-enter the U.S.?

  • Your I-94 tracks when you enter and depart the United States. It is now issued electronically, so you will not receive a paper I-94 card. You can print your electronic card by visiting the CPB website and entering your arrival information. Each time you leave the U.S., your electronic record will show your departure, and you will receive a new electronic record upon each entry.

What happens when I cross the border into the U.S.?

  • Have your passport, visa and I-20 or DS-2019 ready for the immigration officer.
  • The immigration officer will put a stamp in your passport.
  • The stamp will list your immigration status and "D/S" (duration of status).
  • Officers will take your fingerprints and your photo.

What should I do if I have problems at the border?

  • Ask the border officer to call the International Center at 573-882-6007. Nights and weekends: Call the International Center and the phone will transfer to MU Police. Tell the police that you need to speak with an International Center adviser.
  • Ask the border officer for an I-515, which is a document that allows you into the U.S. for 30 days. If you receive an I-515, please make an appointment with the International Center immediately.

Keeping your documents valid

How do I make sure my passport is valid?

  • Your passport must be valid for at least six more months at the time you re-enter the U.S.
  • Some countries have passport agreements with the U.S. that allow you to enter with less than six months remaining on your passport. Contact the International Center for more information.
  • Contact your country's embassy or consulate for instructions for renewing your passport.
Example Visa

A) Entries
B) Visa type/class
C) Expiration date

How do I make sure my visa is valid?

  • It should list your current visa status.
  • The date should not have expired.
  • You should have additional entries remaining.
    • "M" means that you can enter multiple times in that visa status.

How do I renew my visa?

  • If your visa has expired or you have used all of the entries, you must have it renewed at a U.S. embassy or consulate.
  • You may go to a U.S. embassy or consulate in your home country or another country.
  • If you renew your visa in a country other than your home country, please make an appointment to discuss your plans with an adviser.
  • Review instructions for renewing your visa.

How do I make sure my I-20 or DS-2019 is valid for re-entry?

  • Your document should be up to date with current information. Please review your I-20 or DS-2019 before you travel. If an update is needed, contact the International Center so that you may receive a new document before leaving the U.S.
  • We recommend that travel signatures be no older than six months old at the time you re-enter the U.S.
  • Travel signatures are technically valid for one year.
  • If you are transferring to a new school, you must re-enter the U.S. on your new school's I-20 or DS-2019. Contact your new school for instructions.