Before Graduation

Information on this page refers to travel before the completion of your Notre Dame program, or the program date on your I-20 or DS-2019–whichever is sooner.

Federal regulations require you to have evidence of your lawful status with you at all times. Keep all immigration documents in a secure location. You should be sure to carry hard copies of all listed documents when traveling.

Travel in the U.S. and U.S. Territories

While traveling in the South Bend area, we recommend you carry:

  • I-94 record (reflecting your most recent entry to the U.S.)
  • a copy of the biographical page in your passport

While traveling outside of the South Bend area, we recommend you carry:

  • Passport
  • I-94 record (reflecting your most recent entry to the U.S.)
  • I-20 or DS-2019

While a U.S. issued driver's license may be used to board a domestic flight, it is not evidence of lawful status in the U.S.

Though it is extremely unlikely you will be questioned while traveling domestically via car, train, or bus, having these documents with you provides immediate proof of your lawful status in the U.S. As federal regulations allow Border Patrol agents some authority within 100 miles of any U.S. boundary, it is in your best interest to carry proof of your lawful status in case you were to be stopped and questioned. 

Note: Travel to U.S. Territories like Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands is considered domestic travel, meaning you would not go through immigration upon your return to the continental United States. See more information here.

Travel Outside of the U.S.

If students leave the United States –even for a short trip– and will be returning to the University of Notre Dame to continue their studies, they will need the following immigration documents:

  • Passport valid at least 6 months into the future of when you plan to return
  • F-1/J-1 visa stamp that is unexpired and valid for further entries to the US
    • If the visa has expired and the student exits the US, they will need to apply for a new visa prior to returning
    • See information about applying for a visa renewal here
  • I-20 or DS-2019
    • most recent document that ISSA has issued to you
    • Has a valid travel signature (see below for more info)

Additional supporting documents that may be helpful to carry:

  • Enrollment Verification (find information about how to access this here)
  • Proof of Finances (financial documents you submitted when ISSA first issued your immigration documents)
  • I-901/SEVIS fee receipt (if you have lost this document, you can reprint it through this page)

Travel Signatures

Travel signatures are valid for one year from date of signature for both the I-20 and DS-2019. You do not need a new travel signature every time you travel, but you must have a valid signature in order to re-enter the United States. If your travel signature has expired and you need a new one, you can either visit the ISSA office during business hours OR request one in ISSALink by completing our "Updated I-20/DS-2019 Request" e-form.

J-1 students with non-Notre Dame DS-2019s will need a travel signature from the agency/organization that issued their DS-2019 (e.g. J-1 students on a Fulbright scholarship would need to get their travel signature from IIE).

Brief Travel to Canada, Mexico, and Adjacent Islands

If your visa is expired, and you will travel to Canada, Mexico or an adjacent island for less than thirty days, you may be eligible for Automatic Revalidation.

Automatic Revalidation allows certain temporary visitors holding expired nonimmigrant visas to be admitted at a U.S. port-of-entry by CBP.

Special Notes

  • If your visa has expired, then you will need to make plans to renew the visa prior to returning to the US. This process will be similar to how you applied for your initial US visa. See our “Apply for a US Visa” webpage.
  • ALWAYS enter in F-1 or J-1 status
    • You CANNOT enter on an ESTA/B visa to study during your program
    • You CAN confirm this information on your most recent I-94 record after you have entered the U.S.
  • Students on Pre-completion OPT follow the same travel procedures as other enrolled F-1 students.
  • Travel does come with some inherent risk and ISSA can NEVER guarantee your admissibility back to the U.S.; the CBP officer at the port of entry is the only person who decides whether or not to admit you into the U.S.