Traveling Outside the U.S.
CUIT (Technology Information) has compiled important considerations for the Columbia University community for protecting data securitywhen you travel.
The GlobalTravel website centralizes information and tools for all members of the Columbia community whose study, research, or teaching involves international travel.
Visit Step 2 of our Entering the U.S. page (for students) as a reminder of what to expect.
Want to see more?
Watch our short international travel overview video.
Traveling Within the U.S.
Domestic travel includes travel to any of the 50 states or travel to the U.S. territories (Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, American Samoa).
Carry your documents with you in case you need to show evidence of your legal immigration status.
Troubleshooting Potential Problems
Your U.S. visa has expired or will expire before your return
Generally, you need an unexpired U.S. visa to return to the U.S.with two exceptions:
- Canadians are exempt from the visa requirement (but do require an I-20/DS-2019).
- When you return return to the U.S. from Canada, Mexico, or an "Adjacent Island" you may be eligible for "automatic revalidation". Visit this webpage to learn about these special provisions.
U.S. visas cannot be obtained in the United States. You can apply for a new visa only at an U.S.consulate or embassy abroad, so be mindful of visa application procedures and the time needed for visa processing when you make your travel plans.
You're already abroad and
you don't have your I-20/DS-2019 with you, or
your travel signature has expired or will expire before your return
Too late to receive your new I-20/DS-2019 by mail? Read this information about returning to the U.S. without all required documents:
You may have a problem being allowed to board by your airline at departure if you don’t have your COE (I-20/DS-2019) with you. If you have your COE, but the travel signature is expired, they may be more lenient about permitting you to fly.
If you arrive in the U.S. without your COE or with an expired travel signature, you will likely be subject to additional screening by CBP (Customs and Border Protection) to verify your valid student status.
We recommend you carry documentation that can demonstrate your full-time student status, such as a printed copy of your registration status from SSOL.
The Officer may admit you:
as usual for “D/S” (duration of status) with a warning to have required documentation with you the next time you travel, or
for 30 days with form I-515A. In this case, be sure you have your passport stamped F-1 or J-1. After arrival, check that your electronic I-94 arrival record shows your admission in student status. Come to the ISSO as soon as possible (and before the I-94 expiration date) with the I-515 so we can assist you in correcting your record.