Documents Needed to Travel (Students)

Traveling Outside the U.S.

Review Visa Requirements for Your Destination

If you're traveling to a country other than your home -- including international cruises -- check the website of your destination's embassy or NY-based consulate to learn about their visa requirements for visitors.

*If they require certification of your enrollment, request it through SSOL.

Follow CUIT Data Security Guidelines for International Travel

CUIT (Technology Information) has compiled important considerations for the Columbia University community for protecting data securitywhen you travel.

Review Columbia's Global Travel Tips

The GlobalTravel website centralizes information and tools for all members of the Columbia community whose study, research, or teaching involves international travel.

Review what to expect when you return to a U.S. Port of Entry

Visit Step 2 of our Entering the U.S. page (for students) as a reminder of what to expect.

Travel Documents

This section is for currently enrolled students. 

  • If will be entering the U.S. for the first time as a Columbia student please refer to our Entering the U.S. page.
  • If you have graduated and are on OPT or the STEM OPT Extension, please refer to our page on Travel During F-1 OPT.

Want to see more?

Watch our short international travel overview video.

ISSO Travel 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:

  1. Canadians are exempt from the visa requirement (but do require an I-20/DS-2019).
  2.  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 here 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.

Blue Divider

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
Request a new I-20/DS-2019 by mail

Your new form will have an updated travel signature on it. Follow the instructions on our Travel Signatures webpage.

Too late to receive your new I-20/DS-2019 by mail?

Refer to "Returning to the U.S. Without all Required Documents" on our Travel Signatures webpage.