Travel Signatures and I-20/DS-2019 Reprints (F and J Students)
On This Page:
Verify That You Need a Reprint
Use this page if you need to request an I-20/DS-2019 for the following reasons:
- I am a newly admitted student
- I am a transfer student
- I need more time to complete my current program
- I was admitted to a new program at Columbia
- I am returning from a leave of absence
- I am applying for F-1 OPT during my program
- I am applying for F-1 OPT after my program
- I am applying for J-1 Academic Training
Obtain a New Travel Signature
While ISSO staff are working remotely during the pandemic, we will mail you an I-20/DS-2019 reprint with an updated travel signature.
What is a Travel Signature?
A travel signature is relevant only to F-1 students or J-1 students (and their dependents) who are planning to travel abroad and return to the U.S. in F or J status. This includes alumni who remain in F or J status for post-graduation F-1 OPT or J-1 AT. You must have an unexpired travel signature on the date you re-enter the U.S.
Check to See if You Need a Travel Signature Now
You don't need a travel signature to leave the U.S., but you will need an unexpired one when you return. You should use your most-recently issued I-20/DS-2019 for travel, including if it was issued for F-1 OPT or J-1 AT.
See below for how long your travel signature is valid:
- Enrolled F-1 student (I-20)
- Validity / Length
- A travel signature on page 2 of your I-20 is valid for 12 months or until the program end date on the I-20, whichever comes first.
- F-1 Post-completion and STEM OPT student (I-20)
- Validity / Length
- A travel signature on page 2 of your I-20 is valid for 6 months or until the expiration date of the EAD, whichever comes first.
- J-1 Student (DS-2019)
- Validity / Length
- A travel signature on page one on your DS-2019 is valid for 12 months or until the end date on your DS-2019, whichever is earlier.
Follow the instructions below for a new travel signature by logging in to Compass to request an I-20/DS-2019 reprint.
See ISSO’s Documents Needed for Travel page for the complete list of documents you need when traveling. If you’re engaging in Post-Completion OPT or STEM OPT, review our Travel During F-1 OPT for your documents.
Replace a Lost or Missing I-20/DS-2019
You forgot to bring your I-20/DS-2019 with you or lost it while traveling. Don’t panic! We can replace it.
Follow the instructions below to request an I-20/DS-2019 reprint in Compass.
Show Updated OPT Employment Information on Your I-20
An updated I-20 with your employment information is not required for all F-1 students on OPT, however, some employers or immigration attorneys may request an updated I-20 for HR or other purposes. After your OPT has been approved, you have your EAD card, and you have reported your employment, you can request an updated I-20 that shows your approval and employer information.
Request an I-20/DS-2019 Reprint
Not enough time to receive the I-20/DS-2019 before your return to the U.S.?
Our maximum processing time is 10 business days, however, our office makes every effort to process requests as quickly as possible.
Go here for information about returning to the U.S. without all required documents and requesting an I-515A at the Port of Entry.
Log in to Compass to request your new I-20/DS-2019:
Compass will require you to upload the following information:
If you have a problem retrieving your I-94 arrival record, call the immigration office at either JFK or Newark airport (regardless of where you arrived) to speak with Deferred Inspection. Be sure to have all of your documents ready when you make the call. Deferred Inspection can usually locate your record and make a correction (if needed) while you're on the phone, so that you can access and print the corrected record.
- JFK Airport
- (718) 553-3683 or (718) 553- 3684
Monday to Thursday, 9 a.m. - 2 p.m.
- Newark Airport
- (973) 565-8000, ext. 8010 or 8011
Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. - 11 a.m.
We will email you when the I-20/DS-2019 reprint is ready
Use your new I-20 or DS-2019 to travel. Remember, you should keep copies of all your I-20s/DS-2019s but always travel with the most recent one. Don't forget to check our Documents Needed to Travel page to be sure you have everything you need to re-enter the United States.
- Travel Signatures for J-1 Scholars
- Documents Needed to Travel
- Travel During F-1 OPT
- Returning from Canada, Mexico, and the Adjacent Islands
- What to Do if You Get an I-515
- I-94 Arrival Record
- Renewing Your Passport in the U.S.
- View our Contact page to find our three locations and hours, phone, and email.