Travel on OPT or AT

F-1 Students on Optional Practical Training (OPT) after Graduation

When traveling outside the United State while on OPT please be sure that your reentry paperwork is in order and that you take with you the following:

  • Valid OPT Form I-20, signed on page 2 by an HIO advisor (the signature must not be more than six months old at the time of reentry to the United States)
  • Valid F-1 visa in the passport
  • Valid passport
  • Evidence of a job offer or evidence of resumption of employment
  • Employment Authorization Document (EAD) issued by USCIS (Printed on the EAD is the statement "not valid for reentry." This means that the EAD by itself is not sufficient for reentry, and must be used to enter the U.S. in conjunction with the above documents.)

Students who have the documents listed above may travel outside the United States and reenter even before the date their work permission begins. For example, an F-1 student who graduates in May with an EAD that begins in July may travel and return to the United States any time after graduation.

Students must not use a Visitor Visa or Visa Waiver unless they are truly tourists, and plan on forfeiting their F-1 OPT.

F-2 Dependents of Students on OPT

  • Valid SEVIS Form I-20, signed on page 2 by an advisor in the HIO (the signature must not be more than six months old at the time of reentry to the United States)
  • Valid F-2 visa in the passport
  • Valid passport
  • Photocopy of spouse's EAD

J-1 Students on Academic Training(AT) after Graduation

  • Valid Academic Training DS-2019 signed once a year in the "travel validation" section by an HIO advisor or by your J-1 program sponsor*
  • Valid J-1 visa in the passport
  • Valid passport
  • A letter from your employer as evidence of employment

* If the HIO issued your DS-2019 it must be signed in the 'travel validation' section by an advisor in the HIO. If your form was issued by another Exchange Visitor Program (Fulbright, LASPAU, AID) you should contact that organization directly to obtain travel signatures.

Students must not use a tourist visa unless they are truly tourists, and plan on abandoning their J-1 Academic Training.

J-2 Dependents

  • Valid Form DS-2019 signed once a year in the "travel validation" section by a Responsible Officer of your spouse's Exchange Visitor Program
  • Valid J-2 visa stamp in the passport
  • Valid passport