Students and scholars wishing to re-enter the U.S. in F-1 or J-1 status after a temporary leave from the U.S will need a valid travel signature on their I-20/DS-2019 forms to return to the U.S. Please review all information below to understand how to get a new travel signature.
F-1 and J-1 Students:
For F-1 students, the travel signature is located on page 2 of your I-20 form. The travel signature is valid for 12 months from the date it was signed.
J-1 students, the travel signature is located on page 1 of your DS-2019 form. The travel signature is valid for 12 months from the date it was signed.
F-1 OPT and STEM OPT Extension Students:
F-1 must have a travel signature within six months of the time in which their travel and return occurs. Students returning to the U.S. after filing for or obtaining post-completion optional practical training employment authorization should be prepared to present evidence of their OPT and a job offer letter.
J-1 Academic Training Students:
J-1 must have a travel signature within 12 months of the time in which their travel and return occurs. Students returning to the U.S. after filing for or obtaining Academic training should be prepared to present a job offer letter or proof of employment (if employed).
- Valid passport (valid up to six months or more after reentry date).
- Valid F-1 or J-1 visa stamp in the passport.
- Valid Form I-20 or Form DS-2019 (and forms of any traveling family members with a valid travel signature on page 2 of I-20 (F-1 students) or page 1 of DS-2019 (J-1 students).
Students and scholars in F-1 or J-1 status should request a travel signature on Form I-20/ DS-2019 two weeks before any planned travel abroad. Please submit your Travel Signature Request in your iVandal.
Dependents wishing to return to the U.S. in F-2 or J-2 status must comply with the same conditions including a travel signature on their I-20 or DS-2019.
You must be enrolled in at least 12 credits (undergraduate) or 9 credits (graduate) at the U of I during the Fall or Spring Semester. Exceptions are made if you are enrolled below 12 academic units but have an approved Reduced Course Load authorization, or If you have applied for or have an approved F-1 Optional Practical Training (OPT) or J-1 Academic Training (AT) employment authorization.
- Log in to ivandal.uidaho.edu
- Go to Student Services tab.
- Select "Travel Signature Request (I-20/DS-2019)".
- Complete your request.
- Submit your request.
Please allow us three business days to review and complete your request. The IPO will send you an email when your request is ready.
After you return from you trip:
Within 15 days after arrival into the U.S., please upload your new I-94 in your iVandal (“Upload I-94 Record” under Immigration Documents) and review if the information is correct. There is no need to notify the International Programs Office when you have uploaded your I-94 form unless you are unable to find it on the CPB website.
If you are traveling within the U.S., including Hawaii and Alaska you do not require a valid visa or travel signature. However, you should always have a valid passport and I-20 or DS-2019 when traveling domestically.
Customs and Border Protection (CBP) may set up check points to check travelers’ immigration status so please be ready to present your original documents at these checkpoints.
While studying at the University of Idaho, students may want to invite family members or friends to visit them in the U.S. Family members who are not the children or spouse of the F-1 or J-1 student may need to apply for a tourist visa (B-1/B-2) or come to the U.S. under the U.S. Department of State Visa Waiver Program.
If you wish to support your visitor’s visa application, you may write a letter of invitation and provide them with proof of your enrollment at the U of I. The International Programs Office cannot issue a letter of invitation for visitors. However, we have provided a letter of invitation template for you to complete with your own information.
B-2 Invitation Letter Instructions & Template (Word)