Traveling Outside of the United States
International students on an F-1 visa are expected to maintain their status requirements while studying in the United States. According to the Department of Homeland Security, students should not take any action that detracts from the purpose of studying on an F-1 visa. This includes but is not limited to traveling outside of the United States during active class session. It is important to be aware of both USCIS policy as well as Trine University policy regarding traveling during the active class session. You must notify your DSO and Academic Advisor PRIOR to your travel.
Students are not permitted to travel outside of the United States during active class session. Students who request to travel outside of the United States during active class session will be withdrawn from their current courses. Students will have the opportunity to resume classes in the next term after establishing a plan with their assigned DSO and Academic Advisor to either return to the United States or switch to online studies.
This policy applies to all international students studying on an F-1 visa with an ACTIVE SEVIS record. Students wishing to apply for a future change of status to F-1 may want to also follow this policy to assist with future F-1 approval.
You must communicate with your Academic Advisor and DSO prior to leaving the United States. Students who communicate prior to their departure will be given an Authorized Early Withdraw (AEW). This is a temporary termination on your SEVIS record that can typically be re-activated prior to your arrival back to the United States. Students who do not notify their DSO and Academic Advisor prior to their departure from the United States will have their SEVIS record terminated for Unauthorized Early Withdraw (UEW). This can result in difficulty for future plans to return to the US.
We understand that situations occur where a student may need to return home for a very short period of time during active class session that will not result in a disruption to their academic studies. In the event that a student needs to leave the U.S. for a short period of time (less than a week), the student can remain in ACTIVE status and can remain enrolled in classes. It is important that the student understand that they are leaving and re-entering the United States at their own risk as it is not advised that students travel during active class session. Students will not be able to access Moodle while outside of the United States. Again, students must notify their DSO and Academic Advisor PRIOR to their departure.
Students should only travel outside of the United States during approved breaks. Approved breaks are periods where class is not in session. This includes:
- Summer Vacation
- Winter Break
- Break between terms each semester
We do not recommend traveling outside of the United States during active class session. Students risk being denied re-entry from CBP if they leave while class is in session. Students will also not be able to access their courses outside of the United States, potentially resulting in academic deficiency.
Students may need to briefly return home during active class session to renew their visa or receive visa stamping for COS. Students are able to do this and maintain their active status. It is not expected that students be gone for more than 1 week to complete this process. It is important to have your appointment scheduled prior to departing to limit your time outside of the United States.
Students who return home have the option to switch to online studies while in their home country. Students will be withdrawn from current courses prior to leaving the United States. They will then have the option to work with their academic advisor to switch to online studies in the upcoming term. This will allow them to continue their studies outside of the United States. Please note, this will not count toward the academic requirements for OPT recommendation/approval.
Approximately 3 weeks prior to your planned return date, students should contact their DSO and Academic Advisor. The Academic Advisor will place the student in classes for the upcoming term and the DSO will issue the necessary I-20 for the student’s return to the United States. Students cannot arrive to the United States more than 30 days prior to the start of classes.
Students are not permitted to travel while on CPT. Your employer should be aware that your academic progress is your top priority as an F-1 student and work travel outside of the United States is not recommended. This should be considered when researching potential CPT opportunities. Please refer to the CPT Information Page for more details.
Traveling while your OPT is pending is not recommended. Students who travel while OPT is pending risk OPT denial.
Students should not travel while change of status is pending. This could result is denial.
Students will need to have their I-20 document with DSO signature to re-enter. The status of the I-20 with either be ACTIVE or INITIAL. Students should also have the following documents prior to departure and upon re-entry:
- Valid Passport
- Valid Visa
- Documents to prove financial stability:
- Bank statements
- Sponsor letters
- Documents to prove enrollment in the US:
- Admission letters
- Unofficial Transcripts
- Course Schedule
- Proof of Enrollment Letter
- Form I-901, SEVIS Fee Receipt
- Additional documents to support why you left the United States as needed.