F1 international students can travel outside the United States, but you must request permission and bring the following documents on your trip:
- valid passport with expiration date at least 6 months into the future
- valid I-20 signed on page 3
- valid F1 visa stamp in your passport
- up-to-date academic transcript
- letter from the International Center verifying that you are a student in good standing
You cannot travel if you changed to F1 status from another visa while in the United States, unless you obtain an F1 visa stamp at a U.S. embassy while on your travels. Make an appointment with an advisor to learn how this process works.
You cannot travel if you are violating F1 status, or if you have been suspended or dismissed from North Lake.
If you have graduated from NLC but are on OPT, the re-entry documents/requirements include your passport, plus these:
- valid OPT EAD card, issued by USCIS
- letter from employer stating valid dates of employment, on company letterhead
Before leaving the country
You must request permission to travel outside the United States from the NLC International Center at least four weeks before your planned departure. Just bring these to the front desk:
- your original I-20 form
- copy of your passport's F1 visa stamp
- copy of your passport's ID page
- copy of your I-94 card, front and back, or information so we can find your digital I-94
- completed travel request form (available online or at our office)
- copy of your travel plans with date of departure from the United States and date of return
We will respond within three to five business days. If you have any more questions, make an appointment to see an F1 advisor.
Important facts about traveling
A travel request is not required if you plan to travel inside the United States. However, we recommend you take your original I-20 and passport on your trip.
When you come back from a trip, you must return to the International Center to confirm you are back at North Lake. If you don't check in, there will be a registration block on your account.
Leaves of absence
You must make an appointment with an F1 advisor if you plan to be away for 5 months or longer, or if your travel will cause you to miss any classes. Long travel may require a leave of absence from NLC, or it may result in an F1 status violation.
Traveling while classes are in session
If you plan to travel at any time during the semester, make an appointment to discuss your travel plans with an F1 advisor. We recommend that you do not book travel plans during classes until talking with an advisor. Students must be in good academic standing in the current semester to travel.