Student Resources


Required Documents

Be sure to have the following documents with you whenever you travel outside the U.S.

  • Valid passport
  • Valid visa
  • I-20 with a valid travel signature

In addition, students on OPT or STEM OPT should also carry:

  • Employment Authorization Document (EAD)
  • An employment letter demonstrating 90 days of unemployment has not been exceeded

Travel Signature

We recommend requesting a travel signature each time you plan to travel outside the United States. If you left without requesting your travel signature, please email International Student Services so we can assist you.

Visa Renewal

International students must have a valid visa to reenter the United States. If your visa has expired, please plan to visit the U.S. embassy or consulate in your home country to apply for a new visa.

Automatic Revalidation

In most cases an F-1 visa holder with an expired visa is allowed automatic visa revalidation if they have traveled to Mexico, Canada or an adjacent island for 30 days or less, have a valid I-20 and valid unexpired I-94. For more information, please visit the DOS Automatic Revalidation website.

Additional Resources

U.S. Department of State

Visa Wait Times

U.S. Embassies and Consulates Worldwide

U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Service (USCIS)

U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP)

U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE)

Foreign Embassies/Consulates in the U.S.

Canadian Visas and Travel to Canada

Mexican Visas and Travel to Mexico

International Families

Inviting Dependents to the U.S.

The legal spouse and children under the age of 21 of an F-1 visa holder are eligible to apply for an F-2 visa. Similar to the process for requesting an F-1 visa, F-2 applicants must:

  1. Have a Form I-20
  2. Pay the SEVIS I-901 fee
  3. Apply for the F-2 visa at a U.S. embassy or consulate. Visit the Department of State Student Visa page for more information on what to bring to the interview.

To request an I-20 for a dependent complete this form and upload the following documents:

  • Copy of passport biographical page
  • Proof of financial support ($6,000 per dependent)

Inviting Extended Family and Domestic Partners to the U.S.

Extended family members and domestic partners need to apply for a B-1/B-2 Visitor Visa in order to visit. B-1/B-2 visa applicants will need to show they have sufficient family and employment ties to their home country and have funding to cover the cost of the trip.

They should be prepared to bring the following with them to the interview:

  1. Proof of employment
  2. Proof of property ownership
  3. Proof of contact with other family members in the home country
  4. Proof of finances

To support their request to visit you can do the following:

  1. Write a letter of invitation. 
  2. Request a letter of verification.

Childcare, Schooling, and Learning English Resources

Adjustment Assistance

Government guidance: International students and COVID-19

The Department of Homeland Security’s latest COVID-19 guidance related to F-1 International Students can be found here. Please use Google Chrome to open the link.

Federal Guidance for the 2021-2022 Academic Year

Contact Us

International Student Services Armour Academic Center, Suite 440 600 S. Paulina Chicago, IL 60612

Hours: Monday - Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Phone: (312) 942-2030