Frequently Asked Questions
The federal government shares FAQs for F-1 students traveling internationally here. Since international travel guidance can differ depending on your individual immigration situation, please reach out to International Student Services for any questions.
Be sure to have the following documents with you whenever you travel outside the U.S.
- Valid passport
- Valid visa
- Printed/hard copy of current I-20 with a valid travel endorsement (signature) on page 2 of I-20
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
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.
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.
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.
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. Please visit the Department of State Student Visa page to learn about the F-2 application process, which will have many similarities to the F-1 process.
F-2 applicants must have a Form I-20 issued by Rush University.
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)
Visit your home country’s U.S. Embassy/Consulate website, click on “visas” and then “nonimmigrant visas”. This will redirect you to the US Travel Docs/Global Support Services website specific to that country’s U.S. Embassy/Consulates. Please follow the instructions on this website, which will direct you or your dependent family member to fill out Form DS-160, pay any necessary fees, gather documents, and schedule the F-2 visa appointment.
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:
- Proof of employment
- Proof of property ownership
- Proof of contact with other family members in the home country
- Proof of finances
To support their request to visit you can do the following:
- Write a letter of invitation.
- Request a letter of verification.
The Department of Homeland Security’s COVID-19 guidance related to F-1 International Students can be found here under Nonimmigrant Students and SEVP-Certified Schools (COVID-19 Archived Guidance).
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