Travel on Post-completion OPT or AT

F-1 Students on Optional Practical Training (OPT) after Graduation

When traveling outside the United State while on OPT please be sure that your reentry paperwork is in order and that you take with you the following:

  • Valid OPT Form I-20, signed on page 2 by an HIO advisor (the signature must not be more than six months old at the time of reentry to the United States)
  • Valid F-1 visa in the passport (except for Canadian citizens)*. If your F-1 visa is expired at the time of your reentry to the U.S. you must apply for a new F-1 visa to cover your OPT time. Please click here for information on renewing your F-1 visa.
  • Valid passport
  • Evidence of a job offer or evidence of resumption of employment. The employment letter should only confirm employment for the period of your approved OPT.
  • Employment Authorization Document (EAD) issued by USCIS (Printed on the EAD is the statement "not valid for reentry." This means that the EAD by itself is not sufficient for reentry, and must be used to enter the U.S. in conjunction with the above documents.)

*If you are on post-completion OPT and have a pending or approved H-1B petition, you are required to prove ties to you home country. Please consult your HIO advisor before applying for an F-1 visa while on post-completion OPT.

If you have the documents listed above, you may travel outside the U.S. and reenter any time even before  your OPT  begins. For example, if you graduate in May with an EAD that begins in July you may travel and return to the U.S. any time after graduation.

You must not use a Visitor Visa or Visa Waiver unless you are truly tourists, and plan on forfeiting your F-1 OPT.

F-2 Dependents of Students on OPT

  • Valid SEVIS Form I-20, signed on page 2 by an advisor in the HIO (the signature must not be more than six months old at the time of reentry to the United States)
  • Valid F-2 visa in the passport (except for Canadian citizens)
  • Valid passport
  • Photocopy of spouse's EAD

J-1 Students on Academic Training(AT) after Graduation

  • Valid Academic Training DS-2019 signed once a year in the "travel validation" section by an HIO advisor or by your J-1 program sponsor*
  • Valid J-1 visa in the passport (except for Canadian citizens)**
  • Valid passport
  • A letter from your employer as evidence of employment

* If the HIO issued your DS-2019 it must be signed in the 'travel validation' section by an advisor in the HIO. If your form was issued by another Exchange Visitor Program (Fulbright, LASPAU, AID) you should contact that organization directly to obtain travel signatures.

**If you are on post-completion AT and have a pending or approved H-1B petition, you are required to prove ties to you home country. Please consult your HIO advisor before applying for an J-1 visa while on post-completion AT.

You must not use a tourist visa unless you are truly tourists, and plan on abandoning your J-1 Academic Training.

If your J-1 visa is expired at the time of your reentry to the U.S. you must apply for a new J-1 visa to cover your AT time. Please click here for information on renewing your J-1 visa.

J-2 Dependents

  • Valid Form DS-2019 signed once a year in the "travel validation" section by a Responsible Officer of your spouse's Exchange Visitor Program
  • Valid J-2 visa stamp in the passport (except for Canadian citizens)
  • Valid passport