Before traveling outside of the United States all international visitors should verify that their immigration documents are in order. Scholars should consider the following. 

Do you need a visa?

If a you intend to visit a country other than your home country, contact the consulate or embassy for the country you intend to visit to inquire whether you will need a visa. Learn about the the procedures and timeline for visa applications. Embassies of Other Nations in the U.S. 

Is your passport valid?

Passport must be valid at least 6 months beyond the date you plan to re-enter the U.S and, ideally, should be valid at least six months beyond your intended stay in the US. If a you need to renew you passport, contact your home country's embassy in the U.S. and learn about the procedures and timeline for passport extensions. Embassies of Other Nations in the U.S. 

Is your US visa valid?

All international visitors who travel outside of the US must have a valid visa (for their current non-immigrant status) in order to re-enter the US. If your visa will expire prior to re-entering the U.S., or if you have a single entry visa, you must apply for a new visa while outside of the U.S. The only exception to this regulation is if you are traveling to Canada or Mexico for less than 30 days on the Automatic Extension of Visa Vadility. For more information on applying for a visa abroad, see the visa information page. 

What documents do you need to bring with you?

International visitors must have documents verifying their status in order to re-enter the US. Check the links below for more information about travel documents necessary for each status

All scholars should be prepared to present a packet of information to the Consulate if asked for additional information, including:

  • Letter from sponsoring professor
  • Copy of most recent curriculum vitae or resume
  • Copies of a few of latest publications, if available

Travel to Canada, Mexico, or adjacent Caribbean Islands

If you will travel to Canada, Mexico or the adjacent Caribbean Islands (other than Cuba) for 30 days or less, you may be eligible for automatic extension of validity of visa. In other words, you may re-enter the U.S. with an expired U.S. visa stamp in your passport.Learn more about Automatic Extension of Validity of Visa.

Security Clearances & Visa Delays

Be aware if you are in a research field that may be considered of US national security interest you may face serious delays receiving a visa while a background check is being conducted. It is impossible to predict how long a background check might take (one week to 6 months), and it is not possible for any agency to intervene to expedite the background check. Learn more about Security Clearances and how to help prevent visa delays.

Traveler Redress Inquiry Prgoram (DHS TRIP)

If you have inquiries or seek resolution regarding difficulties you experienced during your travel screening at transportation hubs—like airports and train stations—or crossing U.S. borders, please contact DHS TRIP.

This includes:

  • watch list issues
  • screening problems at ports of entry
  • situations where travelers believe they have been unfairly or incorrectly delayed, denied boarding or identified for additional screening at our nation’s transportation hubs