Travel Documents

Travelers should verify that they have all documents necessary to enter the United States before traveling.

Entry Documents

In order to cross the border into the U.S., travelers must provide border officials documents that authorize entry into the U.S., such as:

  • U.S. visa foil (in their passport) issued by a U.S. Consulate,
  • U.S. permanent residency card,
  • U.S. advance parole card,
  • U.S. passport, or
  • other entry document. 



If you have questions about your entry documents,

contact International Services.

Before you go - Planning your trip

Passport Validity

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 U.S. Countries exempt from the six-month rule requirement are listed at U.S. Customs Border Protection. If you need to renew your passport, contact your home country's embassy in the U.S.

U.S. Visa

Travelers in an immigration status that requires a visa (e.g. J-1, H-1B, E-3, O-1, etc.) must have an unexpired visa foil in their passport in order to cross the border into the U.S. In most circumstances, Canadian citizens do not require a U.S. visa.

Visa Application Timing

Travelers must ensure that they allow for enough time to apply for and receive a valid visa before they cross the border into the U.S. Information on applying for a U.S. visa at a U.S. Consulate.

Administrative Processing & Visa Processing Delays

One of the most common reasons for visa delay is due to a refusal under section 221(g) of the INA - incomplete application or supporting documentation. In most cases you can provide the missing documents to have your application reviewed again.

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 or for any agency to intervene to expedite the background check. Learn more about administrative and visa processing delays from the Department of State.

Legal Concerns

If you have had any encounters with law enforcement it is strongly recommended that you consult with an immigration attorney before traveling out of the U.S. as some encounters may lead to visa revocation or impact reentry to the U.S., even if your U.S. visa may appear unchanged in your passport. 

Visa Requirements for Other Countries

If you intend to visit a country other than your home country, contact the consulate or embassy of each country to determine if you will need a visa to enter. It may be easier to find information by looking at the host-country’s consulate in your home country (for example, if you are a citizen of Albania and are traveling to Zimbabwe, you may want to look at the Zimbabwe consulate in Albania to find out what the requirements are for Albanians traveling to Zimbabwe). This process may take several months, so inquire early.

Automatic Visa Revalidation

In limited circumstances, it may be possible to travel with an expired visa if you are traveling to Canada, Mexico or the adjacent Caribbean Islands for less than 30 days under Automatic Revalidation. Additional information from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

Entry Documents Required for Specific Immigration Statuses

To apply for visa or cross the border into the U.S., travelers may need to provide U.S. immigration documents in addition to the visa foil placed in their passport by the U.S. Consulate. 

Travelers should be prepared to provide the following documents:

  • Offer letter or invitation letter from OSU department
  • Documentation of financial resources
  • See below for any additional immigration documents that are required for specific immigration categories.

J Exchange Visitors

Travel Signature

Travel signatures are valid for up to 12-months (6-months for J-1 exchange visitors in the Short-Term Scholar category) or until the program end date listed on the DS-2019, whichever is sooner.

SEVIS Fee Payment

J-1 exchange visitors are initially required to pay the Student Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) SEVIS I-901 fee. If you have paid the SEVIS I-901 fee and have the same SEVIS ID number, you do not need to pay it again. Pay your fee, check the status of a fee payment, or reprint a receipt.

H-1B Employees

Original H-1B Approval Notice (I-797)

International employees receive the original H-1B Approval Notice (I-797) from International Services once their application is approved by USCIS. Contact International Services with questions related to travelling in H-1B status.

Recent Pay Stubs

Obtain recent pay stubs confirming ongoing employment at OSU from your MyOregonState account.

Dependent Family Members (J-1, H-4, etc)

Proof of Family Relationship

Legal document that proves the family relationship such as marriage certificate, birth certificate, family register, etc.

Proof of U.S. Immigration Status of Principal Visa Holder

Proof of U.S. immigration status of the principal visa holder such as copy of I-94 record, visa or entry stamp, or immigration documents.

Status Specific Immigration Documents

Copies of documents recommended for the primary visa holder (such as a copy of the H-1B Approval Notice (I-797)), or original documents for dependent (such as the J-2 DS-2019 with valid travel signature). 



Civil Documents by Country



Print I-94 Record

After You Return - Upon Entering the U.S.

Following a trip abroad, please provide International Services with any updated travel documentation.

I-94 Arrival/Departure Record

The I-94 is the official document which confirms legal immigration status in the U.S. Most I-94 arrival/departure records can be accessed online. Travelers should print a copy of the I-94 that was entered on arrival and confirm that the information on the document is accurate.

Updated Documentation

Copies of updated or renewed travel documentation (I-94, U.S. visa, passport) should be uploaded to the international employee or exchange visitor's IP Connect record.

Traveler Redress Inquiry Program (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