Big Data

Travel outside the U.S.

Traveling abroad including Canada and Mexica plus re-entry information.

If you are traveling abroad, including short trips to Mexico and Canada, you must meet the entry requirements of the country you wish to visit in addition to the U.S. requirements for re-entry. You should check with the embassy/consulate of the country you plan to visit as early as possible to see if that country requires you to apply for a visa.

General Information

Trips Solely to Canada and Mexico for 30 days or less

  • Students are eligible to travel with an expired visa or a change of visa status using Automatic Revalidation as long as they do not apply for a new visa during the visit and are not a citizen or national of a country that has been designated as a state sponsor of terrorism.
  • Students are expected to bring all the travel documents listed under “Documents for Re-Entry to the USA”

Documents for Re-Entry to the USA

  • U.S. Immigrations and Customs Student and Exchange Visitor Program
  • The original copy of your most recent I-20 or DS-2019 form with a travel signature that is no older than 12 months
    • If you are on OPT, a travel signature must be no older than 6 months
    • Only a staff member in the International Center who is a Designated School Official can issue a travel signature
  • Unexpired Passport
  • Unexpired F-1/J-1 Visa
  • Proof of paying the I-901 SEVIS fee
  • Cal Poly ID
  • Copy of current class schedule
  • In addition to your Cal Poly ID, if asked about your current enrollment, we recommend you have access to your Poly Profile or bring a copy of your current class schedule

Requesting a Travel Signature

If your signature will be over a year old when you return to the USA (or six months old if you are on post-completion OPT) then you will need a new travel signature.

  • Drop off your I-20/DS-2019 at the International Center front desk (Bldg. 52, Room E-32) Monday through Friday from 9am to 5pm
  • Travel signatures can typically be issued within 2-3 business days and you will be emailed when your document is ready for pickup
  • If traveling over a break, you should be enrolled in at least one class at Cal Poly for the following quarter

Increased Security at Ports of Entry

Re-Entry After Program End Date

If you have questions about traveling after your program end date listed on your I-20 or DS-2019 form, please email