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Travel While OPT Application is Pending

International travel while an OPT application is pending can be risky and is not generally recommended. If you have an OPT application pending and believe you must travel, please consult with an OIS advisor during walk-in hours or via email to


Travel After OPT is Approved

If your post-completion OPT has been approved (your EAD card has been issued by USCIS) and you have a job or a job offer, you may leave and re-enter the U.S. in order to begin or resume employment.

After USCIS has issued an EAD card for post-completion OPT, in order to have the best chance of re-entering the U.S. without problems, you should be sure you have the following documents:

  • Passport (valid for six months after you plan to re-enter the U.S.)
  • Valid F-1 visa stamp in your passport*
  • I-20 (with a valid travel signature no older than six months)
  • EAD card
  • Evidence that you already have a job in the U.S. or that you have a job offer.

*The visa stamp requirement does not apply to Canadian citizens.

If you need to apply for a new F-1 visa, you should also be sure to have your EAD card and evidence that you already have a job in the U.S. or that you have a job offer in addition to the usual documents required for a visa application.


Travel During OPT STEM Extension

Students who wish to travel outside the U.S. during their OPT STEM Extension should take the following with them:

  • I-20 with travel signature on page 2 from an OIS advisor. Regardless of where you are working, you will need an OIS advisor to sign your I-20 so please plan in advance. You can mail your I-20 to us and we will return it with a signature. During OPT, travel signatures are valid for 6 months.
  • Valid F-1 visa stamp
  • Valid passport
  • EAD card issued for the 17 month extension
  • Letter of Employment or Offer Letter from employer