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Date: Dec 11, 2018

All university offices, including OIS, are closed December 24, December 25, December 31, January 1 and January 21.   All OIS offices will also close at 12:00 noon on Friday, January 11.

Other Location Specific Updates

OIS @ Medical Institutions

  • OIS @ Medical Institutions will maintain regular Monday-Thursday office hours during winter break.  
  • OIS @ Medical Institutions is closed to the public on Fridays but advisors are accessible via email and telephone.
  • There will be no walk-in advising December 26-28 and January 2-4.  

OIS @ Homewood

  • OIS @ Homewood will maintain regular Monday-Friday office hours during the winter break.  
    • Due to Homewood office maintenance, advisors may need to relocate temporarily.  Signs in Garland will direct clients to the temporary advising location.  
  • OIS @ Homewood will be closed December 26-28, but advisors will be accessible via telephone and email.  In addition, an advisor available in 143 Garland Hall each day between 12 noon and 1 pm for travel signatures.


SPECIAL NOTE:  We will have free Hot Chocolate at OIS Homewood Thursday and Friday, December 13 and 14, 1:00 to 4:00 p.m.   Come enjoy a cup while getting your travel signature.


  • OIS @ DC will close at 12:00 noon on Friday, December 28.  Otherwise, the DC office will maintain regular Monday-Friday office and walk in advising hours.

OIS@ Carey

  • The last day of OIS advising at Carey for the year will be Tuesday, December 18.   OIS advising at Carey will resume on Tuesday, January 15.  Carey students may still email and call OIS with questions, or visit the Homewood location during regular Homewood walk-in hours.

OIS @ Peabody

  • The last day of OIS advising at Peabody for the year will be Friday, December 14.   OIS advising at Peabody will resume on Friday, January 18.  Peabody students may still email and call OIS with questions, or visit the Homewood location during regular Homewood walk-in hours.

Below you will find information on the documentation needed to return to the US from international travel.   Please be sure that you have the necessary documents and signatures before you depart the US.  If you have any questions, talk to an OIS advisor during regular walk in hours.  

Basics for All Immigration Classifications.  All nonimmigrants must have the following items to reenter the US:

  • A passport that will be valid for at least 6 months after the date of reentry to the U.S. and
  • A valid, unexpired visa for the type of entry which is being requested (i.e., F-1 student, J-1 exchange visitor, H1-B temporary worker, etc.)   Note:  Citizens of Canada and Bermuda are exempt from visa requirements.  
    • Some individuals can travel to Mexico, Canada, or islands adjacent to the US except Cuba and return with an expired US visa.   You must check with OIS to see if you qualify for this exception.

F-1 and J-1 students and scholars must have:

  • An unexpired I-20 or DS-2019 with an OIS advisor travel signature that will be not more than 1 year old on the day you return to the U.S. 
  • NOTE:  The travel signature for F-1 students on OPT and J-1 Short-Term Scholars is valid for only 6 months.  
  • F-1 Students on OPT must normally show their valid EAD and proof of current employment.  You can click on the links that follow for information on travel for Post-Completion OPT and for STEM OPT.
    •  J-1 Alien Physicians sponsored by ECFMG must obtain a travel signature from ECFMG personnel, not OIS staff.   Plan ahead!  Information is available on the ECFMG travel page

Employees in H-1B or O-1 status must have several items to document immigration status.  Carefully review the information on the web for H-1B travel and O-1 travel and contact OIS with any questions.

Airlines and immigration officers may prohibit you from boarding an airplane or deny you entry to the US if you do not have complete reentry documentation.   A call to OIS can sometimes help (667-208-7001 during regular business hours; 443-240-1938 after hours only for emergencies).  However, there is still no guarantee a border official will re-admit you to the U.S. if you have incomplete documentation.