Skip Navigation

COVID-19 Immigration-Related FAQs

It is important that you review these FAQs prior to travel.  If you have any questions, contact OIS.

Travel Outside the U.S. and Re-entry to the U.S.

In the past few years, there have been a number of changes that may affect international students and scholars who plan to leave and re-enter the United States. The U.S. Department of State and the Customs and Border Protection bureau of Department of Homeland Security have increased the level of review that international visitors face at U.S. Embassies and Consulates abroad, at airports, and at border crossing posts with Canada and Mexico.

If you plan to travel outside the U.S., you will need to be aware of important immigration and security regulations to ensure that you can leave and re-enter the U.S.

Visa Information

Prior to travelling abroad you should check the validity of your visa stamp in your passport to confirm that it is valid for re-entry to the U.S.

Travel Signatures 

All F-1 & J-1 internationals are required to obtain a travel signature in order to return to the U.S.  For F-1 students and J-1 students and research scholars, the signature is valid for one year or until the I-20 or DS-2019 expires, which ever is earlier.  For J-1 short-term scholars, the signature is valid for 6 months or until the DS-2019 expires, which ever is earlier.  During F-1 OPT, the signature is valid for 6 months.  

F-1 STUDENTS

Students may request a travel signature or I-20 reprint by submitting the “Travel Signature/I-20 Reprint Form” in iHopkins under the F-1 Student Services section. Please plan ahead and allow up to 10 business days for issuing your I-20. You will have the following options for receiving your I-20:

  1. U.S. Postal Service (U.S. addresses only)
     
  2. eShip Global
     
  3. Electronic I-20 [F-1 Students ONLY]. During the COVID-19 emergency, SEVP is allowing schools to issue the I-20 electronically. If you choose this option, you will receive a digitally signed Form I-20 that contains a digitally reproduced copy of a physical signature. We will send it to you by secure email to the email address we have on file. To open the email and retrieve your I-20 from a non-JHU email address, you will be prompted to set up an account with Cisco Registered Envelope Service (CRES). Instructions for creating an account can be found here.

SEVP has coordinated with both the Department of State and U.S. Customs and Border Protection regarding their policy to allow electronic I-20 issuance for the duration of the COVID-19 emergency. You may want to consider printing the announcement and carrying it with you when you apply for a visa or enter the U.S. to help avoid confusion.

 

J-1 STUDENTS

J-1 Students may request a travel signature or DS-2019 document collection (for extensions/amendments, date changes, or reprint reasons). Please plan ahead and allow up to 10 business days for issuing and shipping your new DS-2019. You will have the following options for receiving your DS-2019.

  1. U.S. Postal Service (U.S. addresses only): Provide the preferred mailing address to j1-scholars@jhmi.edu with the subject line: STANDARD MAIL SHIPPING REQUEST. Indicate in the subject line whether the purpose is TRAVEL SIGNATURE or DS-2019 DOCUMENT COLLECTION
    .
  2. eShip Global: Submit an eShip Global request *then* immediately submit an e-mail to j1-scholars@jhmi.edu with the subject line: eShipGlobal e-form submitted. Indicate in the subject line whether the purpose is TRAVEL SIGNATURE or DS-2019 DOCUMENT COLLECTION. 

J-1 SCHOLARS

J-1 Scholars may request a travel signature or DS-2019 reprint by submitting the "Travel Signature/DS-2019 Reprint Form" in iHopkins under the J-1 Scholar Services Section. Please plan ahead and allow up to 10 business days for issuing and shipping your new DS-2019. You will have the following options for receiving your DS-2019.

  1. U.S. Postal Service (U.S. addresses only)
     
  2. eShip Global

 

For J-1 Alien Physicians sponsored by ECFMG, only ECFMG personnel can provide the required travel validation signature.  Please consult the ECFMG travel page for more information.