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International Students

Travel Basics

  • You may travel freely within the U.S. at any time.
  • You may leave the U.S. at any time. Note, however, that you may need a visa to enter other countries. Please check with the relevant embassy to determine entry requirements for any country you are planning to visit during your travels.
  • If you re-enter the U.S., you must have all necessary documents with you.
  • We recommend that you carry your I-20 and passport with you when you travel.

Documents REQUIRed for International Travel & Re-entry WHEN TRAVELING OUTSIDE THE u.s. FOR FIVE MONTHS OR LESS

Visit the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) website for additional details.

Please note that the requirements below apply to dependents as well.

  • Passport (must be valid for six months beyond the date of re-entry)
  • Valid U.S. Visa for your current visa status. See the ICE website for exceptions.
  • I-20 signed for travel
    • Travel signatures are valid for one year. However, if you have approved OPT, travel signature is valid for six months.
  • Financial document (e.g., bank statement) showing proof of necessary funds to cover tuition and living expenses.

At the Border

What happens to my I-94 card when I leave and re-enter the U.S.?

  • When you leave the U.S., you will give this document to border officers or airline officials.
    • Exception: When traveling to Canada, Mexico, and most Caribbean islands, you may be allowed to keep your I-94 if you will be out of the U.S. for less than 30 days.
  • When you return to the U.S., you will receive a new I-94.

What happens when I cross the border into the U.S.?

  • Have your passport, visa, and I-20 or DS-2019 ready for the Immigration officer.
  • The Immigration officer will put a stamp on your:
    • I-20 (if there is not a stamp on page one of the document)
    • I-94 (unless you are returning with the same I-94)
  • The stamp will list your immigration status and "D/S" (Duration of Status).
  • You will have your fingerprints taken and possibly have your photo taken.

What should I do if I have problems at the border?

  • Ask the border officer to call the University Registrar at 660.626.2356 or 866.626.2878 ext. 2356. They can also send an email to
  • Ask the border officer for an I-515 which is a document that allows you into the U.S. for 30 days.
  • If you receive an I-515, please make an appointment with the Registrar following your return to campus.

Keeping Your Documents Valid

How do I make sure my passport is valid?

  • Your passport must be valid for at least 6 more months at the time you re-enter the U.S.
  • Some countries have passport agreements with the U.S. which would allow you to enter with less than six months remaining on your passport.
  • Contact your country's embassy or consulate for instructions for renewing your passport.

How do I renew my visa?

  • If your visa has expired or you have used all of the entries, you must have it renewed at a U.S. embassy or consulate.
  • You may go to a U.S. embassy or consulate in your home country or another country.
  • Instructions for renewing your visa can be found at:

How do I make sure my I-20 is valid for re-entry?

  • Please review your I-20 before you travel.  If an update is needed, contact the Registrar’s Office so that you may receive a new document or travel signature before leaving the U.S.  Page 3 of your I-20 requires a current signature every 12 months or every 6 months while on OPT. 
  • If a new signature is needed, notify the Registrar’s Office in MO or Assistant Vice President – Student Affairs in AZ at least 1 week prior to travel.  If you are not on the MO or AZ campus, you will need to request a new signed copy be mailed to you.  
      • If you do not have time to wait for regular mail, you can request your updated I-20 be sent via FedEx Overnight using the I-20 FedEx Request Form. There is a $25 fee to mail within the US.  Due to varying international rates, the FedEx fee may be greater than $25.  If mailing to an international address, any FedEx fee greater than $25 will be charged to your credit card.  Please allow a 1-2 day processing time for all requests.
      • You are also welcome to mail us your own prepaid envelope.