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Travel

Contact

International Students and Scholars

125 Wright Hall
Smith College
Northampton, MA USA

Phone: 413-585-7598
Fax: 413-585-4982
Email: interstu@smith.edu

Open office hours: Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, from 2:30–4 p.m.

In order to maintain continuity in your visa status, it is important to enter the United States using your F-1 or J-1 student status throughout your program. Even during college breaks, you should enter in your student status.

Travel Documents

To travel to Smith, you will always need your:

  • Passport: must be valid for at least 6 months at all times
  • Visa*: valid F-1 or J-1 entry visa which will be glued inside your passport. If you renew your passport, your valid visa may be in your old passport.
  • I-20 or DS-2019: original SEVIS I-20 (for F visas) or DS-2019 (for J visas) to enter the United States as a student

*Canadian citizens do not need an entry visa in their passport to be admitted as a student.

Travel Signatures

Each year, the ISSO must sign your I-20 or DS-2019 on page two to validate it for international travel. A travel signature will be valid for 12 months. If you plan to apply for a new visa while at home, your I-20 or DS-2019 should be signed within the last six months.

For helpful travel tips in F-1 status, see the Department of Homeland Security's page on "Traveling as an International Student."


Common Problems at the Border

In Case of Emergency

If you ever have an emergency at the border, please contact the ISSO! We can be reached during business hours at +1.413.585.4905. If you experience problems after business hours, please call Campus Police at +1.413.585.2490, and they will contact Dean Caitlin directly.

Renewing Entry Visa

Each time you enter the United States, your entry visa must be valid. If you travel internationally after your F-1 visa has expired, you will need to renew that visa prior to re-entry. This renewal process is most easily completed in your home country, but can also be completed in US Consulates where "third country national" applications are accepted.  Please contact the nearest US Embassy or Consulate for more information about the F-1 renewal process.

Staying in U.S. with Expired Entry Visa 

If your visa expires while you are here, you do not need to leave! An expired entry visa simply means you must renew it the next time you exit the country. When you are stamped in at Customs, your stamp reads “Class: F-1 until D/S.” That D/S stands for Duration of Status, which means that as long as you continue to abide by F-1 rules, you can stay as long as your program requires. There are students who stay in the U.S. on an expired entry visa for years! Just make sure you keep your I-20 up-to-date and maintain your F-1 status.

Short-Term Travel on Expired Visa

If you plan to travel to Canada, Mexico, or some of the Caribbean Islands, you may be able to do so with an expired U.S. entry visa. Read through the details of the Automatic Revalidation on the U.S. Department of State’s website to learn more. Remember, you still may need a visa to enter your destination country. 

Don’t panic if you forget your I-20. Contact the ISSO as soon as you can. If there is time, we can mail you a new I-20 where you are. If you are leaving imminently, you’ll need to pass through Customs & Border Protection without complete documentation. It is important to enter as an F-1 student no matter what—do not enter on a tourist visa!

When you arrive, explain to the officer that you do not have the appropriate paperwork. Remember, your SEVIS record will always verify your student status. You will likely be passed into Secondary/Deferred Inspections, where an officer can review your record electronically. You should be issued an I-515A, which gives you 30 days temporary admission. During that 30 day window, you’ll need to secure your proper documentation and send it to Immigrations & Customs Enforcement. At that time, they will extend your status to D/S, Duration of Status.

Don’t panic if you forget to get a new signature. Contact the ISSO as soon as you can. If there is time, we may be able to mail you a new I-20 where you are. If you are leaving imminently, you’ll need to pass through Customs & Border Protection without complete documentation. It is important to enter as an F-1 student no matter what—do not enter on a tourist visa!

When you arrive, explain to the officer that you do not have the appropriate paperwork. Remember, your SEVIS record will always verify your student status. You will likely be passed into Secondary/Deferred Inspections, where an officer can review your record electronically. You should be issued an I-515A, which gives you 30 days temporary admission. During that 30 day window, you’ll need to secure your proper documentation and send it to Immigrations & Customs Enforcement. At that time, they will extend your status to D/S, Duration of Status.