Travel for International Students

Please always check with the Center for International Education staff before you plan your travel abroad.

Each person's individual circumstances differ. So these are general guidelines. This information may not be all you need to determine whether it is appropriate to travel or whether you will be readmitted to the US. Be sure to contact the Designated School Official (DSO) in the Center for International Education (CIE). Please remember that the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer at the Port of Entry (POE) decides whether or not a person is admissible to the US. This decision is based upon the facts and circumstances presented at the time you apply to enter, therefore, it is important to know your situation and carry the proper documentation.

Students living on-campus:
While you are on the campus, you do not need to carry your passport, I-94, and I-20 with you. Be sure you have them safely stored. If you leave campus, you need to have your documents with you at all times.

You should carry your passport, I-94 card, and I-20 with you in case you are asked for proof of your identity from authorities.

Inside the US:
The same holds true as above, carry your passport, I-94 and I-20.

Outside the US:
Students who travel abroad must show proper documentation to re-enter the US. They must not have been gone from the US more than 5 months for the subsequent guidelines. At the port of entry, you must present the following:

  • Valid passport with expiration date at least 6 months from the date of entry. For exceptions, see the Passport agreement list on the back of this page for countries with agreements with the US for shorter expiration dates.
  • Valid F-1 visa stamp in passport
  • I-20 that has been endorsed by the DSO in CIE within the last 6 months (technically, the signature is valid for one year, but many agents at the port of entry prefer to see the endorsement from the school more frequently).
  • Other recommended documents: Financial documents showing that you have the funds to pay for your educational and living expenses while here, recent transcripts, receipt from I-901 SEVIS fee payment, and a letter from CIE verifying you are a student at GCU.

Exceptions to the travel documentation above apply to travel to Canada, Mexico or adjacent islands with the exception of Cuba. If you plan to travel to one of these locations for fewer than 30 days, retain your I-94 card. Even if your visa is expired, you may still be readmitted based on an automatic revalidation of your visa.

If you need a validating signature for you I-20, please bring it to CIE several days before your planned departure for processing!