Immigration Information

Immigration and Visa graphic

Please use the information below as a guide for IUP international students and scholars on F and J visas. Our office advises students and scholars and their families about how to maintain their status while in the US. During the COVID-19 crisis, our office will contact all IUP international students via email to inform them of any updates to immigration or travel requirements. We review and advise based on regulations and policies set by Student and Exchange Visitor Program, US Citizenship and Immigration Services, and the US Department of State.

Note: Please make electronic copies of all your immigration documents in case they are lost or stolen or if you need information from them. Do not carry original documents daily unless absolutely necessary.

Rules to Follow

  • Passport and Visa: Keep your passport valid for at least six months into the future. If you need to extend your passport while in the U.S., you should contact your country's embassy or consulate in the U.S. Your visa must be valid for entry into the U.S. only. If your visa expires while here, you can remain as long as your I-20 is valid.
  • Address: Notify the Office of International Education of your local address when you arrive at IUP and about any change in address within 10 days of moving. Please follow instructions on how to update your address in MyIUP.
  • Full course of study: To remain a full-time student, you must take 12 or more credit hours if you are an undergraduate student or nine or more credit hours if you are a graduate student during each academic semester (fall and spring). Before you drop a full course of study, you must get approval from the international student advisor in the Office of International Education. Students are not permitted to take a semester off. Please complete the Reduced Course Load Form.
  • Employment:
    • Off-campus: It is a serious violation of your status to work off campus without prior authorization from the Department of Homeland Security.
    • On-campus: You are allowed to work on campus for a maximum of 20 hours per week while school is in session. These 20 hours include work for an assistantship. Students are permitted to work 40 hours per week on campus during breaks (summer, winter, and spring).
  • Extension: If you have valid academic or health reasons, you can request for more time to complete your program at IUP than that which is authorized on the IUP I-2 or DS-2019. The request to extend the program must be done before the expiration date on your I-20 or DS-2019. Please complete the Program Extension Form.
  • Completion of Study: If you have completed your studies or practical training and did not change to another immigration status, you must leave the U.S. within
    • Sixty days: F1 students
    • Thirty days: J1 students
  • Departure: Any earlier departure from IUP, before the end date on your I-20 or DS-2019, requires you to inform the Office of International Education about the date and reason for doing so.
  • Travel: If you plan to leave the U.S., please let OIE know of your departure. You must have the following documents with you to re-enter the country:
    • Valid passport
    • I-20 with a valid signature. The signature is valid for 12 months.
    • U.S. visa stamp in your passport must be valid for your return to the U.S. If it has expired or will expire, you need to obtain a new student visa abroadit cannot be renewed in the U.S.
    • Proof of enrollment. You can request a letter from International Education stating that you are valid as a student at IUP.
  • Students traveling outside the U.S. who fall under "special registration" must have an exit interview with immigration officials at the airport from which their international flight departs. If you travel within the U.S., International Education recommends that you carry your passport, I-94 card, and I-20 or DS-2019 form.
  • Academic Program or Degree Level Change: If you plan to change your academic program or degree level, you must inform International Education. You will receive a new I-20 or DS-2019, which has to be produced within 15 days of beginning the new program or degree level.
  • Attending Another School (Transfer): If you decide to attend another university, you must notify International Education of your intention. According to DHS, International Education must transfer your record in SEVIS to your new school. After that, the new school can issue you a new I-20 or DS-2019. Please complete the SEVIS Transfer Form.
  • Dependents: You must notify International Education of any accompanying dependents in F-2 or J-2 status and provide biographical information (e.g. full name, address, country of birth, etc.) and immigration information (e.g. passport information, visa information, etc.). You can do this using the Request for Spouse and Children Form. For traveling and re-entering the U.S., F-2 and J-2 dependents need all the same documents as the F-1 and J-1.

Failure to Maintain Legal Student Status

Following are consequences you may face if you fail to maintain your legal student status:

  • You lose the privileges of your student visa (tuition waiver, work, practical training, etc.).
  • You are considered illegally present and can be subject to removal by the U.S. government.
  • Possible denial of request to re-enter the U.S.
  • Possible denial of request to change your non-immigrant status.
  • Possible denial of future visa application.

As a J-1 exchange visitor, it is your responsibility to maintain your immigration status through the duration of your J program at IUP. If your DS-2019 was issued by IUP, please read the following requirements to maintaining your J-1 status. If your DS-2019 was issued by a sponsoring institution such as Fulbright or IIE, please contact your student advisor there.

Requirements

  • Passport, Visa, and I-94: Keep your passport valid for at least six months into the future. If you need to extend your passport while in the U.S., you should contact your country's embassy or consulate in the U.S. Your visa must be valid for entry into the U.S. only. If your visa expires while here, you can remain as long as your DS-2019 is valid. Your I-94 should be marked D/S, which stands for "duration of status." This means you can remain in the U.S. for the period specified on your DS-2019, plus a period of thirty days after.
  • Health Insurance: Both J-1 and J-2 visa holders are required to obtain health insurance that meets minimum requirements specified by federal regulations. It must be maintained through the entire program. Proof of insurance must be given to ensure validation of your immigration record. Requirements: 1) benefits of at least $100,000 per accident; 2) repatriation of remains in the amount of $25,000; 3) medical evacuation in the amount of $50,000; and 4) a deductible not to exceed $500 per accident or illness.
  • Address: Notify International Education of your local address when you arrive at IUP and about any change in address within ten days of moving. Please complete the Check-In Form.
  • Full Course of Study: To remain a full-time student, you must take 12 or more credit hours if you are an undergraduate student or nine or more credit hours if you are a graduate student during each academic semester (fall and spring). Before you drop a full course of study, you must get an approval from the international student advisor in the Office of International Education. Students are not permitted to take a semester off. Please complete the Reduced Course Load Form.
  • Employment:
    • Off campus: It is a serious violation of your status to work off campus without prior authorization from International Education.
    • On campus: You are allowed to work on campus for a maximum of 20 hours per week while school is in session. These 20 hours include work for an assistantship. Students are permitted to work 40 hours per week on campus during breaks (summer, winter, and spring).
  • Extension:
    • Exchange students cannot extend their DS-2019 because of agreements between universities. Exchange students may remain in the U.S. with approved academic training, but cannot become degree-seeking students while on exchange.
    • Degree-seeking students, if you have valid academic or health reasons, you can request more time to complete your program at IUP than that which is authorized on the IUP DS-2019. The request to extend the program must be done before the expiration date on your DS-2019. Please complete the Program Extension Form.
  • Completion of Study: If you have completed your studies and/or academic training and did not change to another immigration status, you must leave the U.S. within 30 days.
  • Departure: Any earlier departure from IUP, before the end date on your DS-2019, requires you to inform International Education about the date and reason for doing so, so your immigration record can be updated.
  • Travel: If you plan to leave the U.S., you must have the following documents with you to re-enter the country:
    • Valid passport
    • DS-2019 with a valid signature. The signature is valid for 12 months.
    • U.S. visa stamp in your passport must be valid for your return to the U.S. If it has expired or will expire, you need to obtain a new student visa abroadit cannot be renewed in the U.S.
    • Proof of enrollment. You can request a letter from the Office of International Education stating that you are valid as a student at IUP.
    • Students traveling outside the U.S. who fall under "special registration" must have an exit interview with immigration officials at the airport from which their international flight departs. If you travel within the U.S., International Education recommends that you carry your passport, I-94 card, and I-20 or DS-2019 form.
  • Academic Program or Degree Level Change: If you plan to change your academic program or degree level, you must inform International Education. You will receive a new DS-2019, which has to be produced within 15 days of beginning the new program or degree level.
  • Attending Another School (Transfer): If you decide to attend another university, you must notify International Education of your intention. According to DHS, International Education must transfer your record in SEVIS to your new school. After that, the new school can issue you a new I-20 or DS-2019. Please complete the SEVIS Transfer Form.
  • Dependents: You must notify International Education of any accompanying dependents in J-2 status and provide biographical information (e.g., full name, address, country of birth, etc.) and immigration information (e.g., passport information, visa information, etc.). You can do this using the Request for Spouse and Children Form. For traveling and re-entering the U.S., J-2 dependents need all the same documents as the J-1.

Failure to Maintain Legal Student Status

Consequences if you fail to maintain your legal student status:

  • You lose the privileges of your student visa (tuition waiver, work, practical training, etc.).
  • You are considered illegally present and can be subject to removal by the U.S. government.
  • Possible denial of request to re-enter the U.S.
  • Possible denial of request to change your non-immigration status.
  • Possible denial of future visa application.

International students coming to the United States for study will need to apply for the appropriate visa before being permitted to enter the country. As a student, you will be applying for an F-1 (I-20) or a J-1 (DS-2019) visa. US law states that F and J visas are given to those who intend to remain in the US temporarily, and their primary purpose is for academics.

Step 1: Pay the SEVIS Fee

All accepted international students and scholars applying for an F or J visa will become part of the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) when an I-20 or DS-2019 is created for you. SEVIS is a national tracking/monitoring system that will allow the US government to monitor and track various events during your program of study. Indiana University of Pennsylvania's Office of International Education handles all SEVIS records for all international students and scholars. We are required to report your USA address, registration of classes, and any changes within your program at IUP. For more information, see Study in the States.

All F, M, and J visa applicants must complete Form I-901 and pay a SEVIS fee, $350 for F Visa and $220 for J Visa, to the Department of Homeland Security before applying for a new visa. Take the receipt to your interview. Dependents and spouses are not required to pay. The purpose of the fee is to cover the costs of administering and maintaining SEVIS. If you have questions, please visit the Student and Exchange Visitor Program fee processing website for information on the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement website; call (from overseas) 011+ 785-330-1048; or email fmjfee.SEVIS@dhs.gov.

Step 2: Make a Visa Appointment

Plan as well in advance as possible. Contact your local embassy or consulate for an appointment. To find your closest US Embassy, go to the list of embassies on the US Department of State website. Visit your embassy or consulate's website for specific application procedures. IUP does not have any power to influence your consular officials, so please do not ask us to call or fax letters to your consulate or embassy. Please use the IUP letters in your acceptance packet.

As a student, you will be applying for an F-1 (I-20) or J-1 (DS-2019) visa. U.S. law states that F and J visas are given to persons who intend to remain in the U.S. temporarily and their primary purpose is for academics.

What you will need to obtain a student visa:

  • I-20 or DS-2019
  • SEVIS I-901 fee receipt
  • Online Non-Immigrant Visa Application DS-160
    See your embassy website for more details and exceptions. Electronically submitting your DS-160 online application is only the first step in the visa application process. Once you have electronically submitted your DS-160 online application, you must contact the embassy or consulate at which you wish to apply to confirm whether you need to be interviewed by a consular office and to schedule an interview.
  • Visa fee $160
  • One passport photo (2" x 2")
  • Valid passport
  • Financial support letters and bank statements
  • IUP acceptance letter
  • Other documents are required by US Embassy or Consulate (TOEFL, GMAT, GRE scores or transcripts from previous institutions)

Visa Interview Tips

  • Show all document listed above.
  • Be prepared to explain that you intend to return to your country and only remain in the United States temporarily.
  • Use documents from a family business, property, or bank statement to show ties to your country. Showing ties in theUnited States is not helpful.
  • Be prepared to explain your academic goals and planned course of study and why it is important for you to study in theUnited States as opposed to your country. Bring copies or official scores from standardized tests required for admission and transcripts from previous institutions. If you will be returning to a job in your country, a letter from your place of work would be helpful.
  • Be prepared to explain how you will be financially supported while in theUnited States with documentation. You are required to show financial proof when applying to IUP. You should be able to show bank statements or letters from sponsors that match information on your I-20 or DS-2019. Bring deeds, tax returns, pay stubsthe more documents showing financial support, the better.
  • If your family is applying for F-2 visas, you will be asked to show proof of relationship to his/her spouse and/or children. It is preferable that families apply for visas at the same time.
  • 10 Points to Remember When Applying for a Non-immigrant Visa

Dependents

If you have an F-1 or J-1 visa and have dependents who will accompany you to IUP:

  • Please email or fax a copy of their passports, including: family name, first name, date of birth, country of birth, and relationship to you. Send this information to intl-education@iup.edu or fax 724-357-2514 so we may issue an I-20/DS-2019 for dependents.
  • Additional costs must be included on your I-20/DS-2019. The amounts for a nine-month period is $5,000 for spouse and $3,000 for each child. You will need to provide documentation for these additional funds if your current financial statement doesn't include this.
  • Please be sure to bring with you to IUP the English translation of the following documents for each child, or your child will have difficulty enrolling in school:
    • Birth certificate
    • Immunization records

Visa Approval or Denial

You may check your visa application status by going to Visa Application Status Tracker.

Denial

If your visa is denied, you can apply again within the same year. If you decide to defer until the next semester, notify the Office of International Education in writing as soon as possible. Your SEVIS fee is valid for 12 months.

Approval

Please make plans for your housing and transportation.

For Additional Information

IUP policies about academics will affect immigration. Please consult with your academic and international student advisor if you withdraw, are suspended, or will be absent from IUP for any period of time other than scheduled breaks, within reason.

Withdrawal

You will have 15 days from the day you do a total university withdrawal to transfer to another academic institution, or pack your belongings to return home.

J-1 students who complete their program have a 30-day grace period before departing the US.

F-1 students who complete their program or OPT period have a 60-day grace period to leave the United States.

One-Semester Absence

If you plan on going home for personal emergencies or other reasons, please let the Office of International Education know in advance so that your international student advisor can reactivate your SEVIS record prior to your return. You must return to the US within five months of your departure to maintain the use of your current I-20 and visa. If you are gone for more than five months, a new I-20, I-901 Fee, and visa are required.

IUP policies will affect your immigration status. Please be familiar with policies that could affect your academic standing. See the undergraduate catalog and graduate catalog for policy information.

How to Change Visa Status

Please make an appointment to meet with an international student advisor.There are many differentsituations and rules that apply to changing your visa status in the US.

An IUP international advisor will assist prospective and current students with changes of status relevant to IUP. Please make appointment by email: intl-education@iup.edu.

If your immigration documents are lost or stolen, please report it to the IUP University Police or the local police department and ask for a police report. Also contact your local embassy. Please make every effort to put your immigration documents in a safe place and make copies of your passport photo page and US visa. Please follow the instructions below to replace each of your important immigration documents.

I-20 or DS-2019

The Office of International Education prints lost documents easily. Request a replacement at the front desk of the OIE.

Passport (Includes renewing)

Visa

Report a lost visa via fax to the issuing embassy post aboard. Visas cannot be replaced while in the United States. When you return home, you can apply for a replacement passport.

I-94

The I-94 isan electronicarrival/departure record is used by Department of Homeland Security to track who has entered and exited the US. This document is necessary when applying for a driver's license, Social Security number, on-campus work, Optional Practical Training,and Curricular Practical Training.

Copies of I-94 records can be accessed onlinethrough the US Customs and Border Protection website. Correctionsto I-94 records can be made throughthe Office of International Education. Please bring copies of youre-ticket, passport, entry stamp in your passport, and copy of I-94 showingerrors or "not found."

Note: Your record can only be transferred once. Please decide which school you will attend before asking our office to complete a transfer form.

Student Checklist

  • Make sure you have a zero balance with IUP.
  • Get accepted to a new school.
  • Submit a transfer form for one school to the Office of International Education.
  • The transfer form for new school will be completed and faxed/mailed directly to the new school. The form will not be given back to the student.

Office of International Education Checklist

  • Verify legal status at IUP.
  • Verify no money is owed to IUP.
  • If everything is in order, then:
    • Student's SEVIS record will be transferred to the new school at the end of the semester or immediately if student has completed IUP program.
    • An I-20 will be issued by new school once it has accessed student's file (day after SEVIS release date from IUP).
    • The new I-20 will read, "Transfer pending from: Indiana University of Pennsylvania." Don't worry! You have been transferred to your new school. Once activated and registered by your new school during orientation, your I-20 and SEVIS record will then read, "Continued attendance at this school."

Eligibility and Applying

All F-1/F-2, J-1/J-2 visa holders are eligible for a state ID or driver's license as long as their I-20 or DS-2019 is valid for a minimum of six months or more in the future (including grace period). New students must wait at least two weeks from the start of the semester before going to the DMV to allow time for immigration record validation. J-2 and F-2 visa holders need to allow six to eight weeks for process verification.

Step 1: Obtain a social security number or letter of denial
You can get those documents from the Social Security Administration. To obtain a letter of denial, bring your I-20/DS-2019 and passport and you will get the letter the same day. SSA is located at: 119 Professional Center, 1265 Wayne Avenue, Indiana, PA, 15701.

Step 2: Gather Other Documents

  • Show two forms of proof of residency (current utility bill, tax record, lease agreement, university bill, bank statement, or other bill).
  • Immigration documents: passport, visa, I-94, I-20 or DS-2019 (if your names do not match exactly on all documents, you may have some difficulty being issued a driver's license or Pennsylvania ID). If you have a paperless I-94, print it at the Customs and Border Protection website.
  • Medical exam (not needed for Pennsylvania ID). All applicants must get a doctor's signature on DL-180 available on the DMV website (must be printed double-sided). Call ahead to make an appointment at the Center of Health and Well-Being at (724) 357-2550. The Center of Health and Well-Being will give physicals for a reasonable price.

Step 3: Go to the driver's license center
Complete application (DL-180) found in the Pennsylvania Driver's Manual or available at any Driver's License Center.

  • Pennsylvania ID Card: you will be issued a card upon verification of your documents.
  • Driver's License: Three tests are required for a license: vision, knowledge, and driving. These are all completed at the Driver's License Center. Upon passing a vision and knowledge test, a Driving Permit will be issued, which is valid for one year. It allows driving with another licensed driver until passing the driving test. Driving tests must be scheduled: 1-800-932-4600 or on the DMV Website.

International and Foreign Driver's Licenses

A waiver of some or all of these tests may be available for those who hold a U.S. driver's license or citizens of France, Germany, and Canada who hold a license from their home countries. It is still required to show an I-20 or DS-2019, which is valid for more than one year.

International driver's licenses are valid for one year before needing to obtain a Pennsylvania Driver's License.

Renewing Your Driver's License

To renew your license, you will need to go in person to the Driver's License Center and present the same documents needed for your first license. The new Driver's License expiration date will be the end date of your I-20 or DS-2019. You do not have to retake any written or driving tests. You will need to have six month validity on your immigration documents (I-20, DS-2019, or EAD card).

Renting and Buying an Automobile

Buying
Helpful guides to purchasing a car can be purchased at local bookstores and read on the Internet. Consumer Report is an especially good place to look. You can request one online at Consumer Reports. Also check out the value of a car at Kelly Blue Book or Edmund's. The newspaper in Indiana, the campus newspaper, campus bulletin boards, and electronic bulletin boards are good sources of information on used automobiles.

Be very careful when purchasing a car, especially a used one. Before you buy, have a reliable mechanic inspect the vehicle. In the U.S., you can purchase a car by obtaining a loan and paying installments. Be sure to obtain the title to the car you buy. The title is an official document issued by the state that signifies ownership of the vehicle. Additional documents may be required to complete the transfer of a car from the previous owner to you. If you are unsure about your rights and responsibilities when purchasing an automobile, check with the Driver's License Center or the Automobile Association of America (AAA), 724-357-4193.

Pennsylvania requires automobile insurance if you plan to own a vehicle. In case of an accident, automobile insurance protects you against most of the cost of repairs and injuries. The cost of repairs or injuries can be very high. In some states, you may be required to pay for the cost of repairing the other vehicle if you cause the accident.

Renting
There are several car rental agencies in Indiana. Inquire ahead of time and ask about extra costs, such as insurance, extra drivers, and mileage-per-day fees.

  • Enterprise: 800-736-8222
  • McGill: 724-349-1108
  • Leeway Inc.: 724-349-7007

Driving Practice and Instruction

If you have never had a license before, you may want to practice driving before taking the driver's test.

  • Free practice: The IUP Highway Safety Center offers free driving classes in the spring and summer. Limited space is available. Call 724-357-4050.
  • Paid practice: Canton's Driving School, open Monday-Friday until 5:00 p.m. Pay by the hour.

Resources for Driving and Traveling

AAA Travel Agency, 1169 Wayne Avenue, 724-349-4193

The Automobile Association of America offers services related to travel, vehicle emergency roadside services, title changes, and updating your address for vehicle registration.

Driver's License Centers

Indiana Driver Licensing Center
Indiana Mall, entrance next to Sears
Hours: Tuesday and Thursday, 9:00 a.m.-4:15 p.m.
No cash or credit card accepted

Penn Hills Driver Licensing Center
Penn Hills Shopping Center
11620 Kelekit Drive

Pittsburgh, PA 15235
Hours: Tuesday-Saturday, 8:30 a.m.-4:15 p.m.
Phone: 412-371-1960

State Office Driver Licensing Center
300 Liberty Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15222

Hours: Monday-Friday, 8:30 a.m.-4:15 p.m.
Phone: 412-565-7781

Allison Park DL Center
Duncan Manor Shopping Center
1701 Duncan Avenue
Allison Park, PA 15101

Hours: Tuesday-Saturday, 8:30 a.m.-4:15 p.m.
Phone: 412-366-3502

Additional information is available from the Pennsylvania Department of Motor Vehicles, 800-932-4600.

Students can request IUP Airport Transportation for August 16, 2021, our arrival day for International Orientation. More information will be posted soon. View the IUP Campus Maps and Directions page for directions. Most students will be admitted to the IUP main campus in Indiana, Pennsylvania, which is approximately 80 miles northeast of the Pittsburgh International Airport. All rates for airport transportation are subject to change. Please be aware that the university does not have the resources to meet nor transport students on an individual basis.

Uber

  • Get the free Uber app from the App Store or Google Play on your smartphone.
  • Open the app and create and account.
  • Request a ride by entering your destination and choosing a ride option.
  • The driver's picture and vehicle details will be available.
  • You will also have the ability to track your driver's arrival.
  • Prices vary depending on ride option and travel distance.
  • Visit Uber for more information.

Fullington Trailways

1-800-942-8287

  • Bus service departs 2:30 p.m. from the airport to Indiana, Pa., every day.
  • Cost: For more information on prices, contact or visit their website.
  • Tickets can be purchased at the Crimson Creamery, located at 1205 Maple Street.
  • Arrives on IUP campus (University Square 1, 1176 Grant Street).
  • Takes approximately two hours\
  • See fullingtontours.com for more information

Turbo Taxi

724-465-8294

  • Available for local Indiana, Pa., rides. Will not pick up at airport and bring back to Indiana, Pa.
  • Available within a 15-mile radius of Indiana; call 30 minutes in advance.
  • Open Monday-Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 a.m.; Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 a.m.; Sunday from 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
  • Cost: For more information on prices, contact or visit their website.

Shuttle Wizard

As of January 2021, the US has new COVID-19 testing requirements for entry to the US.

The US Department of State updated National Interest Waiver exceptions for those traveling to the US from China, Iran, Brazil, South Africa, the Schengen Area countries, the United Kingdom, Ireland; or India. In general, students can enter the US (after August 1, 2021) without needing additional letters or notations on their visas. New students who are unable to schedule a visa appointment due to closures can visit the US Embassy website on how to schedule expedited visa appointments.

When traveling inside the US, students and scholars are advised to carry a passport and I-20/DS-2019 with them. If asked for identification, these are the most helpful documents you can have. Of course, keep them in a safe place, and make sure to have copies of these in case documents are lost or stolen. If you are leaving the US, please continue reading.

Travel Outside of the US and Reentry

  • SEVIS I-20 or DS-2019
    Check the travel signature on your I-20 or DS-2019. Each signature is valid for one calendar year (except those on OPT, who need a signature every six months). You must have your I-20 or DS-2019 with you even for travel within the US. Make sure to carry all I-20s or DS-2019s with you. Never throw any awaythese documents show the "history" of your time in the US and are required for changing status or applying for work permits. Allow two to three days for a renewed signature from the Office of International Education.
  • Passport
    Your passport must be valid at all times you are in the US. When reentering the US from abroad, it must be valid for six months in the future. Passports can be renewed within the US at the closest embassy or consulate of your country. Select for a list of embassies.
  • US Visa
    To reenter the US after travel abroad, you must have a valid visa that is marked for multiple entries and in the current status you hold. If you change your status while inside the US (example: F2 to F1), you must obtain a new F1 visa outside of the US and enter on a new F1 visa. The exception is travel to Canada or Mexico or adjacent islands of North Americasee next paragraph below. Those on an F1 or J1 visa, who do not leave the US, can remain in the US on an expired visa as long as your DS-2019 or I-20 is valid.
  • Travel to Mexico, Canada, and Adjacent Islands
    Provided that your travel to those countries is for fewer than 30 days and you are not applying for a US visa there, you may travel to and return to the United States on an expired F or J visa after visiting Mexico or Canada. Visit the Mexican or Canadian embassy websites for more information. You must also have a valid SEVIS Form I-20 or DS-2019 and a valid, unexpired Form I-94. This process is known as "automatic visa re-validation." However, if you meet any one of following criteria, you will not be able to automatically re-validate your visa:
    • You applied for a new visa and it has not been issued.
    • You applied for a new visa and were denied.
    • You have a terminated SEVIS record, indicating that you are out of status.
    • You have been out of the United States for more than 30 days.
    • You are a citizen of one of the following countries: Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan, Syria.
  • Renewing Your Visa While Abroad
    If you will be renewing your visa while outside of the US, see a complete list of documents and frequently asked questions. Also, refer to the US Consulate or Embassy website of the location you will be visiting. Students renewing visas with no break in studies do not have to repay the SEVIS fee. If there has been a break in studies for more than five months, or you are changing visa types, the SEVIS fee might be applicable. Find more information here about the SEVIS fee.
  • Visas for Other Countries
    If you will be traveling to another country or traveling through another country to go homemake sure to find out if any extra documents or visas are required for your travel.
  • I-94 Arrival/Departure record
    The purpose of Form I-94 is to record the arrival and departure information each time visitors enter the United States. Students and scholars can retrieve their I-94 record number and travel history on the US Customs and Border Protection website. This can be saved as a PDF and is necessary for validating your immigration document, and must be presented when hired for on-campus work and to obtain a driver's license or a Social Security number.
  • Verification Letter From the Office of International Education
    This is not required, but is recommended for reentry. Please apply for a letter at the front desk of the OIE. Allow two to three business days before picking up your letter.
  • Transcript or Classes Enrolled In for Current Term
    Students can print a schedule of classes from MyIUP, or obtain an IUP e-transcript showing that you have been enrolled and that you have a schedule for next semester. This is suggested especially for a visa interview.

Other Travel Information

What Students Can Expect at the Port of Entry:

When to Contact the OIE About Travel Plans

  • All students who will return home for one semester or more: Please communicate with International Education to see how this affects your IUP enrollment and immigration status. Undergraduate students have to apply for readmission if no classes are taken for more than one semester.
  • All students who leave mid-semester or after drop/add: Please communicate with International Education to let us know you are leaving and if you plan to return, so we can update your immigration record and help you make sure all other details are taken care of.
  • All students who completely withdraw from a program:Our office will pull a list of students who officially graduate from IUP and shorten immigration documents to reflect the end of program. Those who leave early or mid-semester need to communicate with our office so we can update your immigration record accurately and discuss immigration implications or options for the future.
  • Biometric Identity Management
    The US Department of Homeland Security has recently implemented the Office of Biometric Identity Management (formerly called US-VISIT / United States Visitor and Immigrant Status Indicator Technology Program). With this new organization, all foreign nationals are now required to go through a rigid process of immigration inspection that includes gathering biometric data. Essentially, biometric data is an individual digital file that catalogs various samples, models, and fingerprintsas to ensure greater national security.