While at MIT, you may need to travel abroad. You may want to visit your home country, vacation outside the US, or work (summer internship). Depending on your country of origin, there will be different requirements that you need to fulfill in order to exit and enter the United States. This section provides an overview.
What documents do I need to travel?
You need to make sure that you take all the necessary documents with you. Family members traveling alone need their own documents. These include your passports with valid visa stamps, and valid I-20 or DS 2019 forms.
Your passport should be valid for at least 6 months or more.
If your visa expires while you are outside the United States, you will need to get a new visa stamp for re-entry.
You may also need an additional signature on your I-20 or DS 2019 form before you leave from the International Students Office or the International Scholars Office. This is also very important to gain re-entry into the United States.
Please check with the appropriate offices at least a month before leaving the US. The turnover for signatures can take up to 2 weeks.
What happens to the I-94 card? How important is it?
Under current regulations, the I-94 card is attached to your passport when you arrive in the US. It records your entry and exit dates. When you leave the US, the immigration officer at the airport will take this card from your passport. You will be issued a new one at re-entry. You have to ensure that you do not misplace the I-94 card, since that can cause problems at exit.
What current immigration rules should I know about?
Immigration rules are updated regularly, and you should check with the International Students or International Scholars offices on the most recent travel advisories.
International Scholars Office - Travel Advisory
US Department of State - Travel Warnings
US Immigration's Fact Sheets for Students and Exchange Visitors
Last Updated: April 2010