Traveling to Canada, Mexico, or Adjacent Islands

International students who plan to travel to and from Canada, Mexico or Adjacent Islands for a Short Visit (Less than 30 Days) must be in possession of:

  1. Valid Passport. It must be valid for at least 6 months when you reenter the US
  2. Valid I-94 with D/S notation
  3. Valid I-20 for F-1 Visa Students. A new Form I-20 or a current Form I-20 which has been signed by an ISO advisor on page 2 of your Form I-20 within the last 6 months
    Valid DS-2019 for J-1 Visa Students. A new DS-2019 or your current DS-2019 Form which has been signed for travel in the lower right hand corner within the last 6 months by your sponsor. If MIT is your sponsor you will need the signature of an ISO advisor in the International Students Office, otherwise you need to contact your visa sponsor.
  4. Valid visa to the country to which you are traveling, if citizens from your home country need one.  Please note that each country has its own immigration regulations.  Please consult the country's Embassy/Consulate website in the US for details.  (For example, the Canadian Consulate website if you are traveling to Canada).
  5. Proof of Financial Support other than your I-20 or DS-2019, e.g. original financial certification form and supporting documents.
  6. Documentation of MIT enrollment (letter from department, unofficial transcript, MIT ID card, etc.)
  7. Form I-901 (SEVIS Fee) Receipt

Please be advised that entry into the US is at the sole discretion of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (USCBP) Officer at the U.S. Port-of-Entry.

Special Note: A valid U.S. visa is not necessary to re-enter the U.S. after a visit to Canada, Mexico, or Adjacent Islands of less than 30 days because of a special provision in immigration law called “Automatic Revalidation” (22 CFR 41.112), as long as you have a U.S. visa in your passport, for the status you wish to re-enter, that has simply expired (not stamped "Cancelled" or "Revoked"). Automatic Revalidation is not currently available to students from Cuba, Iran, Syria, and Sudan, as designated by the U.S. Department of State. Automatic Revalidation also does not apply if the student has applied for a U.S. non-immigrant visa at a U.S. Embassy/Consulate in Canada or Mexico during their trip.

Important Note on Travel to, or Transit Through, Canada:  The Canadian Government, effective March 15, 2016, requires foreign nationals who are visa-exempt to Canada to receive an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) to fly to or transit through Canada.  U.S. citizens, and individuals who already have a Canadian visa, are exempt from this requirement.  To confirm if you require eTA, even if you do not require a visitor/tourist visa to Canada, please review the information available on the Canadian Consulate website.

Request a Form I-20 or Form DS-2019 with ISO Travel Signature

Students should check page 2 of your current Form I-20 or the bottom right hand corner of your current Form DS-2019 for a ISO advisor signed travel signature. This signature should be dated at least within 6 months of the day you plan to re-enter the U.S.

To request an updated travel signature, visit the ISO during business hours and drop off your most current Form I-20 or your MIT-sponsored Form DS-2019 at the reception desk. You may return to the ISO after 2 business days to pick-up your Form I-20 with new travel signature.

Forgot to pick up your Form I-20 before travel?

Create an express shipping label to have the ISO mail the document to you.

More Information

Please see our page on Travel for Canadians, for different guidelines on travel, if your situation applies. Also, see U.S. Student and Exchange Visitor Program guidelines on Travel Re-entry for F Visa.


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