Returning from Canada, Mexico, and Adjacent Islands

International students who plan to travel to and from Canada, Mexico or Adjacent Caribbean 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 U.S.
  2. Valid I-94 with D/S notation
  3. Valid Form 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 Form DS-2019 for J-1 Visa Students. A new Form DS-2019 or a current Form DS-2019 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 U.S. for details.  (For example, the Canadian Consulate website if you are traveling to Canada).
  5. Proof of Financial Support other than your Form 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 U.S. 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 does not apply to students from state sponsors of terrorism (Cuba, Iran, Syria, and Sudan). Automatic Revalidation 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 an 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. from Canada, Mexico, or most Caribbean Islands.

Requesting a Travel Signature for Form I-20 or Form DS-2019: With the ISO working remotely, it is NOT possible to drop off/pick up your Form I-20 or DS-2019 to request a travel signature. Students will need to request a new Form via iMIT. To request a new Form I-20 or Form DS-2019 with travel signature:
(1) Login to iMIT
(2) Click on the left-hand menu “(F-1 / J-1) Student Services”
(3) Click on and complete the eform “Request Replacement of Form I-20/DS-2019”, and select request reason “Travel Signature”
(4) Be sure to click “Submit” on the eform once you have completed all fields and document uploads to the eform.
Once your new document is completed, ISO can scan/email you an electronic version that you can print/sign and carry with your previous Forms.
If you are applying for a new visa at a U.S. Embassy/Consulate while abroad, you should receive the paper original document for your travels.
If you want your new document express mailed, follow the instructions to request a shipping label.
Processing time for a new document is 10 business days.

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 U.S. Student and Exchange Visitor Program guidelines on Travel Re-entry for F Visa.