IF YOU ARE TRAVELING OUT OF THE U.S. (OVER BREAKS or ARE STUDYING OUT OF THE U.S. FOR FIELD STUDY/EXCHANGE)
Please make sure that all your documents are in proper order to avoid any complications when re-entering the U.S. Please review the following information to learn more.
1. I-20 with VALID TRAVEL SIGNATURE on page 3 (signatures are valid for 1 year). To request for an updated signature submit your I-20 to O.C. as soon as possible and plan for 1-3 business days processing time.
2. Passport, valid 6 months into the future. To request for an extension or replacement of a lost passport, contact your country’s embassy in the U.S. For a list of foreign embassies in the U.S. check out the Department of State website: http://www.state.gov/s/cpr/rls/fco/index.cfm.
3. Valid F-1 visa stamp. If your entry visa stamp in your passport has expired (or will expire while you are out of the U.S.), you must apply for a renewal at a U.S. embassy or consulate abroad before your return. For a list of U.S. embassies/consulates worldwide look here: http://www.usembassy.gov/. *Keep reading below for more details on applying for a renewal of an expired F-1 visa stamp.
4. Verification of Enrollment Letter from central records. To request for a letter, contract central records directly (first floor Cole Science) and PLAN FOR A 10 BUSINESS DAYS PROCESSING TIME.
5. Recommended: Printout of your class schedule from The Hub. If you are travelling mid-semester, print the current semester’s schedule. If you are travelling during winter or summer break print NEXT semester’s schedule, even if your classes will change in the future.
At your Re-Entry to the U.S.:
When the immigration officials check your documents and stamp forms at the U.S. port of entry, make sure they return all forms to you and accurately stamp/write on your PASSPORT: make sure they write F-1 until "D/S" and not another visa category/date.
***UPDATE**** After 5/21/2013, you will NO LONGER receive a hard copy I-94 form (white card) at your re-entry to the U.S. Instead, the customs officer will stamp your passport and provide you with instructions on how to access an electronic I-94. See more info below under “Recent Travel Updates”
Emergency contact information to keep with you while traveling:
· Rochelle "O.C." Gorman at 413.559.5779, rgSA@hampshire.edu
· Melissa Scheid Frantz at 413.559.5415, mysSA@hamsphire.edu
Any time of day: Hampshire dispatcher at 413.559.5424.
Common questions regarding preparation of F-1 documents for travel abroad:
Is my I-20 travel signature up to date?
Your I-20 must be signed by a designated school official at Hampshire College (i.e., O.C. Gorman in MISS, multicultural and international student services) within one year (six months for students on OPT) of re-entry into the U.S. to be valid. The signature page is page 3 of your most current I-20. Please do not wait until the last minute to request a travel signature. Drop your I-20 off in the office mailbox or email to schedule a drop off time when O.C. will be available to answer questions (rgSA@hampshire.edu).
Is my passport in order?
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and the Department of State (DOS) have advised that all passports should be valid at least six (6) months into the future when traveling. If you need to extend your current passport, or obtain a new passport, please contact your embassy or consulate in the U.S. immediately to confirm the processing time and procedures at http://www.state.gov/s/cpr/rls/dpl/32122.htm.
Do I need a new U.S. Entry Visa Stamp to re-enter the U.S.?
If your entry visa stamp in your passport has expired (or will expire while you are out of the U.S.), you will need to apply for a new entry visa stamp at the U.S. embassy or consulate abroad prior to your re-entry. Processing times may be longer than your initial experience at the U.S. embassy. It will be most helpful to contact the embassy or consulate now to confirm what documents are needed, to confirm if an appointment is necessary, how to schedule the interview appointment, and how long it will take to obtain your new entry visa stamp. The U.S. Department of State maintains a listing of links to U.S. embassies/consulates worldwide here: http://www.usembassy.gov/. Please note that the Department of Homeland Security and Department of State have advised that airlines may not allow passengers to board their plane back to the U.S. if they do not have a current and valid entry visa stamp along with the corresponding SEVIS visa document. It is therefore essential to make sure that you plan for enough time abroad to obtain your entry visa stamp prior to your return to the U.S. Visa holders are not able to obtain new entry visa stamps from within the U.S.; one must apply at a U.S. embassy or consulate while abroad.
What do I need to do in order to apply for an F-1 Entry Visa Renewal?
Plan ahead and expect delays; processing times may be longer than your initial experience at the U.S. embassy. Consult individual embassy websites for periodic updates on country-specific visa processing. For a list of U.S. embassies/consulates worldwide look here: http://www.usembassy.gov/.
F-1 Documents REQUIRED for visa renewal:
1. I-20 endorsed for travel within the last SIX months
2. Passport valid for 6 months into the future
3. Transcripts from Hampshire College AND Verification of Enrollment Letter from Central Records (Request for a transcripts/letter directly from Central Record; plan on 10 business days processing time.
4. Financial support documentation for the amount listed on page one of your current I-20.
*You will need additional materials depending on the U.S. embassy/consulate, for the visa interview, so make sure that you check the visa application guidelines and application one the website of the U.S. embassy or consulate where you will apply: http://www.usembassy.gov/.
What do I need to know about traveling to a country other than my home country?
If you will be traveling to a country outside the U.S., other than your home country, whether it be for study or for an airport layover, it will be important to confirm if you will need to obtain a visa to enter/stop over.
Important info for travel to a country other than your own (vacation, study, layover, etc.):
You must confirm with the country’s local embassy or consulate of that country located in the U.S. whether or not you will need to obtain a visa to enter/stop over. To verify if a visa is required, and to obtain application information, contact their embassy/consulate located in the U.S. directly. For a list of foreign consular offices located in the U.S., click http://www.state.gov/s/cpr/rls/dpl/32122.htm.
Be sure to contact the consulate well in advance of your planned travel, as some consulates require mail-in procedures that can take some weeks to process.
What do I need to prepare if I’m traveling in the U.S. (outside of western Mass)?
We strongly recommend that you carry ALL of the F-1 documents listed above, regardless where you will travel.
· Beginning May 21, 2013, at all major land and air ports of entry the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) will no longer be issuing the hardy copy I-94 form (the white card stapled in your passport/I-20). All arrival and departure information of U.S. visitors will be gathered electronically. *Some test airports began this process as early as April 30, 2013.
· In lieu of the I-94 card, CBP will begin stamping PASSPORTS with an entry stamp indicating Visa Status Category and Duration of Status.
What does this mean for you?
· If you have not traveled abroad since the update and therefore still have the hard copy I-94 card in your passport/on your I-20, you will not need to do anything until the next time you depart from the U.S. The next time you travel abroad you will return the I-94 at the port of departure as usual.
· Upon your re-entry to the U.S., you will be able to access and print your I-94 information online at https://www.cbp.gov/I94. ***Printing the I-94 is not required. Regardless, you should check your electronic I-94 for accuracy after every travel abroad.
· Upon re-entry, always check the admission stamp in your passport. When the port-of-entry officials check your documents and stamp your passport, make sure they return all forms to you and accurately stamp/write on your passport: F-1 until "D/S," the date and location of your arrival. If any information appears to be incomplete or incorrect, bring to the attention of the port-of-entry official so it can be corrected.
· While a CBP officer inspects your immigration documents, you may be asked some general questions. Always answer clearly, honestly, and politely. If any issue arises, suggest that either you or the officer call/contact us immediately.
· As of May 2013, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) will be verifying SEVIS Status for every F-1 student at all ports of entry.
What does this mean for you?
· For most students, there will be no change in the re-entry process. Upon arrival, F-1 students will still go through customs and the CBP inspector will determine admissibility to the U.S. by reviewing the students travel documents, asking a few questions, and checking the student's record. If there are no issues and/or if no additional time is needed to review the record, the student will be admitted to the U.S. and the passport will be stamped (see above). If for any reason the CBP inspector needs more time to determine admissibility, the student will be referred to secondary inspection, where other CBP officers can take more time to go through this process.
· FOR ALL STUDENTS (regardless if you will go through secondary inspection or not), it's best to expect delays, make sure that you carry all necessary travel documents needed and just remember to stay calm and answer any questions clearly, honestly, politely and as succinctly as possible. Again, if any issue arises, suggest that either you or the officer call/contact us immediately.
During business office hours (9:00 a.m.-4:30 p.m.):
· Rochelle "O.C." Gorman at 413.559.5779; rgSA@hampshire.edu
· Melissa Scheid Frantz at 413.559.5415; mysSA@hamsphire.edu
Any time of day: Hampshire dispatcher at 413.559.5424.
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