Traveling during the grace period

If you do not plan to use your post-completion Optional Practical Training (OPT) or your Academic Training, traveling outside of the US after graduation is not possible.

  • If you are an F-1 student, you have sixty days to remain in the US after completing your degree. If you are a J-1 student, you have thirty days to remain in the US after completing your degree.
  • This period of time is meant for you to make plans to leave the US. You can travel within the US, but if you leave and reenter, you may not return as an F-1 or J-1 student.

Travel While on OPT

 You will need to carry all of the following documents with you to be able to re-enter the U.S. while on OPT:

  •  Passport valid for at least 6 months into the future
  • Valid unexpired F-1 visa 
  • I-20 with travel signature signed within the last 6 months
  • EAD card
  • SEVIS fee receipt (I-901)
  • Employer Letter on company letterhead that includes your job title, job description, OPT employment dates, and confirmation that your employer knows that you are traveling and expects you to return to work. 

* You should also be sure to report your employment to ISL BEFORE YOU TRAVEL. You can report OPT employment by emailing Liz Cody, with your employing company’s legal name, address of company, job title, hours worked per week, supervisor’s name, supervisor’s phone and email, and your current mailing address. We will update your record to reflect your employment in the SEVIS system.

Requesting an Updated I-20

If you need an updated I-20 with a new travel signature and/or your employer’s information listed on the 2nd page, please email Liz Cody, with your employer information, your mailing address, and current phone number .