As a legal non-immigrant in the U.S., you are allowed to travel. No special permissions are needed to travel within the United States. With respect to international travel, if you plan ahead, leaving and coming back to the United States will be easier.

Leaving the United States

There are several things you need to do and issues you need to think about before making plans to leave the U.S. Leaving before these things are done could delay or deny your re-entry to the U.S. And denial of entry could affect your ability to travel or immigrate to the United States in the future.

Making travel arrangements

Check this list as you make your travel arrangements:

  • Is your passport valid for the date you intend to return to the U.S.?
  • Is your visa stamp still valid?
  • If your visa stamp was valid only for a limited number of entries, do you still have unused "entries" left on that visa?
  • Will you be out of the country for extended periods of time?
  • Are you subject to Special Registration? Certain foreign nationals are subject to special registration requirements. Special departure procedures apply to them.
  • Do you need to get a visa to enter the country you plan to visit? Check with the consulate of the country you wish to visit to determine if you need one.
  • Will your travel arrangements allow you to follow federally required departure procedures?

If you answered yes to these questions, you can most likely travel without having to see your international student advisor. However, if you answered no to any of these, you should make an appointment to discuss your travel plans with your international advisor.

  • Follow certain exit procedures at the airport.
  • Properly record your timely departure from the United Sates by surrending your I-94 card. Typically, this card is taken from you by airline personnel as you check in for a departing international flight.
  • Swipe your passport and follow the exit procedures at the U.S. VISIT kiosks at the airports.

For most individuals, their departures are automatically recorded as they leave the U.S. However, if your I-94 card is not taken from you as you leave the U.S. and you are not traveling to Canada or Mexico for less than 30 days, you may need to prove that you did follow established procedures. Your statement alone, without supporting evidence, is unacceptable. DHS will consider a variety of information as proof of proper departure, including but not limited to:

  • Original I-94.
  • Original boarding passes you used to depart the U.S.
  • Photocopies of entry or departure stamps in your passport indicating entry to another country after you departed the U.S.
  • Photocopies of other supporting evidence that shows your name and date, to indicate you were in another country after leaving the United States, such as:
  • Dated pay slips.
  • Dated bank records showing transactions outside the U.S.
  • School records showing attendance at a school outside the U.S.
  • Dated credit cards receipts, with the credit card number deleted, for purchases made outside the U.S.

If you did not leave the U.S. when required, or did not follow any required exit procedures when you left, or if you cannot prove this when you next seek entry into the U.S., DHS may conclude you remained in the U.S. beyond your authorized stay. If so, your visa may be cancelled, your entry into the U.S. may be barred and you may be returned immediately to your foreign point of origin. Or you may be asked for a written explanation of why you didn’t follow procedures. If you send original materials, please retain a copy since DHS cannot return original materials after processing. To help correct your records quickly, please include a signed, dated explanation in English. Do not mail your I-94 or supporting documents to any U.S. Consulate, Embassy, or DHS office other than the one listed below. Mail your explanation and supporting documents:

P.O. Box 7125
London, KY 40742-7125 USA

Returning to the U.S.

When returning to the U.S., you should be prepared to present:

  • Your passport with a valid visa stamp
  • Any other documents confirming your continued student status at Notre Dame such as your I-20, letter from the Office of International Programs, letter from your employer or EAD card.

Your picture and fingerprint will be electronically taken at the port of entry.