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 You do not need a new I-20 to re-enter the U.S. after an absence of less than five months; however, you will need your I-20 properly endorsed by the Designated School Official at ISSS. We recommend it be endorsed within the past 6 months. Regarding your visa, it is alright to remain in the U.S. if the F-1 visa has expired, as long as your I-20 has not expired and you are otherwise maintaining your status. If immigration approved a change of status for you within the U.S., you will need to apply for an F-1 visa stamp while outside the U.S. in order to re-enter the country. Be sure to take your approval notice and documentation of your financial support.

If you intend to travel outside of the U.S., please have the Kearney International Center review/sign your current immigration documents prior to your departure. You may wish to review U.S. goverment procedures in advance of your travel. 

 Please fill out the Request for Travel Signature form before coming to the office.

 Summary of Travel within U.S.

As an F-1 student, you can travel throughout the U.S. – If you wish to ensure you have sufficient documents with you to confirm you are an F-1 student in good standing, a short list could include:
(1)    Unexpired passport.
(2)    Visa within the passport – note that can be expired as long as your I-20 and you are maintaining your F-1 student status. See Department of State Website for an explanation of :
(3)    Your I-20. It does not need a recent signature if you are staying within the U.S. 
(4)    An option is to bring an unofficial transcript to confirm you are a student in good standing. This is NOT required but is one way to give direct proof of your attendance at Minnesota State University, Mankato.  You could also bring your MSU ID.
(5) If you are driving, have a valid MN Driver's License and proof of automobile insurance.

Summary of Travel outside the U.S. 

Please ensure you have made preparations in advance:

  • (1) Obtain a recent signature on your I-20 if the last signature on page 3 from a Designated School Official (DSO) is over six months old.  Fill out the [PDF] I-20 request form (234 KiB) and turn in your recent I-20.  Provide the International Center 3-5 days to return to you either your previous I-20 with a signature or a new I-20 if there were significant changes (like a change in major).
  • (2) Unexpired passport.  The U.S. may require that your passport be valid for at least six months - check Customs and Border Protection (CBP) website if your passport will expire close to the time of your anticipated return:
  • (3) Unexpired F-1 visa if traveling outside the U.S. (see below for exception for brief travel for tourism to Canada, Mexico).  Details on travel and re-entry are found on the Customs and Border Protection website:
  • (4) Ensure you are a student in good standing.  You can take an unofficial transcript.  Ensure you are able to register for the next term (and have no holds that prevent you from registering).
  • (5) Financial Documentation to confirm you have sufficient funds to study in the U.S. during your stay.

 Additional tips can be found on the Department of Homeland Security, Study in the States website:



Brief tourist visits to Canada, Mexico under 30 days (obtain an I-20 signature and also follow instructions below):

If visiting Canada, Mexico, or an adjacent island, you may travel there even with an expired visa known as automatic visa revalidation – The U.S. has restrictions of certain countries and you are not allowed to apply for a U.S. visa - for details, please review the Department of State website:

You may still be required to obtain a visa to enter these countries.  Please review processes:

Visa entry for Canada:
Visa entry for Mexico: