International Student Services

Travel Outside the U.S.

Re-entering the United States After an Absence Abroad

If a student plans to travel to a country other than the country of his/her citizenship, the student may first need to obtain a visa (tourist or trans) from the country she/he wishes to visit. 

A student planning to temporarily travel outside the U.S. will need the following documents to re-enter the U.S.

  • Valid passport
  • Valid U.S. visa in order to re-enter the U.S.
  • Advisor's signature for re-entry on your I-20 or DS-2019 form.

If Optional Post-Completion Practical Training has been granted, the student will need to show the Employment Authorization Document (EAD) and may be required to show proof of where he/she is returning to resume employment upon re-entry as well as the signed I-20.

Travel during Optional Practical Training (OPT):

You are allowed to exit and re-enter the U.S. while your OPT application is pending. However, after your OPT application is approved, you may only re-enter the U.S. to “resume employment”. If you have a job or a job offer, you should carry a copy of the contract or job offer letter. If you do not have a job, and try to re-enter the U.S. after your OPT has been approved, it is possible that you will be turned away at the border and told to return to your home country until you receive a job offer.

To renew a U.S. visa: 

You should see an international advisor before you leave the campus for your overseas trip. Check the procedures of your local U.S. embassy or consulate. It is generally advisable to renew your student visa in your home country, rather than in a third country.

When renewing your visa, take with you:

  • Financial verification
  • Transcripts (from the CSU, Chico Records Office)
  • Enrollment letter (from a CSU, Chico International Student Advisor)
  • An I-20 issued for visa renewal and signed for re-entry

Note: An expired visa need only be renewed if the student is leaving and re-entering the U.S. See the Important Documents page for more information.