What is a travel signature?
A travel signature is an endorsement on your I-20 or DS 2019, given by a Designated School Official (DSO) or Alternative Responsible Officer (ARO), after screening your immigration record and academic enrollment to verify lawful status.
- If you are on an F-1 visa, this is the signature at the bottom of page 2 of your current I-20
- If you are on a J-1 visa, this is on the bottom right of your DS-2019
Re-entering the U.S. after a trip abroad
You should carry the following when you re-enter the U.S. after a trip abroad:
- A passport (valid for at least six months from the date you return to the U.S.)
- A valid F-1 or J-1 visa
- Your most recent form I-20 or DS-2019 with a valid travel signature:
- If you are a continuing student, the travel signature is valid for one year.
- If you are on Optional Practical Training (OPT) or Academic Training (AT), the travel signature is valid for 6 months.
It is also recommended that you bring with you:
- Any previously issued I-20s or DS-2019s
- Proof of your enrollment (you may request an Enrollment Verification from the Registrar’s Office)
- Proof of funding (as reflected on your I-20 or DS-2019)
Students on Post-OPT and STEM Extension OPT should also carry:
- A valid EAD Card
- Proof of Employment (an offer letter may be used)
How to get a travel signature
To request a travel signature, please follow these steps:
- Submit the travel signature e-form request.
- The processing time can take up to 5 business days, once you are approved, you will receive an email via your Husky account.
- Upon approval, please attend one of the designated travel signature hours within two weeks of receiving the approval email. The hours are listed in the approval email as well as here.
Prior to major vacation periods, OGS often offers travel signature sessions that require pre-registration. After successful screening, you will receive your travel signature on the spot. If you wish attend a session, please bring your I-20/DS-2019 form and your nine digit Northeastern identification number. Visit the events page for travel signature session dates.
- If you have completed OPT, AT, or your academic program and are in a grace period, you will not be allowed back into the U.S. on your F-1 or J-1 visa.
- Any family members traveling with you who have F-2 or J-2 visas will also need to carry the same documents. Please review the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) tips for travel.
- If you plan to travel when your visa has expired, please see the Renewing Your Visa page.
*Notice for all international students, scholars and faculty regarding travel:
Northeastern University highly recommends all students, faculty and staff enter their travel itinerary and housing accommodations abroad in “My Travel Plans,” also called the “Travel Registry.”
This allows the university to communicate directly with travelers if unexpected events or conditions create pose health or safety risks. In addition, it enables on-campus resources and external support providers to better respond to students, faculty, and staff who may need medical or security assistance.
Trouble Returning to the U.S.
If you have any trouble returning to the U.S., please contact the International Safety Office:
Office of Global Services:
After your Return to U.S.
Upon your return, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) will issue an I-94 (your arrival/departure record) to you.
- If you arrive by land, you may receive a paper I-94 that you should keep with your passport.
- If you arrive by plane, you will be issued an I-94 electronically; print the most recent I-94 after each entry into the U.S.
- Your I-94 should be marked with your visa type (F-1 or J-1) and an “admit until date” (Duration of Status).
- If there is an error on your I-94, please see how to correct your I-94.