Checklist before travelling:
(PLEASE Keep the following documents with you while traveling, NOT in your checked luggage)
- Valid I-20 with a travel signature on the second page. As first-year students, you do NOT have a valid travel signature yet. Please see Caitlin to have your document signed before you leave campus. The signature indicates the student is in legal status and in good standing at St. Olaf College. The Customs and Border Patrol officer at the airport will be looking for this signature in order for you to be allowed back into the US.
- If you need a signature on your I-20, please bring it to the Taylor Center. There is no need to make an appointment, simply stop by Monday through Friday from 9am till 4pm.
- Valid US F-1 Visa: (unless you are returning from Canada, Mexico, some neighboring island countries—please check with me about this scenario) Students should check their student visa in their passport to make sure it will still be valid on the date they intend to return. If the F-1 visa has expired during your studies, make an appointment with the U.S. Embassy/Consulate to reapply for a new visa to reenter the U.S.
- Non-immigrant visa appointments at many consular posts are backlogged during the holiday season, so book as far in advance as possible. Appointment scheduling and visa issuance times can be checked online here.
- Passport: Students should guarantee their passport is valid at least 6 months from the date they will return. U.S. Immigration law states, ‘students will not be allowed to re-enter the U.S. if their passport is valid for less than 6 months from the date of entry’.
- Financial information showing proof of necessary funds to cover tuition and living expenses indicated on your I-20. This can include bank statements, statements of income, letters of support from your parents, scholarship/loan print-out from SIS, or a letter from Financial Aid.
Optional but encouraged for students renewing their F-1 visa:
St. Olaf ID Card
Recent Transcript: International students are allowed one FREE transcript per year for travel purposes. The Registrar’s office can provide this for you.
Letter of Verification/Enrollment from the Registrar verifying that you are a full-time student in good standing. This letter can also show that you are registered for classes in the Spring, thus further proof that any visa or passport applicants are time-sensitive, and that you should be allowed to enter the US at Customs. Please request the letter at the Registrar’s office or on their website.
Keep my Contact Information with you:
Caitlin Lamont Kreienkamp She/Her, MBA
Assistant Director of International Student Compliance
Call: 507-786-3073 | Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Visit: Buntrock Commons 111F | 1520 St. Olaf Avenue Northfield, MN 55057
Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions or concerns.
Travel and Customs Tips
- Through SEVIS, USCIS will track entry and departure from the U.S.
- Allow plenty of time during layovers for customs/immigration
- Be polite to customs officers (even if they aren’t very polite to you)
- Answer only the questions that are asked of you
- Have all your documents and my contact information in your carry-on luggage and easy to access
- When asked, you must be able to document that you have been lawfully admitted to the U.S. and that you maintained your legal status at all times
*Check your I-94 Arrival Form when you arrive back in the US to make sure everything is correct*