Winter Holiday Travel: What Visa Documents Do Students and Workers Need to Carry?

Washington, D.C., December 5, 2017: When making travel plans for the approaching winter holidays, foreigners in the U.S. should plan to obtain and carry certain immigration documents to assist with a smooth border procedure on their return to the U.S.

We summarize some of the typical travel documents required for students and temporary workers in the U.S.:

F-1 Foreign Students and J-1 Exchange Visitors:

  • Passport with validity for at least 6 months beyond date of re-entry.
  • Valid F-1 or J-1 visa stamp at time of re-entry (if visa is expired at time of re-entry, coordinate with your immigration attorney to apply for new visa stamp at consulate outside of the U.S. on Form DS-160).
  • Valid I-20/DS-2019 with current expiration date, correct information for course of study, and valid Travel Signature effective for 1 year for students, or 6 months for OPT (on page 2 of DS-2019 for F-1, or page 1 of DS-2019 for J-1).
  • Carry all current and prior I-20/DS-2019s, to provide a full history if requested.
  • Transcript showing past study, and proof of enrollment for future studies.
  • For F-1 students, evidence of financial support.
  • For F-1 students on OPT, it is necessary to carry the EAD card valid through the travel dates, and advisable to carry a job offer letter from employer or current employment verification letter.


H-1B Specialty Occupation Workers:

  • Passport with validity for at least 6 months beyond date of re-entry;
  • Valid H-1B visa stamp;
  • Copy of original H-1B petition;
  • Copy of I-797 Notice of Approval for H-1B petition;
  • Original “tear off” sheet from I-797 Notice of Approval;
  • Two most recent paystubs confirming continued employment under H-1B terms;
  • Letter on company letterhead from employer, confirming continued employment after date of re-entry.


Border inspections by U.S. Customs and Border Protection can be complex procedures. Consult with I.A. Donoso & Associates before your departure from the U.S. to make preparations for your return trip.


I.A. Donoso & Associates provide assistance with review and advice regarding eligibility under EB-5 category.

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