Travel Outside the U.S.

If you are planning to travel, the Diversity Center offers the following tips:

  • Planning is the key. Think several weeks in advance about what you will need for your trip and assemble it.
  • Visit the Luther Diversity Center to get a new travel signature on your I-20 and to request a "Travel Letter/Good Standing Letter". Do this a week or two before you travel. You will also want to make sure that the Diversity Center has your current Luther, home, and temporary addresses on file.
  • Make copies of the following documents:
    • All I-20s you have been issued from every school you have attended.
    • The pages in your passport showing your picture, birth date, passport number, expiration date, and your visa.
    • Your I-94 card
  • Keep one set of these copies in your carry-on luggage, one in your checked baggage, and one set at home (preferably with someone who can send them to you if needed).
  • Order a copy of your transcript from the Registrar's Office.  It may take one or two days to have your order processed.
  • Carry your registration verification for next semester.
  • If you are traveling in the United States, make sure you carry your original passport, I-20, and I-94 with you at all times. If you are stopped by any government official, they may require you to show them.
  • If you are traveling outside of the United States:
    • If you are traveling to a country other than your home country, call the embassy of that country to learn if you need a visa to enter that country.  If so, ask what the requirements, cost, and time frame are to apply for a visa.  Keep in mind that it often takes two to three weeks to process a visa application, even longer in some countries.
    • If you have changed your visa status to F-1 in the United States, you will have to apply for an F-1 visa at a US Embassy or Consulate before returning to the United States. Remember, you are currently in “F-1 status” but you do not have an “F-1 Visa.”
    • Check your U.S. visa in your passport to make sure it is not expired. If it is, you will need to apply at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate to have it renewed before returning to the United States. You should contact the U.S. Embassy/Consulate in the country you are traveling to BEFORE you travel to learn how long the process may take. You may want to make an appointment with the U.S. Embassy in the country you are traveling to BEFORE you leave the U.S as it may take several weeks just to get an appointment.
    • Get current "Financial Support Documents" from your financial sponsor.  If the financial documents you submitted to Luther are less than six months old, you may request a copy from the Diversity Center. They may be required to show them by an immigration official at the airport/border when you return to the United States.  If you need to renew your visa, you will definitely be required to show your current/recent "Financial Support Documents" at the embassy where you apply for renewal.

Above all remember to have a fun and safe trip. We look forward to welcoming you back to Luther!  If you have any more questions about the traveling you can visit the U.S. Immigration and Custom Enforcement's Travel webpage.  You may also come into the Diversity Center.  We would be happy to help you.