Travelling Home this Summer?

Flying Home

Many students have now made it through Finals Week, celebrated the end of the school year and are preparing for the summer holidays! What are you doing this summer? Travelling home to see your family? Road-tripping the West Coast? Taking a few summer classes on campus? Whatever your plans, as an international student in the U.S., you must make sure to maintain your student status over the summer.

Annual Vacation

After each completed year of studies, international students are able to take an annual vacation, which will last about as long as a semester or term of school. The great majority of students choose to take their annual vacation during the summer months.

The annual vacation is definitely the best time of the year for students to travel. The U.S. is a beautiful country to explore and has enough beaches, mountains, cities and sites to keep you entertained all summer! If road-tripping beautiful Niagara Falls is on your list this summer, just make sure you don’t accidentally cross the border into Canada! Travelling abroad as an international student will require a bit more organization than for regular students.

You might be planning to leave the U.S. this summer, to go home, see family and friends, or for more exotic travelling. Before leaving the country, make sure you have done the following:

  • Contacted your DSO for approval to travel outside the U.S.
  • Have your I-20 signed by your DSO
  • Checked your Passport and Visa is valid
  • Saved your DSO’s name and contact information

Remember to keep all your important documents with you when travelling, not in your checked luggage!

Airport travelling

Finishing your studies

If you are completing your program of study this year (congrats Class of 2017!) you will have 60 days after the program end date listed on your I-20 to leave the U.S. You may stay in the country with your F1 visa only if you are:

  • Starting a new program of study in the next available term or within five months
  • engaged in a post-completion optional practical training
  • on cap gap and eligible for a change of status to H1-B

Returning home at the end of your program will be just as hard as leaving home for your first day of college. Come back next week for our best tips on returning home after completing your studies in the U.S.!

Sandrine first became an international student when she was 10 years old and hasn’t stopped since. Over the years, she has studied/worked in France, England, Spain, Switzerland, Germany and the USA. She brings her passion of travel and writing together to inspire students to embark on their journey around the world and discover its many cultures.

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