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International Student Office - Travel Guide



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Travel to Canada, Mexico, or Adjacent Islands

Canada, Mexico and many Central American Island nations do require entry visas for citizens of certain countries. Therefore, it is always best to check with the embassy or consulate of any country you wish to visit about entry visas.

If planning to visit Canada, Mexico or adjacent islands other than Cuba for less than 30 days, you must have following to re-enter the U.S.:

  • Valid passport
  • An F-1 or J-1 visa (not necessary to be valid)
  • Valid I-20 or DS-2019 with a valid signature from an ISO advisor

An expired F-1 or J-1 visa is acceptable to re-enter the U.S. if the student or scholar was in Canada, Mexico or adjacent islands (other than Cuba) for less than 30 days and intends to continue maintaining valid F-1 or J-1 status (NOT APPLICABLE FOR CITIZENS FROM CANADA, MEXICO AND ADJACENT ISLANDS).

However, since certain countries are ineligible for this benefit and travel regulations are subject to change, you MUST check with the International Student Office if you intend to travel with an expired visa.

Please visit: for a directory of foreign embassies and consulates in U.S. in order to find out contact information for a country's embassy/consulate to apply for a visa.

How to apply for a Canadian visa

Before you travel to Canada, visit Canada's website to check if you need to have a tourist visa to enter Canada. If yes, please print Canada's Visa Application form, complete it and submit it with the required documents to a Canadian consulate. Please visit to locate a Canadian embassy or consulate near you.

What to submit with the Application

  • A complete application (IMM 5257) with the proper fees
  • Your ORIGINAL VALID passport
  • Two passport photos and make sure to write your name & date of birth on the back of ONLY one photo (you may get passport photos at Walgreens)
  • Original I-20 or DS-2019 form with valid signature on the third page
  • A letter from the registrar's office (Potter Hall) to indicate that you are registered as a full time student for the current and upcoming semester
  • Original bank statement to indicate that you have sufficient funds to cover your trip's expenses until your return to U.S.
  • A return express mail envelope (to secure the return of your original passport)
  • An unofficial transcript from Topnet plus a personal letter from you

Allow 2 to 5 weeks for the processing of your application

Note: documents in Portable Document Format (PDF) require Adobe Acrobat Reader 5.0 or higher to view,
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Note: documents in Excel format (XLS) require Microsoft Viewer,
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Note: documents in Word format (DOC) require Microsoft Viewer,
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Note: documents in Powerpoint format (PPT) require Microsoft Viewer,
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Note: documents in Quicktime Movie format [MOV] require Apple Quicktime,
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 Last Modified 9/25/14