International Student Affairs
Before traveling to or from the United States, international students must have certain travel documents. These include:
- A Valid Passport
- An I-20 Form
- The Arrival/Departure Document (I-94/white card)
- Documents and Receipts
The passport is a formal permit from your government to travel abroad, a proof of identity, and a basic travel document that entitles you to re-enter your country. To travel outside the United States and return after your trip, it is important to have a valid passport. Your passport should be valid at all times. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) regulations require that it be valid a minimum of six months after your scheduled graduation or anticipated departure date.
Put your passport, visa packet, and I-20 in your carry-on luggage. You will need these documents immediately upon arrival to the United States. Canadian citizens do not have to apply for visas prior to arrival at a border crossing and need only have valid passports and I-20s.
Foreign passports may be revalidated in the United States by the authorized representatives of foreign governments, usually officials of consulates. Some countries can take up to six months to issue a new passport. Make sure you call your embassy at least six months before your passport expires.
If you lose your passport, you must apply for a new one at your government's embassy location in the United States. In most instances, the Office of International Student Affairs keeps a copy of your passport and I-94 on file to help you with the process of replacing a lost or stolen passport.
Passport and Visa Questions
Please have your passport and I-20 form available when requesting information about immigration, and when asking what forms should be filled out by the international student advisor.
Contact your international student advisor if you have questions about travel visas, visas for other countries, your passport, or your embassy's address.
Make sure your I-20 form is signed by your international student advisor before you leave the United States. Only the signatures of certain designated school officials are binding on immigration documents, including your I-20 form.
The designated school official who should sign your I-20 form is Virga Mohsini in the Office of International Student Affairs, 216 Tremont Street, 2nd Floor, 617-824-7858. Please plan ahead when you drop off your documents, allowing time for them to be processed and signed. Your I-20 form should be ready for pickup within two business days of receipt. You may drop off and pick up forms during business hours, Monday through Friday, excluding holidays.
In emergency situations only, you may contact these school administrators to sign your I-20 form:
- Linda Miller, Lacerte Family Writing and Academic Resource Center, 216 Tremont Street, 5th Floor, 617-824-7874
- Susan Pottenger, Undergraduate Admission, 120 Boylston Street, 5th Floor, 617-824-8600
- Sandra Orlowski, Graduate Admission, 120 Boylston Street, 5th Floor, 617-824-8610
Hours and staff availability may vary.
This document is issued to you by the USCIS upon your arrival in the United States. Keep this document in a safe place.
Please keep all documents and receipts in a safe place for the entire time you are here. These include:
- All of your USCIS documents
- All of your Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Social Security, or other government documents
- All bank receipts and charge card receipts for at least one year