Travel and Re-Entry

Always keep important documents with you while you are in the U.S. and abroad. At airports, train stations, and other transportation hubs you will need to present your original documents to establish your identity, so be prepared.

When making travel plans to travel outside of the U.S., we advise you to be prepared. Below we have provided you with some advice about the documentation that you will need to carry with you when you return. For general information, please refer to information provided by U.S. Customs and Border Protection at: http://www.cbp.gov/travel

Traveling North?

Some people may be asked to present important documents when passing through checkpoints in San Clemente or near Rainbow on the I-5 freeway.

Traveling Abroad?

When traveling to a third country (other than your home country or the U.S.), remember that a new set of laws will be in effect. You are likely to need a visa to enter that country. To learn more about visa requirements, contact the country’s closest consulate in the U.S.

For information on travel to Canada and Mexico, please visit:

 

If you have applied for a waiver of the Two Year Home Residency Requirement (212e), or are considering applying or have applied for a change of status or for permanent residency, or IFSO has filed a petition to extend your status, please consult with an IFSO advisor before traveling outside of the U.S.

Documents Required for Re-entry

To re-enter the U.S. to continue your program/employment after a short break outside of the country, it is necessary to have proper documentation. Prepare these documents in the U.S. before leaving and keep all documents handy during your travels.

Visitors traveling to the U.S. are required to be in possession of passports that are valid for six months beyond the period of their intended stay in the U.S.  For a list of countries exempt from the six month rule, see Six Month Club. (Six Month Club validity on your passport does not apply to U.S. Citizens returning to the United States.)

F-1 OPT

  1. Valid passport (minimum of 6 months into the future)
  2. Valid F-1 visa stamp in your passport
  3. Current Form I-20 with valid travel signature (page 3) from the International Office that issued the document
  4. Valid Employment Authorization Document (EAD)
  5. Letter from your employer certifying continuing employment at UC San Diego

J-1

  1. Valid passport (minimum of 6 months into the future)
  2. Valid J-1 visa stamp in your passport
  3. Valid Form DS-2019 with valid travel signature from the International Faculty & Scholars Office*
    *If you need a valid travel signature, please come to our office with the original DS-2019s you need signed. Please allow 2 business days for processing.
  4. Appointment letter (optional)

H-1B

  1. Valid passport* 
    *Please note: If your passport expires before the H-1B approval date on your I-797 approval notice, your status end date will be reduced accordingly on your physical or electronic I-94 Arrival/Departure record. 
  2. Valid H-1B visa stamp in your passport
  3. Current I-797 form (H-1B Approval Notice)
  4. Copy of (I-129 and ETA9035) petition
  5. Letter from your employer certifying continuing employment at UC San Diego
  6. Earning Statements for previous two months (https://atyourserviceonline.ucop.edu/ayso/

O-1

  1. Valid passport*
    *Please note: If your passport expires before the H-1B approval date on your I-797 approval notice, your status end date will be reduced accordingly on your physical or electronic I-94 Arrival/Departure record. In that case, you must notify the International Faculty & Scholar Office so that we can apply for an extension to recapture your original approval period.
  2. Valid O-1 visa stamp in your passport
  3. Current I-797 form (O-1 Approval Notice)
  4. Copy of (I-129) petition
  5. Letter from your employer certifying continuing employment at UC San Diego

TN

  1. Valid passport
  2. Original physical or electronic I-94 Arrival/Departure record indicating prior entry in TN status and annotated with employer's name
  3. Valid TN visa stamp in your passport (Canadians citizens are not required to have visa stamps for entry to the U.S.)
  4. Letter from your employer certifying continuing employment at UC San Diego
  5. Canadian citizens are eligible for expedited reentry through the NEXUS program.

B-1

  1. Valid passport
  2. Valid B-1/B-2 visa stamp in your passport
  3. Letter from your inviting department indicating the business nature of your activities on campus (see sample letter)

WB

  1. Valid passport
  2. Valid ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization) registration; see https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov/esta/
  3. Letter from your inviting department indicating the business nature of your activities on campus (see sample letter)

Dependents

Family members in derivative status (F-2, J-2, H-4, O-3, TD) will need to have valid documents respective to their immigration status listed from items #1 through #3 as well. Non-citizen Canadian spouse/dependents will need TD visa stamps.

Visa Stamp Renewal

  • If your visa stamp has expired you will need to renew it; see applying for a visa.
  • If you are traveling to adjacent countries, you may not need to apply for a new visa stamp; see Automatic Visa Renewal below.
  • If you are applying for a new visa as a Third Country National and are required to wait in Mexico for its issuance, do NOT under any circumstances return to the U.S. in B status to work while you wait for the visa approval

What To Do with Your I-94

For general travel to other countries: (if traveling to Mexico, Canada, or the Caribbean islands excluding Cuba for 30 days or less, see Automatic Visa Revalidation below):

Effective April 26, 2013, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) began automating the admission process. With the new automated Form I-94 process, the U.S. Customs & Border Patrol (CBP) Officer will create an electronic automated arrival Form I-94 record during the admissions process for nonimmigrants entering the United States at an air or sea port. A paper Form I-94 may still be issued at the land border ports of entry. Upon entry, please retrieve your admission (I-94) number and print a copy of the I-94 for your record from the Form I-94 website. If an employer, local, state or federal agency requests admission information, present your admission (I-94) number along with any additional required documents requested by that employer or agency. If your record is NOT FOUND, please contact the International Faculty & Scholar Office and go to the CBP Deferred Inspections office in downtown San Diego.

We recommend faculty and scholars obtain a paper I-94 at land borders to show proof of legal entry/admission into the U.S. You may either apply for one online within the seven days prior to reentering or you may be required to go to Secondary Inspection with U.S. Customs at time of reentry ($6 fee will apply for either).  

For more information regarding the Form I-94 automation please review the list of resources below:

If your I-94 is paper (and not issued electronically), upon leaving, surrender the I-94 to the U.S. government official or airline representative. Exception: keep I-94 when traveling on Automatic Visa Revalidation. If for some reason your physical I-94 is not collected, you may submit it upon your return to the U.S.; see: https://help.cbp.gov/app/answers/detail/a_id/752/~/how-to-record-departure-from-the-united-states-after-the-fact. If you were issued an I-94 electronically, you do not need to surrender an I-94 upon departing the U.S. The federal government will record your departure based on the carrier's flight manifest.

Automatic Visa Revalidation (AVR)

Definition: Your expired U.S. entry visa is considered to be automatically extended to the date of reentry provided that the visa has not been canceled, and that you have not applied for a new visa.  To take advantage of AVR your travel must be to contiguous/adjacent entities for less than 30 days.  Rules governing AVR are found in the United States Code of Federal Regulations.

  • Contiguous countries are: Canada, Mexico, and the adjacent islands: Saint Pierre, Miquelon, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Bermuda, the Bahamas, Barbados, Jamaica, the Windward and Lee Islands, Trinidad, Martinique, and the British, French and Netherlands territories or possessions in or bordering the Caribbean Sea. Cuba is excluded.
  • H-1B workers are allowed to take advantage of AVR for travel to Canada and Mexico ONLY.
  • AVR is not available to individuals from countries designated as state sponsors of terrorism.
  • If you were issued a physical I-94 card (as opposed to automated, electronic version) DO NOT surrender your I-94 card when departing the U.S.; you must keep it for reentry and automatic revalidation of your visa stamp.  If you were issued an automated, electronic I-94, your I-94 will be verified electronically and you will be eligible for AVR if you meet all other requirements (as listed here).
  • If you have a physical I-94 card that you will be using for automatic visa revalidation, and the flight attendant or officer asks for your I-94 card, politely inform them that you are taking advantage of the AVR provision.
  • AVR is only for business/leisure travel for fewer than 30 days.
  • AVR is not valid for people who travel from a contiguous/adjacent entity, such as Canada, to a non-contiguous country, such as Germany, and then return to the U.S. via a contiguous/adjacent entity.
  • If you have changed your status while in the U.S. and hold a visa for the previous status, you may still take advantage of AVR, as long as you bring the supporting documents for your new status.  For example, if you changed your status from F-1 to H-1B, but still only have an expired F-1 visa, you may still use AVR.

For more information regarding AVR, please visit the U.S. Department of State and U.S. Customs and Border Patrol websites.

Please note: you may require a visa to enter Canada/Mexico or Caribbean countries. 

DHS Security Traveler Redress Inquiry Program (TRIP)

The Department of Homeland Security Traveler Redress Inquiry Program (DHS TRIP) is a single point of contact for individuals who have inquiries or seek resolution regarding difficulties they experienced during their travel screening at transportation hubs—like airports and train stations—or crossing U.S. borders, including:

  • watch list issues
  • screening problems at ports of entry
  • situations where travelers believe they have been unfairly or incorrectly delayed, denied boarding or identified for additional screening at our nation’s transportation hubs

DHS TRIP is part of an effort by the departments of State and Homeland Security to welcome legitimate travelers while still securing our country from those who want to do us harm.

Deferred Inspection

Deferred Inspection provides assistance to those individuals who at the time of entry into the United States believe that the documentation and corresponding endorsements issued at the port of entry require review and possible correction. They are available to review and issue the necessary documents to remedy errors recorded on arrival documents relating to improper non-immigrant classification, inaccurate biographical information or incorrect period of admission, if appropriate.

Please note: The Deferred Inspection Sites will only correct errors issued at the time of entry to the United States. You must bring your immigration documents with you for possible correction: Passport, DS-2019, I-94, I-20, or I-797

Location and Hours

610 W. Ash Street, San Diego, CA 92101


Hours: Monday to Friday from 12:00p.m.-3:00 p.m.
Phone: 619-685-4334

Directions to Deferred Inspections

By car from the UCSD Campus: Take I-5 South. Take Exit 17 to merge onto Front Street  Turn Right on Ash St. You can park at a meter or in a paid parking lot. Most meters take quarters for 15 minutes of time. You should put time in for at least 1 hour.

By bus from the UCSD Campus: From UCSD, you can either take the 150 South bus route or the 30 South bus route, to downtown. From other locations, visit http://sdmts.com/tripplanner.asp to enter your start and destination address.

Travel and Reentry with Expectation to Change Status

On September 1, 2017, the U.S. Department of State modified its policy guidance for consular officers regarding “Activities that indicate Violation of Status or Conduct Inconsistent with Status.” One excerpt from this guidance reads:

 (2) (U) Inconsistent Conduct Within 90 Days of Entry:

 (a) (U) However, if an alien violates or engages in conduct inconsistent with his or her nonimmigrant status within 90 days of entry, as described in subparagraph (2)(b) below, you may presume that the applicant's representations about engaging in only status-compliant activity were willful misrepresentations of his or her intention in seeking a visa or entry. (see: https://fam.state.gov/fam/09FAM/09FAM030209.html)

Given this new policy change at the U.S. Department of State, we would strongly advise against filing an application or petition to change your status until after 90 days have passed from your recent date of entry, as any negative determination could have negative consequences for future applications for benefits at U.S. consulates abroad.

Contact Us

International Faculty & Scholar Office (IFSO)
Phone:
(858) 246-1448
Email:
ischolars@ucsd.edu

Monday through Friday
9 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Subscribe to the ListServ for International Scholars

Important Entry Information

If you decide to return to the U.S. without all of your valid documents, you may be subject to secondary inspection. It will be at the sole discretion of the port-of-entry officer to grant you re-entry to the U.S. If you are allowed entry, you may be issued a Form I-515A. This allows a scholar to enter the U.S. for up to 30 days, within which time the scholar will report to the Responsible Officer at their institution for required documentation. The 30-day period will be reflected on a date-specific I-94 Arrival/Departure Record (not stamped "D/S"). If you are issued a Form I-515A, please report to IFSO for further assistance.

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