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Traveling Outside of the U.S.

Depending on your visa status, there are some situations you should be aware of when planning a trip outside the U.S.

You may experience delays at U.S. Embassies and Consulates due to special processing requirements that have been imposed on non-immigrant visa applicants (particularly for certain nationalities and certain areas of study or research). This may lead to a delay from several weeks to several months in visa issuance. See Travel Advisory.

If you are subject to a Security Advisory Opinion (SAO), please understand that:

  1. no one can expedite it
  2. you may need to be placed on a Leave of Absence at UTHSC until you can return.

If you must apply for a new visa, you should not attempt to do so in any country other than your own. If you apply in Canada or Mexico and are subject to an SAO, you will not be able to return to the U.S. until your visa is issued. If the visa is denied, you must travel directly to your home country from Canada or Mexico. You will not be able to enter the U.S. under Automatic Visa Revalidation (see below) once you have applied for a visa in Canada or Mexico.

Anyone who has a pending Change of Status application with USCIS should NOT travel abroad -- not even to Canada or Mexico. Traveling abroad means you are abandoning your application for a change of status.

Automatic Visa Revalidation

For visits to Canada or Mexico of fewer than 30 days, do NOT turn in your I-94 printout at the border or airport. You will be able to re-enter the U.S. under Automatic Visa Revalidation with a valid I-94 printout and valid immigration document (I-20,DS-2019, etc.) even if your visa may have expired. This option is not possible without your I-94.

You may not use Automatic Visa Revalidation if you have applied for a U.S. visa while in Canada or Mexico or if you are a citizen of a country deemed to be a state sponsor of terrorism.


If you are sponsored by UT Health Science Center, please contact International Affairs to get a travel endorsement on your I-20 or DS-2019 before you leave.

If you are a UTHSC student and will be applying for a renewal of your visa while abroad, you should request a letter from International Affairs and also bring a copy of your transcript to prove full-time student status and proof of financial support if not supported by UTHSC.

If you are on F-1 Optional Practical Training, you will need a letter from your employer as evidence that you will be returning to a job in the U.S.

F-2/J-2 Dependents

If dependents are traveling separately, they should carry with them their own endorsed I-20 or DS-2019.


Plan any travel so it does not coincide with your visa status extension application -- this can create problems for you if you try to reenter after your status has expired or with just a few days left on your current approval notice.

Please contact International Affairs, so that we can give you a letter of employment verification.

H-4/O-3 Dependents

Dependents may travel abroad separately. Request a letter of employment verification of the H-1B visa holder from International Affairs. If the H-4 dependent needs to renew the visa while abroad, please request a letter of employment verification and carry a copy of the H-1B visa holder's most recent H-1B approval notice from USCIS.

TN and TD Dependents

Request letter of employment verification from International Affairs prior to traveling home or abroad.

If your TN status will expire while you're abroad, please contact International Affairs for information on how to renew by re-entry to the U.S.

Also see the following sections:

May 26, 2022