The following are common questions relating to Travel while on OPT or waiting for OPT approval.
If departing the U.S, travel signatures, good for only 6 months, on I-20s are important as they help to allow a smooth re-entry to the U.S.
Although Immigration regulations allow the use of OPT I-797 Receipt Notices instead of the EADs to re-enter the U.S. while OPT requests are pending, it is not recommended as Custom and Border Protection (CBP) may overrule this regulation. In addition, if an EAD has been issued, the EAD will be required for re-entry.
Yes, but ISS highly recommends that students on OPT have proof of employment to re-enter the U.S. If not employed, evidence of prospective interviews and/or jobs can be important. Students should also understand how much unemployment time is left in their work authorization periods.. Note: Those students who have accumulated 90 days of unemployment will not be able to re-enter the US in F-1 status.
- Passport that’s valid for at least 6 months into the future at the time of re-entry
- Valid F-1 Visa
- Valid EAD
- Valid I-20 with a travel signature not more than 6 months old at the time of re-entry
Note: In addition to the above, OPT employment that’s reported into SEVP Portal Account as well as proof of employment, such as pay stubs, job offer letter and employment verification letter.