Questions from DSOs: How Can I Help My Students Prepare for Holiday Travel?
Your international students may be planning to travel for the holidays, including outside the United States. There are a few things you should know to help your students prepare for their travel and to ensure a smooth reentry back into the United States.
Read below for tips and resources to share with your students before they leave and upon their return to the United States.
Tip 1: Recommend that they check in with you
It is important to remind your students to check in with you before leaving the country for travel during their holiday break. Make sure that:
- Their record in the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) is up-to-date and in Active status.
- They have your most up-do-date contact information, including both a daytime telephone number at the school, including a 24-hour emergency phone number.
- They understand what to expect when re-entering the country and have all the necessary travel documents.
Tip 2: Make sure they have proper documentation
When a student enters the United States, they will arrive at a port of entry and meet with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers for primary and sometimes a secondary inspection. The CBP officer may ask questions about their reason for travel and to inspect important documents like their:
- Student visa.
- Form 1-20, “Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Status.”
Encourage your students to hand-carry these items and do not put them in their checked baggage.
Tip 3: Understand the Form I-515A
In some cases, the CBP officer may issue a student a Form I-515A, “Notice to Student or Exchange Visitor,” which authorizes temporary admission to the United States for 30 days while they obtain and submit the proper documentation to SEVP. Students must notify you right away if they receive a Form I-515A.
For more information, tips and resources on how to prepare your students for traveling outside of the United States, visit the new Traveling as an International Student page on Study in the States.