View Full Version : How long a student holding F-1 Visa can travel outside the U.S.?
06-03-2009, 10:59 PM
Iím a graduate student, holding F-1 Visa. My school is quarter system. I plan to visit my country during this summer. The departure date is 06/22/09 and the return date is 08/26/09. So, Iíll be outside the U.S. about 2 months and 4 days.
Today (06/03/09), I went to the International Office of my school. They said they didnít want to sign my I-20 on page 3 now. They would wait until 06/18/09 to sign it because if my I-20 is signed today and I would return at the end of August, itís almost 3 months. I might get problems.
1. How long a student holding F-1 Visa can travel outside the U.S.? For my case, Iíll be outside the U.S. about 2 months and 4 days. Is that fine?
2. I donít understand why the International Office has to wait until 06/18/09 to sign my I-20. Does the departure date count from the date my I-20 signed, not my actual date I leave the U.S.
Thanks you guys,
06-04-2009, 12:09 AM
AFAIK, you can stay out of US for 5 months without affecting your status. Check sevis and uscis website.
I don't think the travel date matters. First read up on sevis site, then talk to your international office again.
06-04-2009, 07:30 AM
I-20 sign is valid for 1 year, and maximum absence is 5 months.
06-14-2009, 07:37 AM
I'm a bit confused about this 5 month of temporary stay and sevis thing. I've read the same what you guys are refering here (travelstate.gov). I've got my endorsement on p.3 of my I-20 but suprising as it is my international office terminated my SEVIS record, and now I cannot get back. I haven't stayed for 5 months here, but they are not responding to my email, and not reactivating my SEVIS record, so I cannot get back. I think I will have to stay over 5 months and apply for a new visa, new SEVIS etc. I just don't know why they terminated my SEVIS at the first place when I haven't been at home for 5 months or more yet???? Anyone has any idea what I should do??? I'm stuck here at home doing nothing but hoping a miracle to happen (or to the 5 months to come so I can start a new visa procedure)...I find this very unfair.
Please, if anyone have an idea what I should do, let me know.
Thanks a lot!
06-14-2009, 12:13 PM
5 months is the time allowed by US law. But, it also states that if you fail to remain a full time student and take vacations which are not allowed by the law. (summer vacation is allowed after 2 semesters of study for example) then the university can terminate your record.
If you did not wish to enroll in a particular semester, you should have obtained a waiver from your school. Now you can enroll in another university, get their I-20, pay SEVIS fees again and enter with a new F1 visa.
06-15-2009, 08:37 AM
I'm not sure you're right on this.
A student can be out of the US for 5 months (or less) without being a full time student. Of course, you have to have a legitimate reason for leaving and not just for "vacation". I had to leave back home for family emergency, and I don't understand why the international office is not willing to ask SEVP to reactivate my SEVIS record, so I can return (as I have not stayed in my homeland for 5 months). I guess they just wait until the 5 months comes, so that they can say I stayed for 5 months hence new visa is required....I've been reading sooo many sites, and about a student leaving for less than 5 months need to be a full time student-as you said- sounds like a contradiction to me. Hm?
03-11-2010, 06:02 AM
I am kind of in the same situation but a little more twisted.
I am out of US for 3 months based on academic suspension. The university told that they have terminated the SEVIS record as I am on academic suspension.
I asked the consulate in my home country and they told me that I need not apply for a new visa to re-enter US as it is less than 5 months.
The university will be sending me a new I20 with a new SEVIS number so that I can re-join the university to complete my program.
But the old SEVIS number is already printed on the VISA stamp. Is it ok to have the old SEVIS number on the stamp while the I20 has the new SEVIS number?
Is there anybody here who is in this situation with a different SEVIS number on I20 compared to that on VISA stamp?
My visa and passport have not expired.
06-23-2010, 05:43 AM
Can you please tell me what did they ask in Visa interview?
Unfortunately, I may also get suspension so planning before I get it.
Is it ok to reapply for new Visa or is it too risky? Because I can apply to other univ and get admission. But I have completed more than half of my course so a bit worried.
Pls reply with some more suggestions if any of u have.