Travel and Re-entry | Webster University

Travel and Re-entry

Students and dependents in good status can travel outside the U.S. and re-enter any time. However, they must have been outside the U.S. for 5 months or less to be readmitted under their current visa status, and must present the following:

  • A current I-20 or DS-2019, signed for travel by a  Designated School Official (DSO) for F-1 students) or by a Responsible Officer (RO) for J-1 students; or
  • A new updated I-20 or DS-2019, if there has been substantial changes to the old I-20 or DS-2019 (such as change in major, change in degree level)

Please read below to learn more about traveling outside the U.S. and re-entering the U.S. Please also find here a printable sheet of Travel and Re-Entry Tips (PDF).

Travel Signature

Please get a travel signature on your I-20 or DS-209 before you travel outside the U.S. if you plan to return to Webster University. Only those students who intent to return to Webster University will need travel signature from Webster University. Your Form I-20 or DS-2019 must be signed by an international student advisor from International Recruitment & International Services or by a designated school official at your campus if you are studying at other Webster U.S. campus location. These documents cannot be signed by an academic advisor or by a professor. Please note, travel signature is valid for one (1) year.

Travel Signature at St. Louis Campus

Drop off your Form I-20 or DS-2019 to the front desk of the Welcome Center, Webster Hall Room 130, to obtain a travel signature if you are in St. Louis main campus. Your I-20 or DS-2019 will be available for pick-up between one and two business days. We need this time to review your SEVIS record, ensure that it is still valid and provide you the travel signature and guidance. Therefore, you should request travel signature at least four (4) weeks prior to your travel date to avoid any delay. You are asked to carry all I-20s or DS-2019s you have ever been issued, not just the most recent one.

Travel Signature at other U.S. campuses

If you are at other U.S. campus location, please contact your campus main office to find out the designated school official who can sign your I-20. If there is no designated school official currently on your campus, then you will have to mail your I-20 to St. Louis to be signed by one of our DSOs before you travel. Please consult your campus and/or International Recruitment and International Services in St. Louis for more guidance.

Visa Renewal

If your visa expires while you are in the U.S., the next time you travel abroad you must apply for an extension of your visa at the U.S. embassy or consulate abroad. You are required to apply for visa in your home country or country of permanent residence. In case circumstances or travel plans make it impossible to apply for visa in your home country or country of permanent residence, then you can apply for a visa at a U.S. consulate in another country. However, you should know that your visa application may be reviewed more critically than if you applied at your home country. You also need to know that if your visa application is denied from the third country then, you cannot be permitted to re-enter the U.S.

Leave of Absence for F-1 and J-1 Students

Every international student planning to take a  a leave of absence from studies must notify International Recruitment and International Services before taking the leave of absence so that we can report this information in SEVIS. Please note that leave of absence is a break fro studies If you must leave the U.S. outside your annual vacation, then this is considered a . You cannot spend your leave of absence time in the United States. You must leave the United States as soon as your request is approved.

Requesting a leave of absence

To request a leave of absence, a student needs to complete the Leave of Absence Form and submit it to International Recruitment and International Services. Please request a travel signature on your I-20 or DS-2019 before you leave if you plan to return to Webster University.  You are also encouraged to meet with your academic advisor before leaving Webster University to discuss your plans.

Termination of I-20 or DS-2019 SEVIS record

Your SEVIS I-20 or DS-2019 record will be terminated for authorized withdrawal upon approval of your leave of absence by International Recruitment and International Services. Depending on the length of your leave, whether it is less or more than 5 months, International Recruitment and International Services may be able to reactivate your current SEVIS record before your return.

Returning to Webster University

Within 5 Months: If you are returning to Webster University within five (5) months, you may use the same I-20 or DS-2019 to re-enter the United States. Please contact International Recruitment and International Services at least 60 days prior to your return. We will contact the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) to reactivate your current I-20 or DS-2019 record so that you can use it to re-enter the United States. However, you must not attempt to re-enter the United States until after you have or received confirmation from us that your I-20 or DS-2019 SEVIS record has been reactivated. You should also contact your academic advisor to enroll you in classes for the next term before your return. Please remember you will need a valid passport, a valid F-1 -1 visa, and your current I-20 or DS-2019 with a valid travel signature.

After 5 Months: If you are returning to Webster University more than five (5) months after your leave of absence, you will need to obtain a new (initial) Form I-20 or DS-2019, with a new program start date and a new SEVIS identification number from Webster University. To obtain a new Form I-20 or DS-2019 you will need to complete I-20 or DS-2019 Request Form. You will be required to pay a new I-901 SEVIS fee and apply for a new visa at the United States embassy or consulate (even if the current visa in your passport has not yet expired).