Arriving in the United States

Upon admission to the United States, the port of entry officer will place an admission stamp in your passport, indicating the place of admission, date of admission, class of admission, and the expiration date of your immigration status. The officer will create an electronic record which will immediately be available online. You will be able to access and print the electronic record by providing your biographic information and passport and entry information. This printout is your paper I-94.

You should print out this I-94 as soon as you arrive at LSU; it will be required by government agencies when you apply for benefits such as a driver’s license, social security number, and employment eligibility.

The Form I-94 is a very important document. It is proof of the following:

  • Your lawful admission to the United States;
  • Your class of admission (i.e., F-1 student status);
  • The date you entered the United States; and
  • The authorized period of stay (i.e., "Admitted until: D/S") or duration of status.

If you are unable to print out your I-94, please call (225) 578-3191 to schedule an appointment and to see an advisor for assistance.

Traveling Outside the U.S.

The following information is for current international students who wish to travel outside of the U.S.

Documents for Travel

For re-entry into the U.S. to continue your studies, you should have the following:

  • Valid, current, and accurate SEVIS I-20 (for F-1/F-2 status) or DS-2019 (for J-1/J-2 status). Your current immigration form must have an endorsement signature in the travel authorization section.
    • Technically, this signature is valid for one (1) year, but we recommend one that is no older than six (6) months from your return date.
    • You can make multiple trips using the same signature during this six-month period.
    • In most cases, only IS advisors may endorse this form. However, if the DS-2019 for your J-1/J-2 status was issued by an agency other than LSU, you must send the original form to that agency for signature.
  • Copies of previous I-20s or DS-2019s, especially if you have enrolled at one or more institutions prior to enrollment at LSU.
  • A valid (unexpired) passport. Your passport must be valid for at least six (6) months after the date you plan to re-enter the US.
    • If you need to renew your passport, contact your embassy in the U.S. or the appropriate authority in your home country.
  • A valid (unexpired) US visa stamp. A student and/or student dependent (F-1/F-2 or J-1/J-2) visa must be valid on the date you plan to re-enter the US and have an “M” for unlimited multiple entries.
    • If your visa has expired or you have a single entry visa, you will need to apply for a new visa during your trip.
    • For F and J visa holders who are visiting Canada, Mexico, or certain adjacent islands in the Caribbean for less than 30 calendar days, please view the Automatic Visa Revalidation webpage.
    • A valid US visa contained in an expired passport remains valid (if the passport is in your possession) until the visa expires, is cancelled, or revoked.
    • If you must renew your visa while outside the US or will be outside the US for more than 5 months, review the US Consulate information.
  • Documentary Proof of Funding: You should have with you bank statements, an assistantship letter, a scholarship letter, an Affidavit of Support, and/or any combination thereof to prove full financial support. The amount and the source(s) of funding should match the information on your I-20 or DS-2019.
  • Copies of your LSU transcript: A copy of your LSU transcript will prove you have been a full-time student in good standing since your enrollment as an F-1 or J-1 student. This transcript will be your proof of enrollment for all past semesters.
    • If you have violated the requirement of full-time enrollment, you should contact an IS advisor for advice.
    • If you were enrolled at another US institution as an F-1 or J-1 student prior to enrollment at LSU, you should have a copy of that institution’s transcript(s) as well.
    • If you were granted part-time enrollment permission for any semester, please carry that documentation.
    • Official transcripts and/or letters of enrollment verification may be obtained at the University Registrar's office (112 Thomas Boyd Hall).
  • Proof of pre-registration for the next semester: If you are traveling between semesters and are pre-registered for future terms, the Office of the University Registrar (112 Thomas Boyd Hall) may be able to provide this verification. You can also print your pre-registered schedule from your MyLSU account.
  • A valid LSU Student ID card can also be supporting documentation of your status as an LSU student in the US.
  • If you are a graduate student, you will also need a letter from your graduate advisor or major professor verifying your academic progress toward completion of the degree(s) noted on your I-20 or DS-2019.
    • Any problems you have had which have affected your progress should be mentioned in the letter , especially if you have extended your study period (See completion date listed in #5 of your I-20 or in #4 of your DS-2019.) or had unsatisfactory ratings on your thesis or dissertation research marked as grades on your transcript.
    • It is also helpful if the letter explains your specific research topic(s) and its practical application(s) to assist with any U.S. security clearances.
  • If you are traveling to a country other than your home country, you may need a visitor’s visa for that country. Also, if your flight home requires a stop in a third country, you need to find out if a transit visa is required by that country and, if so, if you must obtain it prior to your trip.

Upon Your Return

When you return, make sure to provide our office with copies of your:

  • New F-1/J-1 Visa Stamp (if applicable to you)
  • New/Renewed Passport (if applicable to you)
  • New I-94 Record

Students who travel outside the US to the areas identified on the LSU Proof of Immunization Compliance – Tuberculosis Questionnaire form will need to have a repeat TB screening three months after their return to the US. You may have this screening done at the LSU Student Health Center (SHC) or provide documentation of a TB screening to the SHC. If you have questions, please contact

Traveling While on OPT

LSU graduates who are currently on OPT should email for further travel information.

Traveling After an Arrest or Charge

If you have been arrested and/or charged with any crime here in the U.S., including felonies or misdemeanors (such as a DUI), we recommend that you seek legal advice before attempting any overseas travel, as you may likely be denied re-entry. We highly discourage travel even for students whose criminal record has been expunged, unless they have received legal review, advice, and clearance.

Travel During Graduation Semester

Please contact to verify that you will be able to travel during your graduation semester. There are complicated issues with traveling during this semester or with considering Degree-Only registration. You could lose the opportunity to re-enter the U.S. as an F-1 student or to apply for OPT; please contact our office if you are considering travel during your graduating semester.