Travel While on OPT

In general, an F-1 student on post-completion OPT may travel outside of the U.S. temporarily and be readmitted to resume F-1 status and employment for the remainder of the period authorized on his or her EAD card. The student must not have exceeded the maximum OPT unemployment or OPT STEM Extension unemployment time.

WARNING: Re-entering the U.S. in a status other than F-1 (such as a tourist) will invalidate F-1 status and OPT authorization.

Documents Needed When Traveling

* NOTE: If there are any problems with your application to USCIS and you are outside of the U.S., it may be difficult for you to respond. If you are outside the U.S. and your application is rejected or denied, it may not be possible for you to return to begin or resume your OPT/STEM OPT. If you choose to travel while your application is pending, be sure that you are monitoring your mail and USCIS Case Status online AND that you communicate with the Ivanhoe International Center about your travel plans.

Renewing an F-1 Visa During OPT/STEM

If a student's F-1 visa has expired and the student wishes to travel outside of the U.S., a new F-1 visa must be obtained before re-entering the U.S.

Students who need to apply for a new visa should consult with the Ivanhoe International Center prior to travel to discuss the visa application process and possible risks. General Visa information can be found on the Accepted Students page under U.S. Government Preparations for Visa.

If You Are on OPT & Have a Pending or Approved H1-B or OPT Cap-Gap I-20

First check with your employer and legal counsel processing your H1-B regarding travel plans. The Ivanhoe International Center can only advise you for travel as an F-1, but we cannot advise on how your travel might impact a pending or future H1-B request.

Contact Us:

Ivanhoe International Center
SD School of Mines & Technology
501 E Saint Joseph Street
Rapid City, SD  57701-3995
Email: International@sdsmt.edu
Phone: 1.605.394.6884
FAX: 1.605.394.6883
Skype: sdsmt.international

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