IMPORTANT NOTICE: Traveling this holiday? Remember S.A.N.T.A.

by Benjamin Skye | December 14, 2011 | Newsletters 0 Comments

We have received a message from the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency regarding important traveling information that international students need to have for this holiday season. If you are traveling this holiday season, please read this entire message carefully.

Students who are traveling home this holiday need to remember S.A.N.T.A.

Students who are traveling home this holiday need to remember S.A.N.T.A.

International/nonimmigrant students who are traveling home this holiday season need to remember the acronym S.A.N.T.A. in order to have an uninterrupted traveling experience:

1. Sign the Form I-20.

  • All international/nonimmigrant students should travel with a valid, signed Form I-20, “Cerficate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status.” This is absolutely necessary if you are traveling outside the U.S. Make sure you visit your school’s SEVIS contact and get your I-20 signed.

2. Apply for passport or visa renewal in your home country (if necessary).

  • If you are returning to your home country and you have a passport that is either expired or will expire in within six months, you should apply for a renewal. A student who has a passport with only six months or less left will not be allowed to enter the U.S.
  • If you have an expired visa, make sure you renew your visa at your home country’s U.S. Embassy or Consulate. As soon as you find out your travel dates, make an appointment with the Embassy/Consulate to get your visa renewed when you get home. Again, you will not be allowed to re-enter the U.S. if you carry an expired visa.
  • If you are traveling to a third country (not U.S. or your home country), make sure you check the visa requirements for that country before travel.

3. Note that employed students should bring an employment letter and Form I-766, “Employment Authorization Document,” (EAD) when traveling.

  • If you are legally employed off-campus you should travel with a valid EAD and a letter from your employer verifying employment. This is assist the U.S. Customs and Border Protection in verifying your information upon re-entry.

4. Travel with all required documents.

  • You should always travel with your required documents. Never place these important documents in checked luggage. The required documents are as follows: a valid, signed Form I-20; a valid passport (good for more than six months, unless otherwise exempt); a valid nonimmigrant visa, if required; and financial information showing proof of necessary funds to cover tuition and living expenses. Failure to have all these required documents may jeopardize your ability to re-enter the U.S.

5. Assign an emergency phone number.

  • Make sure you have an emergency phone number from your school or from ELI 360 as a point of contact in case you encounter any problems while traveling.

By traveling with S.A.N.T.A. in mind, international students will have a smooth and stress-free re-entry and travel experience. If you have any questions, please contact Benjamin Skye at

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