when you travel


Please come to the ISSS Office and get a travel validation signature on your DS-2019 form before you leave the U.S. if you plan to return within the duration of the period shown in Section #3 on the DS-2019 form. You do not need an appointment. You will need to bring your passport and leave your DS-2019 at our front desk.  It will be ready for you to pick up on the next business day.  For Research Scholars, Professors or Student, Non-Degrees the signature is valid for one year or the duration of the period on your DS-2019 form.  For Short-Term Scholars, the signature is valid for a maximum of six months.


Before traveling outside the U.S., please review the following checklist. If you have any questions or concerns before you leave the U.S., please consult International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) at 333-1303.

When you return to the U.S., be prepared to present the following at the port of entry:

  • Valid passport: Be sure that your passport is valid at least six months beyond your entry date.
  • A valid H-1B visa stamp: Check your visa to make sure it will be valid on your intended re-entry date.  Also note the number of entries allowed on your visa.  (See exceptions below.)
  • An updated letter from your department (not older than six months) which confirms your employment and salary. 
  • The original H-1B approval notice (Form I-797A), which shows your H-1B approval for the University of Illinois.  This document is kept in your file at ISSS.  Email your H-1 advisor at ISSS to request this document.  It must be returned when you come back from your trip.
  • A copy of the H-1B petition (Form I-129).  If you don’t have a copy, you can obtain it from your department.
  • A copy of the Labor Condition Application (LCA, or Form ETA 9035) filed with your most recent petition.  (You should already have a copy of the LCA.)
  • A copy of your most recent earnings statement.
  • A copy of your diploma.  If your major field is not stated on your diploma, also take a copy of your transcript. 

If your entry visa has expired, you will need the same items above to apply for a new visa.  Visit the website of the U.S. consulate or embassy where you will apply for more information. 

It is likely that some of these documents will not be required, but it is a good idea to be prepared for any request.

Permanent Resident Applicants in H-1 Status

If you have a pending or approved immigrant petition (I-140) you should also carry a copy of your I-140 receipt or approval notice (Form I-797). If you have applied to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for adjustment of status (I-485), you should also carry the USCIS receipt for the I-485.   If you have advance parole documents in hand, you do not need an H-1 visa. 

Dependents in H-4 status

If you are traveling with your dependents, make sure that you carry all items listed above, and that they possess a valid passport with valid H-4 visa stamp for re-entry and proof of relationship to you, i.e., a copy of a marriage or birth certificate.

When you return

Be sure to return the original I-797 to ISSS in person (do not send it through campus mail).  Please also give us a copy of your new I-94 and, if applicable, your new visa.  NOTE:   When you reenter the U.S. be sure the correct status and expiration date are noted on your I-94.  If the date is ten days longer than the end date of your H petition, this is a grace period.  You cannot be employed during this time.

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