Travel Guidance for International Students

Please note, this content may be outdated. Visit the International Center home page for updated announcements and links to current information.

The following guidance is for students who are planning or considering travel after the Winter Term ends.  Since you may also be deciding whether to obtain COVID-19 vaccination before you leave, or in your home country, please also review Getting the COVID-19 Vaccine for information about special vaccination opportunities for students and for some important reminders. 

When you return to the United States and to campus, you will be required to follow any CDC and U-M requirements for international travelers to campus that are in effect at that time.

As you plan for the Fall Term, remember that the U.S. government has not yet issued immigration guidance specifically for Fall Term 2021. Information on the International Center website is based on the most recent guidance from the U.S. government, but changes could occur. The International Center actively monitors communications from the U.S. government, and will post additional information as it becomes available. The University will continue to communicate information and resources related to COVID-19 on the Campus Maize and BluePrint website.

International Center contact information and office hours are posted on our website.. Also remember that the University of Michigan’s Division of Public Safety and Security is available to assist you in case of an emergency outside of IC business hours (for example, you have been in an accident or are being detained at the border).

If you are planning or considering travel, here are some scenarios to consider:

Scenarios and Considerations

Travel outside the United States

If you have already purchased a ticket for travel outside of the U.S.

  • Check to make sure that you are aware of any travel restrictions that could make it difficult for you to re-enter the U.S. We do not know when these travel restrictions will be lifted.
    • Note that since July 22, 2020, students from the Schengen countries, the United Kingdom, and Ireland have been able to enter the U.S. on F-1 visas in spite of the travel restrictions, but it is always possible that this could change.
  • Confirm that you have the documents you will need to re-enter the U.S. These include:
    • A valid passport and visa. 
      • If you need to renew your visa, note that consular officers can, at their discretion, waive the in-person interview requirement for people renewing a visa that has expired within the last 48 months, provided that the visa applicant meets certain criteria.
    • Your I-20 or DS-2019 with a travel signature. The signature can be no more than one year old when you return to the U.S.
  • Request a new travel signature from the International Center if you need one by choosing one of the following options. A contactless is option is available. For International Center and Student Activities Building (SAB) hours, see International Center Hours.
    • Submit an I-20 or DS-2019 travel signature request form at the International Center with all required attachments. You can use the drop box in front of the International Center to reduce contact with staff. You will be notified by email when your I-20 or DS-2019 has been signed and is ready to pick up.
    • Submit an I-20 replacement request using "travel" as the replacement reason. We will reprint your form, and you can arrange to have it shipped to you, or you can ask us to email you an electronic version of your signed document.
    • J-1 students and scholars can submit a DS-2019 replacement request. Due to State Department regulations, it is not possible to send an electronic copy of your DS-2019.
  • Follow U-M’s departure checklist, including departure COVID-19 testing.
  • Your country or airline may also have COVID-19 testing requirements.  University Health Service (UHS) has posted information about COVID-19 Testing for International Travelers.
  • Register your travel with the University of Michigan, including personal travel, at this website so we can contact you in the event of an emergency.
  • Carefully monitor the news and U-M resources to ensure that there have not been any changes that would make your return to the U.S. riskier.

If you have not purchased an airplane ticket

  • You may wish to purchase a fare that enables you to make changes or cancellations or that is refundable, if you choose to travel outside the U.S.
  • Make sure you are aware of the requirements for travel by reviewing the steps listed above under If you have already purchased a ticket for travel outside of the U.S.
  • Think carefully about when you plan to return to the United States. Given current travel restrictions, difficulties in obtaining visas (if you need a new visa) and the risks of travel during the pandemic, you may decide that now is not the best time to travel outside the U.S.
  • Students graduating at the end of the Winter Term 2021 should also be aware that they must be physically present in the U.S. in order to apply for Optional Practical Training. If you are not in the U.S., you cannot apply for OPT. J-1 students planning to apply for Academic Training (AT) should also plan to be in the U.S. when they apply for AT.

Whether you travel outside of the U.S. for personal or academic reasons

  • If you do leave the U.S., please register your travel here. If we need to get in contact with you, the University will use this registry to contact you.
  • Do not discard documentation related to your travel (itinerary, boarding passes, etc.) in case you need to show it to officials at a later date.
  • Confirm that your passport is stamped as you enter/depart from the U.S. and any other country you travel to.
  • Consult the IC travel webpage for additional considerations.


Travel Inside the United States, Including to U.S. territories


Whether you travel or remain in Ann Arbor, the International Center hopes you remain safe and healthy.


Last Updated: 04/16/2021