Travel During OPT
F-1 students are allowed to travel after applying for OPT, but you must show specific documentation upon re-entry to the United States that you are returning to the US to continue work or begin work. Remember that entry into the USA is never guaranteed.
Travel on OPT can be riskier for some students, as the documentation you must show is more clearly defined. We recommend visiting with an OIE advisor before any travel outside of the USA after your program end date, while OPT is processing and while on OPT. In general, you will need to show the following documents upon re-entry to the US at the Port of Entry:
- Approved EAD Card or Receipt Notice from USCIS to show you have an OPT application pending
- Proof of employment or job offer letter
- A valid F-1 visa stamp (if your visa is expired, consult the OIE before travel)
- Passport (valid for six months beyond your date of entry to the US)
- Form I-20 signed within 6 months of your re-entry date
Time spent outside the United States will count as unemployment against the 90/120-day limits. If you travel while employed but your absence is authorized by your employer or is necessary for your job, the time spent outside the United States will not count as unemployment.
If you have applied for a 17-month OPT STEM extension, and your current EAD card has expired, you cannot travel outside the United States, even if employed, until the new EAD card is received.
Last modified October 02 2015 10:16 AM