Traveling on STEM OPT

While on STEM OPT, you are required to show your Employment Authorization Document (EAD) along with your other immigration documents (see list below) in order to re-enter the U.S. in F-1 status.  In many cases, students will also need to apply at a U.S. embassy or consulate for a new F-1 visa before returning to the U.S.  
If you need to leave the U.S. before you receive your EAD, speak with an ISSO adviser.
If your employer has filed for H-1B on your behalf, check with your employer about any travel plans as leaving the U.S. while an H-1B application is pending may jeopardize your application. 

Required documents to re-enter the U.S. while on STEM OPT Extension

  • Valid I-20 - Page two should list your employer's information and be signed by an ISSO adviser within the last six months.
  • Valid F-1 Visa - If your F-1 visa is expired, you must apply for a new one at a U.S. embassy or consulate prior to you return.  (Note: Canadian citizens do not need a visa.)
  • Valid Passport - The expiration date should be at least six months into the future at any given time.
  • Valid Employment Authorization Document (EAD)
  • Evidence of a job offer or resumption of employment.  If you are returning to the U.S without evidence of a job offer, you may be questioned at the port of entry.