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When Traveling and Re-entering the United States

Keep Documentation With You

To re-enter the United States, if you are applying for or have been granted post-completion Optional Practical Training (OPT), you must keep with you documentation of your current or prospective employer job offer. This includes:

  • Your unexpired Employment Authorization Document (EAD).
  • Your I-20 endorsed by Pacific's Designated School Official (DSO) within the preceding six months.
  • Your valid U.S. F-1 student passport and a valid visa stamp.

While the EAD is required for reentry to the United States, it is not sufficient by itself.

Reentering the United States While Completing Optional Practical Training

You cannot leave and reenter the United States before Optional Practical Training (OPT) begins unless you can show a written job offer. Once you begin OPT, you may leave and reenter the United States only if you resume work at the same job or if you can show a written offer for another job.

Traveling While Your Employment Authorization Document is Pending

Do not leave the U.S. and attempt to re-enter the country using a business or tourist B1 or B2 visa or the "visa waiver" program while your Employment Authorization Document (EAD) is pending. You will automatically lose your F-1 visa status upon entering the U.S. and forfeit your eligibility to work once your EAD is approved.

When You Graduate and Your Form I-20 and Visa Have Not Expired

If you graduate before your current I-20 and visa stamp expire, it is not possible to re-enter the United States using your I-20 and then apply for your Employment Authorization Document (EAD).

If you leave and attempt to re-enter the U.S. before your EAD is issued, the 60 day "grace period" is not valid for re-entry into the U.S. You should apply for your EAD and only travel after you have received it. Because many students apply for an interim EAD, it is not uncommon to re-enter the U.S. using the interim EAD.

Note: Your new SEVIS I-20 will reflect the correct date of conferral of your degree, along with the endorsement (one page 3) of your proposed period of Optional Practical Training (OPT).