Physical office is open Monday - Friday, 8am-12pm and 1pm-5pm. Staff rotates in-person schedules and can be contacted through email and Zoom. Zoom advising appointments are available.

UCR March 2020 Drone Image


Traveling For International Students

Riverside is a city in Riverside County, California, United States. It is part of the Greater Los Angeles area. It is located approximately 60 miles (97 km) east of Los Angeles. Named for our location beside the Santa Ana River, we are one of the largest cities in Inland Southern California.

Due to both our size and location, we have all the amenities of a larger city with convenient access to camping and hiking as well. We have two international airports within driving distance, the smaller, but closer, Ontario International Airport, and our primary flight hub, Los Angeles International Airport.

We say, “Riverside is where the desert meets the mountains.” We are close to hiking trails, nature preserves, and national parks where you can enjoy year-round warm weather, abundant sunshine, and natural beauty. You can also go skiing after a short drive into the mountains.
  • Traveling Within the U.S

    Even when traveling within the U.S. we recommend that you carry valid travel documents with you during your travels. You may be asked to present immigration and travel documents at airports, train stations, and at border checkpoints including the US- Mexico and US- Canada border to verify your immigration status. Please review the Center for Disease Control's guidelines for traveling within the United States during the COVID-19 pandemic

  • Recommended Travel Documents (even within the U.S.)
  • Traveling Outside the U.S

    If you plan on traveling internationally while at UCR, be sure to plan ahead. To enter into new countries or to re-enter the US, you will be required to show specific documents.

    The decision to travel during the COVID-19 pandemic is a difficult one. If you do decide to travel, please be aware that there can be changing rules and restrictions before, after and during travel. There may be times when you find yourself unable to travel abroad or return to the United States. We recommend delaying all non-essential travel. 

    During the COVID-19 pandemic: 

    • Traveling outside of the United States? 
      • Check with the embassy or consulate of the country that you plan to visit to learn about any travel restrictions or requirements.
      • Be aware of any travel restrictions you may face upon your return to the United States. 
      • Review the U.S. Center for Disease Control (CDC) website for travel information.
    • F-1 students with Form I-20 are permitted to travel and apply for a visa with an I-20 that has been signed electronically by a Designated School Official (DSO). UCR is signing all I-20's electronically.
    • J students with Form DS-2019 are required to travel with a DS-2019 that has an original wet signature by an authorized Alternate/Responsible Officer (ARO). Electronically signed DS-2019's are not accepted. 

    For detailed information regarding traveling,

    U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Travel FAQs


  • Required Documents for re-entry to the U.S

    Required Documents for re-entry to the U.S

    • Valid Passport (with at least 6 months validity upon return to the United States)
    •  Valid F-1/J-1 Visa stamp (except for students from Canada)
    • Form I-20 or DS-2019 with valid travel signature from the ISS office (The signature is valid for 12 months; however, we highly recommend that you obtain a signature every 6 months).
      • An electronically signed I-20 is valid for travel and visa appointments.
      • A DS-2019 with an original wet signature is required for travel
    • Check the CDC website and the DHS fact sheet (land ports of entry and ferry terminals) for updated guidance on travel to and from the United States.
    • Proof of approved vaccinations are required for all travelers to the United States at air, land and ferry ports of entry (with limited exceptions). Testing is required no more than 1 day before air travel to the United States. 

    • Check with your airline or arrival airport for any restrictions or requirements that may be in place before returning to the U.S.

    • Let your department and the ISS office know if you are planning to travel. 

    • Supporting Documents:
      • Financial Support documents
      • SEVIS I-901 fee receipt
      • UCR Acceptance Letter (for new students)
      • UCR transcript or proof of course enrollment (for current students)


    For OPT/STEM OPT Students:
    • Valid F-1 Visa stamp (except for students from Canada)
    • Form I-20 with valid travel signature from the ISS office (Signature is valid for six months while on OPT)
    • Valid Employment Authorization Document (EAD) card
    • Employment offer letter or proof of employment

    Note: Traveling internationally while your OPT application is pending is not recommended.
    Please contact the ISS office to speak with an International Student Advisor.

  • Requesting a Travel Signature
    • Complete a Document Request Form
    • Drop off at ISS office in person or Email the form to
      • Processing Time (5-7 business days; business days are Monday - Friday)
    • A travel signature is not required to leave the United States, but it is required in order to return to the U.S.
  • After you return to the United States

    Please visit the I-94 Website upon your return to print out and review the information on your updated I-94 card.

  • Special Cases [Automatic Revalidation/Secondary Inspection/Additional Questioning]

    Automatic Revalidation

    F and J student traveling to Canada, Mexico or an adjacent island (expect Cuba) for 30 days or less may be eligible to renter the U.S. with a valid I-94 and expired via. Please review the automatic revalidation information from Customs and Border Protection (CBP) or speak with an ISS advisor for further information.

    Secondary Inspection/Additional Questioning

    If a CBP officer cannot verify your documents or has additional questions, you may be asked to go to an area called secondary inspection. At secondary inspection, you will be asked additional questions to verify your immigration status or other information.

    Security Clearances

    You may be subject to certain clearances before a visa is issued. This is often referred to as administrative processing. A consular officer may decide that they need more information before approving and issuing a visa. This could be due to a number of different reasons, including  field of study/research, travel history and more.  Students in the STEM fields are often subject to administrative processing before a visa can be issued. This process takes time (sometimes up to three months or more), so it is important to plan ahead before you travel if you need to apply for a visa. Consult with your department and an ISS advisor before travel.

  • Travel Tips
    • Learn about your rights - ACLU, Know your Rights
    • Prepare for questions/searches on Electronic Devices & Social Media - CBP officers may conduct searches on your electronic devices or ask you questions regarding your social media accounts. To learn more, please refer to ACLU’s article.


    For Detailed Information Regarding Traveling


    Contact Information for ISS Office

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