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F-1 students and J-1 exchange visitors (students and scholars) need to show a valid travel signature on their Form I-20 or Form DS-2019 when returning to the US after a short trip abroad. For more information about travel, consult our Travel Resources page.

  • Signatures are generally valid for up to one year or until the I-20 or DS-2019 expiration date, whichever comes first
  • Travel signatures for F-1 students on post-completion Optional Practical Training and STEM OPT is six months
  • Travel signatures are not required to depart the US; signatures are needed only upon re-entry to the US to continue studies and related academic activities

You do not qualify for a travel signature on your I-20 or DS-2019 if you are in one of the following situations: (1) taking a leave of absence from school; (2) withdrawing from your Tufts program; (3) transferring to another school; or (4) in violation of F-1 or J-1 regulations. If any of these situations apply to you, talk to your International Center advisor.

Please note that during the COVID-19 pandemic, University COVID-19 policy generally prohibits any school-related international or domestic travel. Even if the travel is not related to school business, note that there are significant international travel restrictions in place that may prevent you from returning to the US. Please talk to an International Center advisor before making any specific travel plans, especially if your plans includes international destinations.

Requesting a Travel Signature

Effective immediately, the International Center has transitioned to an on-line system for requesting travel signatures. Please bear with us as these measures have been taken place to promote physical distancing and to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19 to our staff and to you. With our new on-line system, we will no longer offer same-day, walk-in service for providing travel signatures. If any changes to this policy are made, we will make announcements to the international community. Please plan ahead - it may take 1 to 2 weeks to return a travel signature to you

Step 1a (for students): Submit a travel signature request by accessing your International Center Portal, navigating to the Request Center, and clicking on "Travel Signature Request."

Step 1b (for scholars, employees, and interns): Submit a J-1 Scholar Travel Signature Request

Step 2: Once your request is received, an International Center advisor will review the request. It will ordinarily take 3 - 5 business days to process a travel signature request.

Step 3: Once the request has been processed, an updated I-20 or DS-2019 form with a travel signature will be delivered to you using one of these means:

    • By campus mail or US mail to your US residential address
    • By e-mail (electronic copies will be offered only during the COVID-19 pandemic; the International Center recommends an original copy if you will need to apply for a new visa before returning to the US)

You will also be given the option to submit a pre-paid USPS priority mail stamp (you will be given instructions for requesting express mail delivery) or request express mail (e.g., Federal Express, UPS) using e-Ship Global.