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Travel Information

International Student and Scholar Travel Information

Travel In the United States

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has the authority to set up checkpoints at airports, bus and train stations and detain individuals within 100 miles of a United States border or seacoast. International students traveling in the United States without proper travel documents have been fined and detained by CBP agents.  Remember that many large cities including New York, Washington DC, and Richmond fall within CBP's jurisdiction.  To avoid any problems with CBP, it is recommended that you bring your original I-20 or DS-2019, your passport, and visa with you when you travel outside of Farmville. 

Transportation to Richmond International Airport (RIC)

The Office of International Affairs provides free transportation from Richmond International Airport (RIC) at the beginning of each semester, and to RIC at the end of each semester.  Typically, transportation to and from RIC is provided over spring break as well.  To use this service, you must contact your DSO/ARO in advance so that your seat can be reserved.


International Travel and Return to the United States

You are responsible for ensuring that you keep your travel documents up to date.  Remember that you must keep a valid travel authorization signature from your DSO or ARO on page 3 of your I-20 or on the front page of your DS-2019.  Typically, the travel authorization signature is valid for one year if you are an F-1 visa international student, however, if you are participating in OPT, it must be signed every six months. For   J-1 visa international students and scholars, the travel validation section must be signed within six months.  You must also keep passport that is valid at least six months into the future during your tenure at Longwood.  An expired passport will prevent you from entering or reentering the United States. Before traveling internationally be sure the signature will be still be valid when you plan to return on the United States. If you need a new travel validation signature before you travel internationally, contact the Office of International Affairs preferably at least 2 days in advance to obtain the signature. It is also recommended that you carry proof of your registration status with you.  For more information please see the Travel and Re-Entry handout.


Special Information for F-1 Visa Students Engaging In Optional Practical Training (OPT)

An F-1 student may travel outside of the United States for a period of less than 5 months while engaging in OPT if they bring the following documentation:

  • Form I-20 signed for travel by the DSO within the preceding 6 months
  • An unexpired EAD card
  • A letter from an employer stating that you will be employed upon your return to the United States
  • Valid F-1 Visa (If your visa expired at the end of your degree program, you must renew your visa in your home country before you attempt to re-enter the United States!)

If you have received your EAD card and leave the United States before finding employment, then you cannot re-enter the United States until you have a written job or internship offer. You learn more about travel while on OPT on the Travel and Re-Entry on OPT handout.