Travel Information


Traveling after your initial entry to the U.S. requires you to be aware of the requirements for visa issuance as well as admission and inspection policies when arriving to the U.S. or traveling within the U.S.  While the U.S. Departments of State and Homeland Security are trying their best to minimize potential delays, it is important to remember that security measures have become stricter and tracking programs and electronic systems have been implemented.
 
 
INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL
 

Note that you should not travel overseas when a petition for change of status has been filed and is pending adjudication with USCIS. By traveling overseas, the change of status will be deemed abandoned. 
 
Additionally, nonimmigrants in H-1B, O-1, E-3, or TN status who are applying for an extension of status within the U.S. must be physically present in the U.S. on the date the petition for extension is filed with USCIS. Notify ISFS of your travel itinerary if you have plans to travel around the time an extension petition is being prepared.

 
Before You Leave the U.S.
  • If you are a J-1 Exchange Visitor (J-1 or J-2) located in Bryan/College Station, you must visit our office with your DS-2019(s) so that we may endorse the travel validation section of the form(s). Please email Virginie Blum at vblum@tamu.edu to schedule your travel signature appointment. 
  • If you are a J Exchange Visitor (J-1 or J-2) and you are located OUTSIDE Bryan/College Station, you must visit your departmental contact so they can arrange for the mailing of your DS-2019(s) to our office. Once we endorse your form for travel, we will mail it back to you at your own expense (we will email you instructions on how to create and pay your air bill). 
  • If you are an employee in H-1B, O-1, E-3, or TN status, you should make arrangements to pick up your I-797 approval notice.  If you have to apply for a visa you must pick up a copy of your petition. You should also carry a current letter from your employer confirming your continued employment.

WARNING:  Your H-1B will be terminated if you have applied for Permanent Residence and you intend to travel overseas and return using your Advance Parole document. Please contact us prior to traveling.
 
 
Renewing Your Visa Stamp at U.S. Consulates
If you require a visa in your passport in order to return to the U.S. you will need to obtain the visa stamp from a
U.S. consulate abroad.  We recommend that before traveling you visit the consulate or embassy website for information on application procedures and required documentation and processing times.
 
Delays may occur at U.S. consulates.  For this reason, we encourage you to make your visa appointment as soon as your itinerary is set.  Also, consider scheduling your visa appointment near the date of your arrival.  In the event of an administrative review, this may help minimize a possible delay in your return to the U.S. 
 
If your work is in the field of technology, engineering, or the sciences, you may be questioned closely by consular officers about the details of your job. As a result, there may be additional visa delays as consular officers seek security advisory opinions from other federal agencies. 
 
 
Arriving in the United States 
Upon arrival to the U.S., the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer will stamp your travel document with your admission date, the class of admission, and the date you are admitted until. Your entry is electronically recorded as well. You can retrieve your admission record, the I-94, on the 
CBP website. The I-94 also shows your date of admission, your visa classification, and your period of admission.  The notations on this document are very important as they are evidence of your admission to the U.S. and the date through which you are authorized to stay. If you enter the U.S. as a J-1, the period of admission should appear as “D/S” for “duration of status”. 
 
Be aware that federal regulations regarding passport validity at the time of admission to the U.S. require your passport to be valid for a minimum of six months beyond your authorized period of stay. If you are an H-1, E-3, TN, or O-1, your authorized period of stay will be stated on your I-797 Notice of Approval. If you are a J-1, your authorized period of stay is your program end date stated on your DS-2019. If your passport is not valid for this amount of time beyond your authorized stay, the admission officer will only give you lawful presence in the U.S. on your I-94 to match your passport validity period.
 
Upon your return, provide ISFS with a copy of your new I-94. If you are in H-1B, E-3, TN or O-1 status, you must return the original I-797 Approval Notice to ISFS (TAMU employees) or to your employer (employees of TAMU System members).
 
 
TRAVELING WITHIN THE UNITED STATES
 
Traveling within the U.S. also requires that you carry evidence of your legal status. Besides a valid passport, you must carry a valid I-94 which establishes your authorized period of stay in the U.S.  J-1 scholars must also carry their DS-2019s. In some instances you may find yourself in a situation whereby your previous status has expired but a timely extension or change of status has been filed with USCIS. In these instances, it is advisable to carry a copy of the Notice of Action (Form I-797C) evidencing such filed extension or change of status. Please contact our office to obtain a copy of the notice.  In addition, the employing department, as in the case of overseas travel, may want to provide a letter attesting to your current employment. Failure to carry these documents while traveling in the U.S. could result in serious consequences if you are asked by immigration enforcement officers (at, but not limited to, Border Patrol checkpoints) to produce evidence of your immigration status.    
 
 
AFTER-HOURS EMERGENCY CONTACT NUMBER
 
If you are a foreign national employee at one of the Texas A&M University System universities or agencies, you can have access to our emergency after-hours contact number. You may call this number if you experience immigration difficulties upon entering the U.S. outside of normal business hours, and you or the U.S. Custom and Border Protection officers need to contact us. This number is only for immigration emergencies and should not be used for any other purposes.
 
Before your trip, contact our office at 979-862-1719 or 
isfs@tamu.edu to receive the after-hours emergency phone number.