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Leaving the United States


Before you leave the United States, be sure to do the following:


Newly graduates smiling

  • Have your I-20 signed on page 3 by your international student advisor.  This signature will be valid for 9 months and for multiple entries into the United States.

  • Know when your visa expires. If your F-1 visa expires before you return to the United States, you must apply for a new visa at a United States consulate or embassy outside of the U.S.

  • Know the requirements for entering other countries. Each country has different regulations for citizens of different countries. Check to see if you can enter the country where you plan to travel and if you need a visa. You can apply for foreign visas in the United States through the consulate or embassy of your destination country.

If you return to the United States, you must present: 

  • I-20 signed on page 3 by a Cascadia international advisor

  • A valid F-1 visa (for travel to Canada or Mexico, see below)

  • A valid passport

  • Recommended: Proof of enrollment at Cascadia 



Travel to Canada or Mexico: Automatic Visa Revalidation

Visa image with stampsIf you have an expired F-1 visa and travel to Canada, Mexico, or certain Caribbean islands, you will not need to obtain a new visa before you reenter the United States if:   

  • You have a valid passport;

  • You have a valid I-20 with a travel signature;

  • Your trip is for less than 30 days.

 In these situations, your visa will be considered extended to the date of reentry. This procedure is known as “automatic visa revalidation.” If you are going to the Caribbean, please ask an international student advisor whether you need a new F-1 visa. Citizens of certain countries are not eligible for automatic visa revalidation. See your international student advisor for more details.


Vacation Quarter

 You are allowed to have one academic quarter off per year as vacation as long as:

  • You have maintained your status for at least 3 consecutive full-time quarters before your vacation quarter, and

  • You plan to return to Cascadia after the vacation quarter. 

There are exceptions to this rule. Contact an international student advisor to make sure you are eligible


Travel after You Complete your Studies

If you travel outside the United States after completing your studies, you may return to the United States in F-1 status if you have either of the following sets of documentation:

  • A new I-20 indicating a new program of study; a valid passport; a valid F-1 visa, and evidence of financial support, or

  • A new I-20 indicating optional practical training (OPT) and signed-for travel within the last 6 months; an Employment Authorization Document (EAD); proof that you are returning to the United States to resume employment; a valid passport; and a valid F-1 visa.

If you travel outside the United States during your grace period without a new I-20, you will not be able to reenter the United States.

Please contact us if you have any questions. We welcome inquiries in person, via email, mail, phone, and fax. International Programs Cascadia College 18345 Campus Way NE Bothell, WA 98011Email: international@cascadia.eduPhone: (425) 352-8415Fax: (425) 352-8304