Travel


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Travel & Transportation 

If you plan on traveling 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. Please make copies of all your documents to keep in a safe place as original documents do sometimes get lost or stolen. Be prepared!

Local Travel

Bicycling at UC Riverside is safe and convenient with bike lanes, bike cages and a Cyclist Program. Riverside Transit Agency (RTA) provides free rides for UC Riverside students, while Metrolink offers transportation to five surrounding counties along a regional rail system. Taxi and shuttle services operate in and around the Riverside area. Information is available for students needing a Driver’s License and California Identification Card.  

Traveling Within the U.S.

Traveling within the United States does not require any additional documentation, and you will only need to present a valid government-issued ID to board planes, and occasionally cross state boundaries. However, as an international student, you should always carry your passport and immigration papers with you, especially if you drive near Mexican or Canadian borders. The US Department of Homeland Security has border patrol checkpoints on major highways that lead to Mexico and Canada and they may stop you to verify your current immigration status.

Traveling Outside the U.S.

If you are traveling from the US to another country, you should contact that country’s consulate in advance to find out what is required for entry. The agreements between your home country and other countries will vary, so it is important to find out in advance what will be required, especially as some may even require a tourist visa.

From countries other than Canada or Mexico

You will need:

  • A valid SEVIS I-20 or DS-2019 signed by an international student advisor. Signature must be less than a year old when you re-enter the U.S. We recommend that you get your I-20 or DS-2019 signed every 6 months.
  • A valid passport. Passport must be valid for six months after the date you re-enter the U.S.
  • A valid U.S. entry visa with unused entries. If your visa has expired or will expire during your trip, make sure you apply for a new visa in your home country, well before your trip
  • It is recommended to carry your I-901 SEVIS fee receipt with you as well.

Travel During Your OPT Period

Please contact an international student advisor before making any travel plans!

You will need:

  • A passport that is valid for six months after the date you re-enter the U.S.
  • A valid F-1 visa for re-entry. If your visa will be expired when you plan to return, you will need to make plans to renew your visa while you are abroad.
  • A valid signature from an international student advisor on Page 3 of your SEVIS I-20 or DS-2019. The signature must be less than five months old when you re-enter the U.S.
  • An OPT receipt notice (if you travel while your OPT application is pending)
  • An OPT Employment Authorization Card (if you travel when your OPT is approved)
  • A letter from your employer explaining that you are taking a short vacation and are expected to return to work.
  • It is recommended to carry your I-901 SEVIS fee receipt with you as well.

If you need a signature from an international student advisor, please contact us. Academic advisors and professors cannot sign these documents – it must be a designated international student advisor at the ISRC!

 

Applying for A New Visa and Renewing Your Passport

US entry visas are NOT given from inside the United States, so it is necessary to leave the country to apply for a new one. Oftentimes, students will apply for new entry visas from their local US embassies while visiting home. This is generally the easiest method. However, it may be possible to apply for a US entry visa in other countries while you are traveling.

If you will be traveling and need to apply for a new visa to re-enter the US, you will need to research the US embassies in that area to make sure they can process a request from citizens of your demographic, as well as the laws between your home country and the country you will be visiting that may affect your ability to apply for a visa, such as defining your trip as business or leisure. Access application and fee information here.

Bring the following when you apply:

  • Official UCR transcripts
  • Financial documentation that verifies the amount specified on your SEVIS I-20 or DS-2019. This can be an official bank letter from your sponsor or an original letter from your funding department. If your funding changed significantly, request an updated SEVIS I-20 or DS-2019 from the ISRC before you return home to apply for a new visa. See the SEVIS I-20/DS-2019 Request Form.
  • A valid I-20 or DS-2019 with a signature from an international student advisor. Signature must be less than 12 months old when you re-enter the U.S. We recommend that you get your I-20/DS-2019 signed every 6 months.
  • Check with the embassy or consulate to see if you need to bring additional materials.
  • It can take six to eight weeks (or longer) to get a new visa.

Due to California's proximity to the US/Mexico international border, some students choose to travel to Mexico to apply for a new US entry visa. While it is currently possible for to apply for new F-1 or J-1 visa stamps in Mexico, there are risks involved. It is possible to get stuck in Mexico for an extended period of time. Also, while many students enter Mexico as a tourist, you will be assumed to be "on business" if you apply for a new US entry visa there, which can affect your stay. (You will need to research the agreements between Mexico and your home country for further information.) Additionally, if your visa is denied for any reason, you will not be allowed to reenter the United States.

You must meet with an international student advisor at the International Students and Scholars office before making any plans to apply for a new visa in Mexico.

While you’re in the US, you can renew your passport at the embassy or consulate of your home country. Find consular offices in the U.S.

Additional Travel Resources 

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