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The International Students & Scholars Office (ISSO) is dedicated to the university's commitment to global engagement and inclusion. UMass Lowell and the city of Lowell continue to be welcoming and diverse communities, respectful of all cultures.

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  • Travel outside of the U.S. for non-U.S. passport holders from the following countries is not advised, (Chad, Cuba, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Syria and Venezuela, Yemen). Travel to Cuba for U.S. citizens and permanent residents should be organized by a tour group authorized by the U.S. Treasury. Consult with an immigration attorney before any departure from the U.S. For Legal Resources visit our Know Your Rights webpage

    View other NAFSA Executive Order Resources.

    View June 26, 2018 Travel Ban Updates.

You should have a discussion/obtain approval from the International Students & Scholars Office (ISSO) PRIOR to travel in order to avoid complications.

You will need to visit the ISSO Office during Advising Hours to receive a travel signature and speak with an advisor regarding your travel plans. Updated Advising Hours can be found on our Advising hours page.

Do you need a travel signature?

Travel signatures are found on page 2 of your Form I-20, or page 1 of your Form DS-2019. Travel signatures are valid for 1 year unless otherwise noted on your visa document*, and can be used for multiple trips outside of the US within that 1 year period. You do not need a travel signature unless it has been over a year since your last travel signature AND you plan to travel outside of the U.S.

*Travel signatures for F-1 students on Post-Completion OPT and STEM Extension of OPT are valid for 6 months

Students are recommended to access their I-94 card after each entry into the United States.

This is to make sure your I-94 reflects the correct "Class of Admission" (F-1 or J-1), and that the "Admit Until Date" reflects D/S (Duration of Status). If you have issues accessing your I-94 card, or you find a mistake on your I-94 card, please contact the ISSO at This may prevent the processing of future Applications like Applying for a Social Security Card, CPT, OPT, etc.  Instructions on how to access your I-94 card are available via the ISSO website.


If you are traveling within the United States only, makes sure to carry your original passport and visa document (i.e. Form I-20, Form DS-2019, Form I-797, Employment Authorization Card, etc.) If you are travelling far away from home or by bus, train, airplane. For local travel/close to home, simply carry pdf copies of above documentation on your cell phone.


Visiting Puerto Rico, US Virgin Islands or the Northern Mariana Islands: no valid visa is needed. You will need to bring your Form I-20 and an unexpired Form I-94, passport and visa.

Visa Stamp Renewal - Check Your Passport

If the visa stamp in your passport which correlates to your current legal status in the U.S. (F-1, J-1, H-1, O-1, TN, etc.) is expired and you are traveling outside the U.S., you will be required to visit a U.S. Embassy or Consulate to obtain a renewal of the same visa status before being permitted to return to the U.S.

If you have changed your status while in the U.S. and are now legally holding a different status than the visa stamp last recorded in your passport, you will need to apply for the new visa category at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate overseas before returning to the U.S.

Administrative processing (security clearance check) is applied to international students and scholars from certain countries and/or from certain fields (usually STEM fields). Here is some information on Administrative Processing. Anyone who is subjected to Administrative Processing will face long delays of 3+ weeks when obtaining a visa. For this reason, it is recommended that you travel during the summer vacation period should you need to obtain a visa renewal and risk being processed for a security clearance.

Students holding an on-campus job, especially if the job is a Teaching or Research Assistantship, must inform and obtain approval from their on-campus employer(s) of the possible delays in returning. International Scholars must inform their UMass Lowell supervisor of their planned absence as well.

It is helpful to have certain documents ready when applying for a new visa or visa renewal if you are from a country which may undergo additional screening, or if you are in a STEM field. Most STEM fields are listed in the government’s Technology Alert List (TAL).

The following is meant to help you be prepared in case you are asked to present additional documentation. Do not, however, present it unless you are asked to do so. Some people may be asked to present some or all of the following:

Current Students or Visiting Scholars who will need to apply for a new visa stamp or to extend their visa stamp while traveling overseas must also be prepared with above-mentioned as well as other relevant information listed below.

  • Resume, when applicable, should include a list of publications (this is required of all graduate students and visiting international faculty/staff/research scholars)
  • Research/Study Plan/Job Description of an International Faculty/Staff or Research Scholar detailing your planned or current studies and research while in the U.S. It should include the name and email address of your advising professor and/or the department chair/supervisor for those who are international staff.
  • Your Official Transcript, which may be obtained from the Solution Center
  • Information on your Academic Advisor. Students who have been issued a Teaching Assistantship and, more importantly, a Research Assistantship should print their Advisor’s biography web page or request their Curriculum Vitae to be presented at the U.S. Embassy. For those that are international faculty/staff/ research scholars, you may need to present your supervisor’s resume.