Wayne State University

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Travel Information

OISS strongly advises you to consult with an OISS advisor prior to making any travel arrangements.

Please click this link to obtain current travel warnings before you travel abroad.

Many people think that their passport and visa documents are only needed when traveling abroad. WRONG! If you are planning a trip within the United States to cities near or far, it is important that you carry your passport and immigration documents with you. Since September 11, 2001, there has been heightened security not only at border crossings, but also at bus terminals, train stations, and airports throughout the United States. You never know when you will be stopped by an authorized government agent and questioned randomly. Therefore, we urge you to carry your immigration documents along with a WSU ID with you for all travel outside Detroit. While in Detroit, please at least carry copies of your immigration documents.

Under certain circumstances, nonimmigrants with expired visas are allowed to return to the U.S. in the same status in which they departed, to continue their previously approved activities without having to obtain new visas, within a 30-day or less visit to these countries. This is known as automatic extension of visa validity. For J exchange visitors, this benefit also extends to adjacent islands other than Cuba.

Please note that you might need to obtain an entry visa to enter these countries.

J-1 exchange visitors need the following documents to re-enter the United States:

  • Valid Form DS-2019 (J-1 & J-2) endorsed for re-entry by OISS;
  • Valid passport; and
  • Valid I-94 card

H-1B or O-1 Workers need the following documents:

  • Valid passport;
  • Valid I-94 card; and
  • Original I-797 Approval Notice

* Please note that if you are a citizen of Iraq, Iran, Syria, Libya, Sudan, North Korea, or Cuba, you will always need a valid visa to re-enter the U.S.

** Under the new rule, any nonimmigrant who chooses to apply for a new visa while in contiguous territory will no longer be eligible for the "automatic revalidation" benefit during the course of that trip, but would rather have to wait until the visa is granted in order to re-enter the United States. This would seem clearly to prevent someone whose visa application is denied from then reentering the U.S. under the automatic revalidation provision, but the broad language could also be read to prevent individuals whose visa application is still pending from using the automatic revalidation provision to reenter the U.S. before the visa application is decided.

TRAVEL ABROAD (including visiting Canada or Mexico for more than 30 days)
Whether or not to travel abroad is a personal decision. Scholars whose U.S. visas have expired will need to apply for new U.S. entry visas to return. You should anticipate longer waiting periods to obtain visas, closer scrutiny of your visa documents, in-person interviews, and possible security clearance delays. We urge you to check with the U.S. consulate or embassy where you will apply for the visa, or its website (http://www.travel.state.gov/visa/visa_1750.html) before leaving the U.S. to determine that particular post's policies and procedures as it changes frequently. Please allow yourself ample time for applying for new visas.

J-1 exchange visitors need the following documents to re-enter the United States:

  • Valid Form DS-2019 (J-1 & J-2) endorsed for re-entry by OISS;
  • Valid passport;
  • Valid J-1 visa; and
  • Letter from supervisor verifying continued employment/sponsorship

H-1B or O-1 Workers need the following documents:

  • Valid passport;
  • Valid H-1B or O-1 visa;
  • Original I-797 Approval Notice;
  • Copy of I-129 petition;
  • 2-3 most recent pay stubs; and
  • Letter from supervisor confirming continued employment

Travel and H-1B portability
Under certain circumstances, a foreign national holding H-1B status in the U.S., on whose behalf a new employer (i.e. Wayne State University) has properly filed an H-1B petition under the H-1B Portability provisions, may travel abroad and apply for re-admission to the U.S.

Note: OISS does not recommend you travel until the H-1B portability petition by WSU is actually approved by USCIS since you may encounter an immigration official who is not familiar with this rule.

You should have in your possession the following documents when returning to the U.S. from international travel (including to Canada or Mexico):

  • Passport valid for more than 6 months from the date of intended return;
  • Valid H-1B visa obtained at a U.S. consulate overseas (presumably annotated with the name of a previous H-1B employer);
  • Original I-797 Approval Notice for the previous H-1B employer;
  • Original I-797 Receipt Notice issued to WSU that filed the H-1B portability petition;
  • Proof of your employment with WSU, such as recently issued pay stubs and/or a recent letter from your supervisor confirming your employment;
  • Photocopy of your I-94 issued at the time of your last entry; and
  • Photocopy of WSU's H-1B portability petition filed with the USCIS, which includes the Labor Condition Application.

* Note for scholars with more than one employer -- please note that the back of your I-94 card must list all of your employers, not only one.  Thus, when you travel, please be sure to present all relevant documents from all of your employers so that an immigration officer will be fully aware of the scope of your stay in the U.S.  For example, an H-1B employee working for two H-1B employers (with two separate H-1B approval notices) must be cautious and present both H-1B approval notices for an immigration inspection at a port of entry.  And he/she must make sure that the names of both H-1B employers are noted (by an immigration officer) on the back of the I-94 card.  If not, you may lose an eligibility to work for one of the H-1B employers after returning to the U.S. from an international trip.   

Immigration policies and visa policies are changing at a rapid pace, so please continue to read the OISS Newsletter and visit our website (www.oiss.wayne.edu) while you travel to keep yourself informed of new updates.

Updated July 22, 2009