Travel Guidelines

If you have an immigration emergency after hours, and need to reach us, please call the UAF Police Dispatch +1 907 474 7721. Explain your situation and that you need to get a message to Donna Anger.

Travel Information

  1. Make sure your document (I-20 or DS-2019) has a current UAF International Programs & Initiatives (IPI) travel authorization signature. The signature must be dated within 6 months of your anticipated re-entry into the U.S.
  2. Valid visa and passport:
  • Your passport must be valid for the duration of your stay in the U.S. If your passport will be expiring before your program completion, you should apply for a renewal so that you will be able to re-enter the U.S. and remain in status for the remainder of your stay. 
  • If your visa has expired, apply for and obtain a new visa to re-enter the U.S.
  • If your field of study or research is in a technology-related field, it may be requested that you provide additional information during your visa appointment.

Documents are signed for travel authorization on a “walk-in” basis. You do not need an appointment. When you come to the office, you will be asked to complete a form listing your U.S. departure, return dates, and destination city and country.

Check out the U.S. Customs and Border Protection informational website "Know Before You Go," to learn about the rules for bringing items into the United States from abroad.  Of particular importance are what types of food can be brought back, Prohibited and Restricted Items, General List of Approved Food and Plant Products, Import and Export Information and Traveler Alerts and Advisories regarding travel from rural areas.  Information about bringing money into or out of the U.S. and the required reporting for currency when entering.

Preview the International Travel Guidelines from the Office of Research Integrity regarding technology and export control requirements (PDF).

  1. Course registration for the next semester (you do not have to pay your UAF bill before leaving).
  2. Before you leave or before you return, register for the next semester and carry a copy of your course registration. You don't have to pay for the next semester, but you may need to show that you have registered for courses for the next semester.
  3. If you are on an assistantship, carry a copy of your current assistanship letter. If your assistanship will expire while you are gone and you will be funded for the next semester, ask the department for a short memo stating that "it is the intent of the department to fund you during the next semester";
  4. Unofficial transcript – you may print a copy from UAOnline
  5. Copy of your current assistantship letter (if you are receiving financial assistance from UAF) and/or
  6. If you are NOT receive UAF funding, have a copy of your financial documents to show that you can afford to continue to attend at UAF.

J-1 Exchange Visitor Status:

  1. Copy of your current UAF contract letter.
  2. Take a brief memo from your department stating that you are on official leave and are expected back on (date); or that you are attending a conference on behalf of the department and expected back on (date).

H-1B and O-1 Status:

  1. Copy of your current UAF contract letter.
  2. Obtain the original immigration form I-797 Approval Notice from International Programs and Iniatives. This must be returned to IPI after your return to UAF.
  3. Your copy of the application packet if you do not have a valid H-1B visa in your passport.

E-3 Status:
Remember to take your copy of the LCA and your current UAF contract letter.

TN Status:
Remember to take your copy of your current UAF contract letter and the I-797 if the status was gained by petition to USCIS. Check with IPI before traveling due to special documents that may be needed.

NOTE: If you have a pending change of status application filed with the Nebraska Service Center, leaving the U.S. before you receive the approval will be cause the application to be cancelled. Your application will be deemed to be abandoned.

If you need to apply for a visa and your field of study or research is in a technology-related area, please read the following. This applies especially to, but not limited to, visa applications submitted in India and China.

If you are involved in technical or scientific fields, your visa application may require administrative processing of approximately four to eight weeks. If you think this requirement will affect you, apply for your visa as early as possible , prepare for your visa interview well in advance and bring to your visa interview the following documents:

Invitation: An invitation letter from the sponsoring organization in the U.S. For graduate students, workers and exchange visitors, this letter should include your supervisor or advisor and details about your work.

Resume: A detailed resume/CV, including your professional and academic background, and a list of all your publications.

Itinerary: An itinerary of all locations you will visit in the U.S, including contact names, organizations, addresses, and telephone numbers.

Equipment: A complete description of any equipment you plan to purchase or examine, including the equipment's use and users.

Export License: An export license issued by the U.S. Government for the equipment you plan to purchase.

Research: A complete and detailed description of your current and past research, and any research you intend to conduct in the U.S, including a description of the practical applications of your research or study.

Purpose: A detailed statement of the purpose of your visit to the U.S.

Funding: Information on who is funding your trip.

Travelers: A list of all the travelers who will accompany you, including family members and colleagues.

Position: Your current job title and a full description of your work.


Further Instructions & Information:

  • All documentation must be in English
  • You should be ready to answer specific questions during the visa interview about your research plans in the U.S.
  • If you do not bring complete information to your visa interview, for example, an invitation letter,your resume and research summary, you may have your application delayed even further, or may be refused a visa and be required to apply again.
  • Processing of your application cannot begin until you have provided all the documentation requested at the time of the interview.

Information source:

U.S. Customs and Border Protection - returning to the U.S.

Before leaving the USCBP officer, check to be sure your passport was stamped and annotated correctly (immigration status and D/S for F-1 and J-1 students and J-1 scholars and all dependents; the authorization end date for those in H-1B status and their related dependents).  It is very difficult to have errors corrected after you leave the U.S. port of entry.  It is possible that you could be required to leave the U.S. and re-enter in the correct status before being able to resume your academic program or employment.

Special note for Canadians:  If you have a NEXUS card, do NOT use it.  You will not enter in the correct immigration status and will need to leave the U.S. and re-enter.  Also, do NOT use the NEXUS line, even if it is substantially shorter.  Again, you will not be granted the correct U.S. immigration status.

On your return to Fairbanks please provide UAF International Programs & Initiatives copies of:

  1. Digital I-94 Arrival/Departure record via
  2. The I-20 or DS2019 IF they were stamped by U.S. immigration officials;
  3. Your passport identification page IF you obtained a new passport;
  4. Passport page showing the arrival stamp;
  5. The visa page IF you obtained a new visa;
  6. H-1B's RETURN original immigration form I-797 Approval Notice;
  7. Update your Glacier with your travel dates.

Click this link to the Department of Homeland Security for the latest information on entering and leaving the United States.

Travel upon completion of your UAF sponsored program

J-1 exchange students may remain in the United States for a period of 30 days after their program completion end date; F-1 students for 60 days.   This is referred to as the grace period following program completion.  There is no grace period following conclusion of the H-1B or TN authorizations.   Individuals wishing to return to the U.S. after the authorized grace period or program completion may consider entry in the B-visa category or use of visa waiver if you are from a visa waiver eligible country.  

Entry into the U.S. in the B- visa category may be accomplished by obtaining the appropriate B- visa from U.S. embassies or consulates or under the visa waiver program. Information about the visa waiver program and a listing of participating countries may be obtained on the Travel Government website.

Individuals returning to the U.S. under provisions of the visa waiver for pleasure/tourism must pre-register via the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA), an automated system that assists in determining eligibility to travel to the United States under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP).  It is recommended that travelers register a minimum of 72 hours in advance of travel however it is possible to register any time prior to departure for the United States. Information is available on the ESTA website. ESTA factsheets are also available in 11 different languages.