Travel Outside the USA
If you are traveling abroad, including short trips to Mexico and Canada, you must meet the entry requirements of the country you wish to visit as well as the U.S. regulations for re-entry.
Visas to Other Countries
US Citizen & Immigration Services (USCIS) requires current signatures on travel documents for trips outside the United States. If you are not sure your documents are current, please make an appointment with the International Student Advisor as soon as possible. Remember: If you are going to a country that requires pre-authorization for obtaining a visa, you should come to the International Center at least two months in advance. Please make arrangements early.
Re-entering the USA
For re-entry to the U.S. you must have a valid passport, a valid visa, proof of paying the SEVIS fee, and a valid I-20 or DS-2019 form with an advisor's signature not more than six months old. To reenter the USA after your Cal Poly program end date, you must apply for a new type of visa to enter the USA. U.S. visas are only issued at U.S. embassies or consulate offices outside of the USA. Citizens of some countries qualify for the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) but must pre-register online prior to travel on the ESTA page.
All F-1 and J-1 international students who wish to visit Canada & Mexico will need to meet specific entry requirements. Re-entry from Canada and Mexico is slightly different than re-entry from other countries.
Entry into Canada
All F-1 and J-1 international students who wish to visit Canada require Canadian visitor visas unless they are citizens of countries that are exempt from the Canadian non-immigrant visa requirements. The Canadian government (see address below) will issue a visitor visa to a student in the U.S. only when convinced that the student can be admitted to the United States. The Canadian government advises students that, at least three weeks in advance of their trip, they must submit to the appropriate Canadian Consulate the following:
- Completed visitor visa application (Form IMMI296)
- Required fee
- Valid passport
- Form I-94
- Two passport size photos
- Proof of adequate funds for the stay in Canada
- Current I-20 or DS-2019 properly endorsed by school official (signature dated within one year)
- A letter from the Cal Poly Records Office to verify status at Cal Poly may be required
These items should be sent by certified mail, along with a return self-addressed envelope and enough postage so the mail can be sent back to you by certified mail. It is advisable that students who wish to visit Canada telephone the Canadian Consulate General at (213) 687-7432.
Canadian Consulate General
300 South Grand Ave. Suite 1000
Los Angeles, CA 90071-3120
Entry into Mexico
Mexican diplomatic authorities in the U.S. have indicated that information regarding requirements for a visitor visa is too complex to be dealt with in a general manner. It is suggested that inquiry be made at the closest Mexican consulate, which is in Los Angeles.
2401 West 6th Street
Los Angeles, CA 90057
Telephone: (213) 351-6800