Get a travel signature


Step 1: Review your document

Check to see if you have a valid travel signature or need to get one. You should request a new travel signature if you plan to renew your visa, even if your current signature is still valid.

F-1 students: page 2 of your I-20

  • Current students: signature is valid for 1 year
  • OPT and STEM students: signature is valid for 6 months
I-20 Travel signature example

J-1 students: the bottom right section of your DS-2019

  • All J-1 students: signature is valid for 1 year
DS-2019 travel signature image


Step 2: Check your eligibility

Make sure you are eligible for a travel signature. If you meet the requirements below, go to Step 3. If not, contact ISS.

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F-1 students

  • You are enrolled full-time, or have an approved reduced course load from ISS
  • You are eligible to enroll next semester, unless you are completing your academic program this semester
  • You plan to enroll at UW-Madison next semester, or you plan to apply for post-completion OPT
  • You are in valid F-1 status
  • You are not in your 60 day grace period

F-1 students on OPT or STEM extension

J-1 students

  • Your DS-2019 program sponsor is UW-Madison
    • If you have a different program sponsor on page 1, section 2 of your DS-2019, contact that sponsor for a travel signature.
  • You are enrolled full-time, or have an approved reduced course load or post-completion Academic Training
  • You will enroll at UW-Madison next semester, or you will apply/have been approved for post-completion Academic Training
  • You are in valid J-1 status
  • You are not in your 30 day grace period

Step 3: Apply for a reprint of your I-20 or DS-2019 to receive a travel signature.

As ISS is currently closed, you must request a reprint of your document to receive a valid travel signature. Apply through Terra Dotta.

Express Travel Signature Events

There are no upcoming events at this time.


Students outside Madison

Review Steps 1 & 2 above to check your eligibility. Then read through this section to proceed according to your planned travel dates.

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Returning in less than 2 weeks

STEP 1: Review your document

You need to have a valid travel signature on your most recent I-20 or DS-2019. If you do not, continue to step 2.

STEP 2: Request a Form I-515A at the US immigration crossing

If you must reenter the U.S. in less than 1 week, respectfully request that the officer at the US immigration crossing allow you to enter with Form I-515A. This would give you a 30 day admission as an F-1 or J-1 student, and requires you to report to ISS within that time frame to secure the required travel signature. The U.S. border official has the discretion to grant or deny the Form I-515A.

To qualify for the Form I-515A, you must have a valid passport, valid F-1 or J-1 visa, and your I-20 or DS-2019. The officer may allow you to enter without your I-20 or DS-2019 at their discretion.

Returning more than 3 weeks into the future

STEP 1: Review your document

You need to have a valid travel signature on your most recent I-20 or DS-2019. If you do not, continue to step 2.

STEP 2: Submit a I-20/DS-2019 Reprint Request Form

Processing may take up to 15 business days.

STEP 3: Select your preferred mailing option

ISS will email you when your new document is ready. The email will include mailing options, or the option to authorize a friend to pick up your document. If you are outside the U.S., we recommend that you choose express shipping.

Remember, the U.S. government determines your eligibility to enter the US. Be prepared and have the required travel documents with you.