Evidence of enrollment, appointment and/or employment at Dartmouth College
In addition to the required immigration documents listed below, we recommend that you carry evidence of your need to be on campus. This can include evidence of enrollment on campus for students (course schedules, unofficial transcripts), an appointment letter for researchers and visiting faculty, and an updated letter of employment verification for faculty and staff which can be obtained from Dartmouth's Office of Human Resources.
Make sure your passport is valid for at least six months beyond the expiration of your period of authorized stay in the U.S.
Valid visa stamp
Unless you are Canadian and visa-exempt, your visa stamp in your passport must be valid at the time of your planned reentry to the U.S. and must reflect your correct nonimmigrant visa status. If you have changed your immigration status since your last admission to the U.S., you will need to apply for a new visa stamp in order to reenter the country.
In August 2020, the U.S. Department of State announced that it would temporarily expand the ability of a consular officer to waive the in-person interview for visa renewal where the applicant was seeking a visa in the same visa classification and the prior stamp was not expired longer than 24 months. The policy is in effect until December 31, 2020.
Most U.S. Embassies and Consulates around the world closed at the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak. While many posts have reopened, they may have limited access and long wait times. To monitor post closings or limited hours of operation, please go to the U.S. Department of State website.
Valid Form I-20 (F-1 students) or Form DS-2019 (J-1 Exchange Visitors)
Check your form to make sure you will reenter before the program end date, and that you have a valid travel signature from OVIS. The travel signature for F-1 and J-1 visa holders is valid for 12 months, unless you are a graduated F-1 student on OPT, in which case your I-20 travel signature is valid for 6 months. To request a travel signature, see the instructions on the OVIS website.
Plan for possible visa issuance delays
The situation at the Embassies and Consulates is fluid. It is important to check the specific post where you plan to apply to see the status of current operations: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/us-visas/visa-information-resources/wait-times.htm. Be sure to check the website of the U.S. consulate or embassy for hours of operation, specific application procedures including required documentation, and processing times. For students, bring a copy of your transcript as proof of enrollment. Dartmouth employees can bring an updated employment verification letter issued by Human Resources and copies of your two most recent pay statements.
U.S. Consular Officers can require visa applications to undergo additional security clearances based on country of nationality, a name that is similar to a name on a government watch list, study, or works in a field involving sensitive technologies, or other reasons. If an application requires an additional clearance, it will be placed in "administrative processing" and the visa will not be issued until the process is complete, which can take several weeks or longer. For more information on administrative processing, visit https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/us-visas/visa-information-resources/administrative-processing-information.html
Admission at U.S. port of entry and automated Form I-94 record
For F-1 students with a previously terminated SEVIS record, expect to undergo additional screening at the Customs & Border Protection Agency's (CBP) secondary inspection so that your valid F-1 status can be verified in the SEVIS system.
If traveling by air, after you arrive in the U.S. with access to the internet and a printer, a copy of the I-94 record of arrival can be accessed on CBP's website. If there is an error in your I-94 record, contact OVIS for assistance in having it corrected.
If traveling by land crossing from Canada or Mexico, you must request a "new admission" if you want your entry recorded in the agency's electronic system. OVIS recommends the I-94 record be accessed and printed for every new arrival to the U.S. to ensure accuracy. If there is an error in your I-94 record, contact OVIS for assistance in having it corrected.
Visit the I-94 website at https://i94.cbp.dhs.gov/I94/#/recent-search.