Traveling Outside and Re-entering the United States

Things to consider before traveling abroad:

Visa Requirements

Many countries require visitors to obtain visas before they enter the country. A visa however, is not a guarantee of entry as the immigration official at arrival has the right to refuse entry. Visas are issued by consular offices of a government. A processing fee is usually required when you apply for a visa.

If your U.S. visa has expired, and you want to visit Canada, Mexico or other adjacent islands except Cuba, please read the Automatic Extension Visa Validity Law.  Further information about the regulation can also be found at the U.S. Department of State.


  1. Automatic Revalidation does not apply to students from states that sponsor terrorism (Cuba, Iran, Syria, and Sudan).
  2. Automatic Revalidation also does not apply if any student has applied for a non-immigrant visa in Canada, Mexico or adjacent islands during their trip.  

If you are traveling to:

Criminal Record

Many countries require documentation of a clean criminal record before you are allowed to enter the country. You can obtain your United States criminal record by visiting the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension office in dowtown St. Paul. More information can be find at their website.

Travel Advisories

Read the travel advisories issued by the U.S. State Department

Helpful Travel Links

Re-entry to the United States:

Documents you should bring along when you travel overseas as a student at Macalester:

  • A valid passport at the time of re-entering the United States – Renew your passport through your consulate or embassy if needed (U.S. law requires passports from many countries to be renewed 6 months before the expiration date).
  • A valid U.S. visa at the time of re-entering the United States
    • If you are returning from Canada or Mexico, you are allowed to reenter the United States with an expired visa provided that 1) your absence did not exceed 30 days 2) you are not a citizen of Iraq, Iran, Syria, Libya, Sudan, North Korea and Cuba.
  • A valid I-20 with a signature of Aaron Colhapp, ISP Director, Luyen Phan, ISP Assistant Director, or Bruce Gawtry, ISP Immigration Specialist. If you leave for longer than 5 months and do not continue enrollment at Macalester (with a leave of absence), you must have a new I-20 issued in order to re-enter

Recommended documentation:

  • Letter of good academic standing
  • Financial support letters
  • Transcript