Getting ready to travel? Be sure to plan ahead!

Check out the topics below for more information about various types of international travel for visa-holding students. In this section, you'll also find information about how to request a graduation invitation letter for your family members' visitor visa application, as well as how to apply for a Massachusetts state ID card or driver's license. Have a travel question that isn't covered here? Contact us via email.

Our Mission

Working in collaboration with other resource centers and campus partners, the CISE aims to guide students as they learn about and question themselves, their environments, and how these interact in local and global contexts. In supporting international students, the CISE also assists in the navigation of immigration regulations related to study in the US, and maintains F-1 and J-1 visa holders’ immigration records.

Do you need a travel signature?

All F-1 and J-1 visa holders planning to travel abroad and request reentry to the US must have a valid travel signature (endorsement) on their I-20 or DS-2019 form.

In order for the signature to be considered "valid," it must be less than one year old at the time of your return. To request a travel signature, please follow the steps below.

Traveling abroad? Be sure to plan ahead!

If you are a current F-1 or J-1 student planning to travel abroad, be sure to carry the following documentation with you when you request reentry into the United States.

All F-1 and J-1 visa holders:
  • A valid passport, with at least 6 months of validity remaining
  • A valid F-1 or J-1 visa*
    • *Exception: If you are a Canadian citizen, you will not have a visa stamp in your passport.

Visitor Visas for Family Graduation Guests

International Seniors,

Many of you have family members who are starting to think about plans for visiting the United States to attend your graduation, possibly including the need to apply for visitor visas to enter the United States. At many US embassies and consulates abroad, applicants for visitor visas to attend graduation are recommended or required to submit a “letter of invitation" from the College, confirming the legitimate basis for the applicant’s visit to the US. These letters of invitation for the families of international students and international family members of domestic students are issued through the Center for International Student Engagement (CISE).

Once you have submitted the required information on the form below, we will prepare the necessary letter(s) and notify you by email when they are ready. The letters will be sent to you via campus mail. You may then send the letter(s) to your family member(s) for inclusion with the visa application.

Please note that the form provides space for the request of 5 letters. If you need more than 5 letters, please complete a second form.

You should allow at least one week for preparation of the letter(s).

If you have questions, please feel free to visit us during advising hours or email us.

Student Pronouns (as you would like for them to appear in the letter): *
Person(s) who will require a "letter of invitation" for US visitor visa application.

Enter the characters shown in the image or use the speaker icon to get an audio version.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) for New International Students

Below are some of the questions that new students most frequently ask. The answers have been provided by many Amherst community members such as current students, including the International Students Association.

Learn about how to apply for your F-1 or J-1 visa!

Applying for a US visa might seem like a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be! Explore the sections below to learn more about the process for F-1 (nonimmigrant student) and J-1 (exchange visitor) applicants. And when in doubt, please do not hesitate to contact the Center for International Student Engagement (CISE).


There are many ways to connect with the Center for International Student Engagement (CISE)!


Program inquiries:
Personal/immigration inquires:


Specialist/Main Office: 413-542-2612
Director: 413-542-5971

Social Media

Sign up for our listserv to receive information about programs and important reminders.