Are you traveling internationally soon?

 If you plan to travel internationally and will re-enter the U.S. in your F-1 or J-1 status, please make sure your documents are ready for travel! Here’s a quick checklist to review before you go:

When you travel internationally you should carry with you (on your person, not in checked luggage):

  • Valid Passport (valid at least 6 months into the future)
  • Valid F-1 or J-1 visa stamp (may not be required for visits fewer than 30 days to Mexico, Canada or the contiguous islands. Please consult an OIS advisor if you are traveling to those locations with an expired visa.)
  •  *Most recent I-20 or DS-2019 signed for travel within 6 months of your return date.
    • Check for the signature date on the 2nd page of your I-20 or the box in the lower right-hand corner of the DS-2019.
    • I -20s must be in the new format (See Example)
  •  It is also recommended that you carry your funding documentation (bank statement, TA/RA contract, sponsor letter, etc.) and proof of enrollment at NC State.
  • Students on OPT need to carry the EAD card and job offer letter in addition to the documents listed above.

*If you need a new travel signature on your I-20 or DS-2019, please bring your document to the OIS front desk along with the travel endorsement form. You can drop the request off at your convenience, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m., Monday – Friday. It will take up to 5 business days to process your travel signature. We generally cannot do same day signatures, so please plan ahead.

** International Students are expected to be physically present in the US by the first day of classes for each semester. If travel or visa application delays will result in a late return to NC State (after the first day of classes), please review our webpage for additional information on documentation you need to carry and/or provide to OIS.

As always, talk to your OIS advisor if you have specific questions or concerns regarding travel. Have a safe and fun trip!

OIS Staff Spotlight

Dionna Wright – Graduate Assistant

New York

Tell us a little about yourself.
My name is Dionna Wright and I am originally from Lancaster, Pennsylvania; most known for its Amish population. I graduated from Millersville University in 2013 with a degree in Social Work. Upon graduation, I worked for two years in Greencastle, PA as a college adviser with the College Advising Corps. Finally,  I moved to Raleigh in 2015 to attend North Carolina State University, where I am currently a second year graduate student in the Higher Education Administration Program.

What do you do at OIS? What are your primary responsibilities?

I have been the graduate assistant for the Office of International Services since August, 2015. Some of my responsibilities are to process work authorization requests (OPT), initial DS-2019 requests for J-1 Scholars, scholar check-in presentations, and assisting advisors with any thing they may need.

What do you like to do in your free time?

In my free time, I really enjoy playing the guitar and writing poetry. Whenever it is a nice day out, you can catch me under a tree with my guitar and notebook. I also am a huge movie buff, particularly horror movies. I could watch a horror movie marathon all day long!

Where are a few places you have traveled?

I actually have not had the opportunity to travel outside of the country yet. But will be visiting London, Paris, and Amsterdam in May! Finally will be getting a stamp on my passport.

Lila Garcia – Graduate Assistant

Tell us a little about yourself

I was born in Nebraska but raised in Sanford, NC. I am Mexican-American and the eldest of my four siblings. I received my B.A. degree from UNC-Chapel Hill in 2014 where I majored in Psychology and Anthropology. I’ve always been interested in people of different cultural backgrounds and my desire to work with them led me to pursue a Master’s degree at NC State. I am now a first year graduate student in the Master of International Studies (MIS) program.

What do you do at OIS? What are your primary responsibilities?

I am a new graduate assistant at OIS. I assist the advisors with J-1 and F-1 processing. That includes initial DS-2019 requests, change of curriculum/level, employment etc. I started this position in August and I’m still learning the ropes. So far, everyone is very helpful and it has been a great learning opportunity!

What do you like to do in your free time?

I love to read and spend time with my friends. When the weather is nice, I love playing volleyball with my family. We’re a big volleyball family! If time permits, I love traveling to new places and getting to meet new people.

What are a few places you have traveled?

Every two years I go to Mexico to visit family. They are scattered throughout Mexico but concentrated in Campeche and Guanajuato.

Last summer I took a trip with some friends and went to Barcelona and Madrid. I fell in love with the people of Spain and their culture. It had always been a dream of mine to go to Spain and I loved it so much that I want to live there someday!

Tim Eggert – Programs Intern


Tell us a little about yourself.

I was born and raised in New York, but moved to the Raleigh area when I was about 13. Initially I missed the hustle and bustle of New York but I have grown to absolutely love everything about North Carolina! I graduated from Appalachian State, where I received a Bachelor’s in Marketing and International Business, as well as a minor in Spanish. During my undergrad I studied abroad in Seville, Spain for a semester and Madrid, Spain for a summer.

What do you do at OIS? What are your primary responsibilities?

I am the Cross-Cultural Programs Intern here at OIS. My main responsibilities are helping the Programming Office plan, manage, and execute different events and programs for the students. Having worked and studied abroad I not only understand the difficulties faced by international students, but how important it can be for personal and professional development. Knowing that, I was so enthusiastic by the opportunity to be working with international students in any capacity. I just started in August and I already love working with such an amazing team and being able to be manage exciting events for students!  

What do you like to do in your free time?

As a graduate student I sadly do not have a huge amount of time but when I do I like to:

  • Netflix (Stranger Things was my jam!)
  • Exercise
  • Hike/do anything outside
  • Read
  • Play tennis and racquetball

Where are a few places you have traveled?

I have been lucky enough to travel quite a bit in Spain, with my favorite city being Granada. I have also had the opportunity to travel throughout Europe including Austria, England, Ireland, Hungary, Germany, Denmark, France, Portugal, Italy and even outside Europe to Morocco! At this point I really need to stop going to Spain and visit some other continents next I think.


J-1 Health Insurance Requirements

All J-1 students, scholars, and student interns and their accompanying J-2 dependents are required by the immigration regulations to maintain certain minimum levels of health insurance coverage for the duration of their program dates as noted on their DS-2019 immigration form.  For information on specific coverage requirements, please visit the OIS health insurance webpage.  As a reminder, OIS checks health insurance periodically and requires documentation of acceptable coverage in order to process requests such as program extensions, travel endorsements, and other immigration benefits.

In some cases J-1 students or scholars on NC State’s health insurance plan will not have an active health insurance policy until the start of the month following their arrival date. In these situations the J-1 visa holder must provide their own short-term health insurance that meets the health insurance requirements to cover the gap in NC State health insurance coverage for themselves and any dependents on J-2 visas.

It is required by law to maintain adequate health insurance coverage for the duration of the DS-2019. Finally, OIS is required to terminate the J-1 program of any J-1 who fails to maintain continuous coverage for themselves and any J-2 dependents so J-1 students, scholars, and student interns should take care to ensure continuous coverage.