Can You Travel with a Student Visa?

For those with a student visa in the United States, vacation can be a conundrum. The rules surrounding travel can be confusing at best and making a mistake can lead to the revocation of the visa at worst. Keep reading to find out more about traveling on a student visa.

What Are Student Visas?

Student visas are migrant visas that allow foreign nationals to study in the United States at an approved college or university. Only full-time enrolled students accepted to colleges, seminaries, universities, conservatories, and high schools can qualify for a visa and they must be enrolled in a program that results in a degree, or certificate.

There are different kinds of student visas including:

  • Academic Student Visa: F-1 visas are for students seeking academic degrees. These visas must result in a degree
  • Vocational Student Visa: M-1 visas are for students attending trade schools or nonacademic programs. These degree programs must result in a certification, apprenticeship, or vocational license.

Academic students in particular have restrictions on when and where they can work during their period of study. For example, F-1 visa students cannot work off-campus except in rare cases. Vocational students can attend off-campus training but only if it is related to their degree program.

So, can a student travel off-campus even if they can’t do off-campus work?


Students with F-1 visas are allowed to travel within the U.S. and internationally as long as they comply with immigration regulations regarding travel. One of the most important rules has to do with the duration of the vacation.

Visa holders cannot leave the country for a significant amount of time – typically longer than six months. It’s also important for students to ensure that they are in good standing. There are expectations for student visa holders that include being in good academic and behavioral standing with their university. If a student is not in good standing or fails to renew or get permission to leave the country, they could be refused entry at the border.


Student visas give foreign nationals the opportunity to study in the United States, but it’s important to recognize that there are rules associated with visas. Students may travel outside of the country but must return within six months. Failure to follow the rules can have serious consequences.

Contact Sintsirmas & Mueller Co. L.P.A. for all your immigration needs.