International travel is in a fluid state, and new travel restrictions could arise at any moment. A signed I-20/DS-2019 is not required to depart the U.S.; however, international students and scholars who are reentering the U.S. must ensure they have a valid travel signature on their I-20. Only Designated School Officials (F-1)/ Responsible Officers (J-1) at the Office of International Services are permitted to sign the I-20 for travel.
The signature on page 2 of the I-20 is valid for 12 months.
If your re-entry date to the U.S. is within 12-months from the last signature, you will be eligible to re-enter on that I-20. However, if you re-enter after the 12-month period, then a new travel signature is required.
In response to COVID-19, the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) has allowed Designated School Officials (DSOs) to electronically sign and email Form I-20 to students. U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) and Department of State (DOS) have also recently confirmed they will accept electronically signed I-20s. IASS will re-issue the document and endorse it for travel with DocuSign.
Once this form is submitted, IASS will email the I20 in PDF to the student's UTRGV email account only within 3-5 business days.