Travel Outside the U.S. (Dependents)
Dependents of students and scholars can travel outside the U.S. independent of the principal visa holder. To travel dependents need a valid DS-2019 or I-20 that has been signed within the last 6 months by an OISS advisor, a valid passport and a J-2 or F-2 visa stamp. A valid visa stamp is not required if you are going to Canada , Mexico or contiguous territories for a period of less than 30 days. This is known as "automatic visa revalidation provision" . If you use this procedure, please do not surrender your I-94 card upon departure. Caution: citizens of Iraq , Iran , Syria , Libya , Sudan , North Korea and Cuba are not eligible to use this provision. In addition, "automatic visa revalidation" does not apply if you travel for example from Canada to Germany and return to the U.S. via Canada .
H-4 dependents do not need a travel signature from OISS. They should carry a valid passport with H-4 visa stamp, a copy of I-797 H-1B approval notice and a recent pay-stub or current letter of employment for H-1B principal holder. The "automatic visa revalidation provision" mentioned above applies to H-4 dependents traveling to Canada and Mexico only. H-4 dependents cannot use this provision to travel to contiguous territories.
Please keep in mind that you may need an entry visa to travel to other countries. Contact the consulate of the country you are planning to go to for the required entry documents.
Important : the dependent status relies on the principal visa holder to maintain his/her status and to be present in the U.S. If the principal (F-1, J-1, H-1B) decides to leave the U.S. for an extended period of time, the dependents should leave the country as well.