J-1 Exchange Visitors

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Traveling Abroad and Re-Entering the U.S.

If an exchange visitor wishes to travel to his/her home country from the United States, a valid passport will ensure that he/she will be admitted without a problem. Exchange visitors who want to travel to countries other than their home country should contact the consulate or embassy of the country to be visited for information on what documents will be needed for entry.

Whenever an exchange visitor plans to travel outside of the United States, he/she should make arrangements for the Responsible Officer to sign his/her Form DS 2019 for travel purposes. This signature, which in the case of research scholars, is valid for one year, verifies that the exchange visitor is in good standing.

To re-enter the United States in exchange visitor status after traveling abroad, the following documents are required:

  • A valid, unexpired passport
  • A valid, unexpired visa
  • A valid Form DS-2019 signed by the Responsible Officer in the "travel validation" section

If the exchange visitor's J-1 visa has expired, it will be necessary for him/her to obtain a new visa in order to reenter the United States. As long as the visitor's form DS-2019 is valid and endorsed for travel by the J-1 Responsible Officer, he/she should be able to obtain a new visa by presenting the current DS-2019 at a U.S. consulate or embassy.

Exchange visitors who have an expired visa stamp in their passport and travel to Canada, Mexico or islands adjacent to the United States (Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Bermuda, Bahamas, etc.) for no longer than 30 days are exempted from the requirement to renew the visa. The “automatic visa revalidation” procedure allows exchange visitors to re-enter the United States with an expired visa stamp under these circumstances.