When you are traveling internationally and need to re-enter the country, there are several documents you will need and specific procedures you should follow. You should consider the following before any international travel:
Is my passport valid?
Your passport must be valid at least six months into the future to enter the U.S. If you plan to renew your passport at home please check renewal times before you travel so that your return to the U.S. will not be delayed.
Do I have the appropriate visa for my J-1 status?
If you have changed your status to J-1 while in the U.S. you will need a new visa to re-enter. If you re-enter in your old status, the J-1 status you have obtained through a change of status in the U.S. will be cancelled.
Is my J-1 visa valid for re-entry to the U.S.?
Your J-1 visa stamp must be valid to re-enter the country. You must consider the expiration date of the visa and the number of entries you have remaining on your visa. The letter “M” indicates multiple entries that are not limited. Some visas have a number for entries.
If you still have a valid, unexpired J-1 visa stamp for your current J-1 program in an expired passport, you may continue to use the visa. To do so, you will need to carry both your expired and unexpired passport AND you have to ensure that the visa is physically intact (i.e. does not have any cuts or holes in it, even if the passport does have cuts or holes).
If your J-1 visa stamp has expired, you will need to apply for–and be granted–a new visa by a U.S. Embassy or Consulate before you are eligible to re-enter the U.S. It is not possible to “renew” a visa while you are in the U.S.
Do I need a travel signature on my DS-2019?
J-1 scholars and J-2 dependents need a travel signature from CIE on their DS-2019(s) for re-entry to the U.S. Plan to have your original and most recent DS-2019(s) signed by a Responsible Officer at CIE at least one week before travel. Bring your original DS-2019 to the CIE Main Office (Garland 138, M-F 10am-4pm) for a travel signature.
Do I need to do anything upon my return?
Upon your return to the U.S., please provide copies of the following to CIE: