Travel and Re-entry

This is a brief checklist of documents you will need to reenter the U.S. in J-1 EV status:

  • Valid passport (valid for at least 6 months into the future)
  • Valid J-1 visa (unless exempt from visa requirement or eligible for automatic revalidation of visa after a trip of 30 days or less to Canada, Mexico, or adjacent islands)
  • Valid DS-2019, signed for re-entry by an International Student and Scholar Services (IFSS) advisor; the travel signature is valid for 12 months or the duration of your J-1 program, if shorter than 12 months
    To request a travel signature, go to iGlobal    –> J-1 Scholar Services –> Travel Signature & Reprint Request
  • Evidence of financial support and UCSC appointment letter
  • Proof SEVIS fee payment. If you need confirmation you have paid the SEVIS fee, visit I-901 Fee payment website, select Check Status

If your J-1 visa is no longer valid, apply for a new visa to a U.S. embassy or consulate outside the United States. Note: a J-1 visa will be annotated to show the program sponsor’s name, program number, program dates, and SEVIS record number of the individual. The exchange visitor may not use any single J visa for a program other than what is specified on the annotation, even if the J visa has not yet expired. An individual who transfers programs will need to apply for a new J visa if returning to the U.S. under the sponsorship of a new program.

Travel to Other Countries 

If you are traveling to a country that is not your home country, make sure that you are familiar with that country’s entry requirements. Before you leave, please contact the nearest consulate or embassy of the country you are about to visit for a visa and/or special requirements to enter that country.

Travel to Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and U.S. territories

Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and certain territories are considered part of the United States so a J nonimmigrant does not need a visa to travel to and return from these locations. It is recommended that you carry all documentation (passport, DS-2019, I-94) during your travel. Make sure your travel does not involve transit or short stays in another country for which a visa may be required to return to the U.S.

J-1 Scholar Continuing Program Out of Country

J-1 scholars who are traveling outside the U.S. for 30 days or less in agreement with the department do not need permission from the IFSS to travel.

J-1 scholars may be able to travel outside of the U.S. for more than 30 days, but must have special authorization in order to maintain active J-1 status during this time.  Maintaining J-1 status requires the following while you are outside of the U.S.: 

  • Continuation of authorized program activity (i.e. research or teaching)  
  • Maintenance of medical insurance
  • Maintenance of a current (last residential address in the U.S.) address. Updates of any address or telephone number must be submitted within 10 days of any change through the Update Personal Info (J-1 Scholar) form in iGlobal   
  • Updates to UCSC host department administrator on any changes in purpose, activities, or dates

Note: If you have a J-2 dependent, that dependent may not remain in the U.S. during your absence.  

Out-of-Country (30+ Days) Authorization Procedure 

  1. Go to iGlobal    –> J-1 Scholar Services –> Out of Country Status
  2. You must provide your exact dates of travel, location of program activity (usually a university or other research site), a detailed description of the program activity while you are outside the U.S., and your supervisor’s name and email address. 
  3. iGlobal will automatically send an email to your supervisor for approval of your Out of Country request
  4. When your request is approved by your supervisor and IFSS, you will receive an email confirming that your Out of Country authorization has been added to your SEVIS record. Please note that you will not receive a new Form DS-2019 for the Out of Country authorization. If you need a new travel signature for your trip, please make sure to request it in iGlobal (J-1 Scholar Services –> Travel Signature & Reprint Request)  

    Approval of the Out of Country request is at the discretion of IFSS. If the J-1 program activities are not maintained during the absence, IFSS will terminate the professor/research scholar’s immigration status. In this case, the visitor may not return to the U.S. in J-1 professor/research scholar status for 24 months.
Last modified: Jan 25, 2024