For Initial Entry into the U.S.

These documents are needed to enter the U.S. to begin J-1 status:

Out of Country Request

J-1 exchange visitors may occasionally leave the U.S. for short periods of 30 days or less for a variety of personal or business reasons. J-1 scholars may be absent from the U.S. for more than 30 days only if that absence is consistent with the purpose and goals of the exchange visitor’s J-1 program. (There is no such limitation for J-2 dependents.) Where the exchange visitor will be performing international remote work approved by the UW Tax Office, or will be on a protected leave approved by the Office of Academic Personnel, International Scholars Operations (ISO) may enter an Out of Country notation in their SEVIS record to facilitate return to the U.S. ISO must approve a J-1 Out of Country Request before the exchange visitor leaves the U.S. Please submit the completed Out of Country Request form by e-mail to ISO with approval from the Tax Office or OAP.

If there is no Out of Country notation in SEVIS for absences of 30 days or more, the exchange visitor may encounter difficulties upon return to the U.S., including the possibility that the exchange activity may be considered ended and the exchange visitor may be subject to 12 or 24 month bars on repeat participation in J-1 status.

For Return to the U.S.

These documents are needed to re-enter the U.S. after a temporary absence:

  • DS-2019, endorsed for travel by ISO. The travel endorsement is valid up to 12 months, and confirms that the exchange visitor is in active status.
  • Valid passport.
  • Valid J-1 (or J-2) visa. (Canadian citizens are visa-exempt.) If the visa has expired, or the entries permitted by that visa have been used, a new U.S. visa must be obtained prior to return unless eligible for automatic visa revalidation. U.S. consulates worldwide conduct in-person interviews with virtually all visa applicants. Appointments for visa interviews should be scheduled as early as possible and delays should be anticipated due to security reviews. There is no mechanism to obtain, prior to departure, a guarantee of the right to re-enter the U.S. Note that the visa does not need to remain valid while the exchange visitor is in the U.S.
  • The previously-issued I-94 card or record is required when returning to the U.S. after a visit of less than 30 days to Canada, Mexico, or islands in the Caribbean. If returning to the U.S. from overseas, a new I-94 will be issued at the U.S. port of entry.
J-2 Dependents

For initial entry to the U.S., each J-2 dependent needs his or her own DS-2019, a valid passport valid for at least six months beyond the date of expected stay, and a valid J-2 visa stamp (Canadian citizens are visa-exempt). J-2 dependents may enter the U.S. at the same time as the J-1, or after the J-1 has arrived in the U.S. Dependents who leave the U.S. temporarily follow the “return to the U.S.” procedure described above. J-2 dependents may not remain in the U.S. while the J-1 is outside the U.S. unless the J-1 is gone only a few days.

Automatic Revalidation of an Expired Visa

Under certain circumstances, persons with expired visas are allowed to return to the U.S. without having to obtain new visas. This is known as “automatic visa revalidation.” To qualify, exchange visitors must be applying for readmission to the U.S. after a temporary absence of not more than 30 days in Canada, Mexico or adjacent islands except Cuba and have a valid Form I-94, DS-2019, and passport with an expired visa stamp. The visa will be considered “extended” to the date of re-entry, eliminating the need to obtain a new visa at a U.S. consulate before that particular re-entry. Persons who apply for a new visa while in Canada, Mexico, or islands in the Caribbean are ineligible for automatic visa revalidation. Also, citizens of Iran, Syria, Sudan and Cuba are ineligible for automatic visa revalidation.

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

Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and certain other U.S. territories and possessions that are part of the U.S. No visa is necessary for travel to or return from those locations. However, exchange visitors should carry full documentation (passport, DS-2019, I-94), especially if the travel involves transit through, or short stays in, other countries where full documentation including a valid visa would be necessary for return to the U.S.

Visiting Canada and Other Countries

Some exchange visitors will need a Canadian visa to enter Canada.  Contact the Canadian Consulate in Seattle for information and instructions.

If visiting other countries, an exchange visitor should contact the consulate or embassy of the country to be visited to determine what documents are necessary for entry.

Travel During the 30-day “Grace Period”

The Department of Homeland Security allows all exchange visitors 30 days of lawful status in the U.S. following completion of their program. This 30 day “grace period” is NOT included in the program dates listed in item 3 of the DS-2019 form. Exchange visitors who travel outside the U.S. during the grace period will not be permitted to re-enter the U.S. in J-1 or J-2 status.