Traveling Outside the United States for J-1 Scholars

Re-entering the United States

To re-enter the U.S., you need the following documents:

  • A valid passport
  • A valid J-1 visa (See Visa Exceptions)
  • A current DS-2019 with a valid travel signature (learn more about the travel signature)
  • Evidence you continue to engage in the activities appropriate to your status (i.e. your offer letter, your most recent paycheck stubs, etc)

Renewing Your Visa Stamp

If you or your dependents need to renew your visas in order to re-enter the United States, you must apply in person to a U.S. embassy or consulate abroad. Applicants are normally required to submit the following documentation:

  • A valid passport
  • Current passport-size photographs
  • A valid DS-2019
  • Proof of financial support
  • Letter from academic department
  • Any additional required paperwork - visit the U.S. Consulate's website where you plan to apply.

Travel Signature

J exchange visitors are required to have their DS-2019s signed by the OIS before traveling outside the U.S. if they wish to return.

  • The signature is valid for 12 months.

If you require a travel signature, please drop off your DS-2019 with the OIS and it will be ready for pick up after 10:00 a.m. the following business day.

Visa Exceptions

Citizens of Canada and Bermuda are exempt from visa requirements.

See Automatic Revalidation for information on traveling with an expired visa.

Traveling to a Country Other than your Country of Citizenship

Before traveling to another country of which you are not a citizen, check the United States re-entry requirements, as well as that country's travel requirements.  A list of U.S embassies and consulates can be found here.  Foreign embassies and consulates in the U.S. can be found here.


Please note that you can re-enter the United States from Canada with an expired U.S. visa stamp if you meet the criteria.

Check the Canadian visa requirements here. If you need a Canadian visa, you can download the application from the Canadian Consulate website.