J-1 Travel and Re-entry

Re-entering the U.S. from Abroad

Present the following documents to U.S. Customs and Border Protection upon re-entry:

  1. Passport: Passports must be valid six months beyond your current program or employment end date, unless your country is waived from this requirement. When a waiver of the six-month requirement exists, your passport must be valid for the entire period of your program, but the additional six-month validity period is not required. Questions about this requirement should be directed to the airline that you will entering the U.S. on, as they will be checking prior to boarding your flight to the US.
  2. Valid J-1 Visa Stamp (with multiple entries)
  3. DS-2019 with Valid Travel Signature: Travel signatures are valid for one year from the date signed by the adviser or until the program end date, whichever date is earlier. If you need a travel signture on your DS-2019, please complete the ISSO Travel Signature Request form.
  4. UCSF Appointment Letter (recommended)

At the port of entry, your passport will be date stamped and returned to you. You will need to obtain your electronic I-94 form.

Renewing Your Visa Stamp

Review the U.S. Embassy or Consulate website where you will apply for your visa for location specific information.

  •  When renewing your visa, anticipate delays, especially if you will be traveling during holiday or peak travel seasons. Security checks can delay visa issuance by several weeks.
  •  Please note that you do not need to pay the SEVIS fee for visa renewals. The SEVIS fee is a one-time fee paid prior to starting your J-program.
  •  You can only renew your visa at a U.S. consulate abroad.
  • ISSO always recommends that you apply for your renewal visa in your home country. If you apply in a country other than your home country, you may be subject to administrative processing, which will require that you stay in that country until your visa is issued. The Department of State website states that administrative processing can take 60-days or more to resolve.

U.S. Consulates and embassies will generally require:

  1. Complete the DS-160 Nonimmigrant Visa Application (see our DS-160 tips for more information)
  2. Pay the nonimmigrant visa application fee
  3. Make an appointment to interview for the J-visa at the nearest U.S. Consulate or Embassy. The consulate will not schedule an appointment for you.
  4. Bring the following documents to your interview:
  • Passport (valid at least 6 months beyond current end date)
  • DS-2019 form
  • UCSF appointment letter
  • Documentation of financial support, if not funded by UCSF (recommended)
  • Visa application confirmation Page
  • Visa application fee payment receipt
  • SEVIS fee receipt copy (recommended). Access and print at the FMJ website which was originally used to pay the I-901 fee.

NOTE: Canadian citizens do not need to apply for a visa.

Automatic Visa Revalidation

If you will be traveling to Canada, Mexico or “adjacent islands” for less than 30 days, you may be eligible for automatic visa revalidation. This means that you may travel to these countries for less than 30 days and return to the U.S. with an expired visa stamp, provided that you are otherwise admissible. Please confirm your eligibility at the US DOS website.

NOTE: You may need a non U.S. visa to enter Canada, Mexico or adjacent islands. Contact the Embassy’s website that you will be traveling to for visa requirements.