Travel validation

J-1 Visa holders are allowed to exit and re-enter the U.S. during their program.  But, they need to have their form DS-2019 validated by their program sponsor. Why? It shows the point-of-entry officer that their J-1 program is in good standing and still active.

Before traveling outside the U.S., the J-1 Visa holder should make sure that their:

  • passport is valid for at least 6 months beyond the date of entry into the U.S.;
  • J-1 visa in their passport is still valid. If the J-1 visa has expired, it must be renewed by the U.S. embassy, preferably in their home country (does not apply to visits of less than 30 days to Canada, Mexico or the Caribbean);
  • form DS-2019 form is validated by their sponsor.

Getting a form DS-2019 validated is simple: participants inform their sponsor that they intend to travel outside the U.S. and mail their DS-2019 to the sponsor for signature (tip: ship to the sponsor via courier so that the package can be tracked).  The sponsor’s signature is valid for one year and can be used for multiple trips.  Most sponsors will charge a processing fee for travel validation.

What happens if a J-1 Visa holder forgets to have their DS-2019 validated and travels outside the U.S.? We’ll discuss next week…

5 Responses to “Travel validation

  • My sponsor said signature is valid for only 6 months – even though it is stated on DS form that it is valid for up to 1 year (i am not a short-term scholar)
    So, who do i believe to? 🙂

    • Hello Yana. You are probably referring to the signature for travel validation. It is important to follow the program guidelines from the individual program sponsor. I recommend that you reach out to them and ask them why there is a difference between the language on form DS-2019 and their requirement to obtain travel validation after 6 months.

  • Is there any rule that says I cannot travel outside the US (in this case my home country) for more than 30 days total during my 18 months J-1 visa. And if so, the day I am flying, so the day I leave the US and the day I come back must be deducted from the 30 or not?

    • You are allowed to travel outside the U.S. during your training. However, most sponsors will not allow you to interrupt training for more than 30 days.

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