Travel Information for J-1 Exchange Visitors


Documents Required

  • Valid passport
  • J-1 visa
  • I-94 card
  • DS-2019 form with a recent travel signature from the Center for International Studies


Travel Procedures to Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean Islands

A valid U.S. entry visa is not required if you travel to a contiguous territory (Canada, Mexico, or the Caribbean Islands excluding Cuba) for less than 30 days. If a person in J-1 status enters the U.S. from the contiguous territories within 30 days, the entry visa is considered to be automatically extended to the date of reentry PROVIDED THE ENTRY VISA HAS NOT BEEN CANCELED OR VOIDED. This is called “Automatic Visa Revalidation.” If you plan to use this procedure, do not surrender your valid I-94 card to Immigration officials when leaving the United States.

Note: Citizens of the following countries are NOT eligible for Automatic Visa Revalidation: Iran, Sudan, Syria and Cuba. Also the automatic visa revalidation provision excludes aliens who applied for a U.S. entry visa in Canada or Mexico and whose visa application was denied.

**Certain individuals require an entry visa before entering Canada, Mexico or the Caribbean Islands. Please contact the appropriate consulate for information regarding this matter.


Travel Procedures to All Other Countries

To travel to any other country you should have a valid, unexpired J-1 entry visa in your passport (Canadians excluded). If you do not, you must apply for a visa at a U.S. embassy abroad. You should also have a letter from your department confirming your employment. Please let the Center for International Studies know that you are planning to travel at least a week in advance so that we can endorse your DS-2019 for travel.


US VISIT (Entry system)

This is a system that will collect biographic information on all foreign nationals entering the U.S. This system may cause minor delays upon your return to the U.S. so please plan accordingly when booking your flight and possible connections. For more information on the US VISIT system, please go to


Obtaining or Renewing a J-1 Visa in your Home Country

Visit for general information about visa services. Follow the same procedure that you followed when you obtained your previous visa(s) to enter the United States. You will also need to bring a current proof of financial support. The documents required vary from country to country so please inquire at the U.S. Embassy in your home country before you leave the U.S. to determine the specific documents required. Please note that due to security background checks the processing of your visa may take a considerable amount of time.


Obtaining or Renewing a J-1 Visa in Canada or Mexico

If you want to apply to obtain or renew your J-1 visa in Canada or Mexico rather than in your home country, you must make an appointment 2-3 weeks in advance.

*If your visa is denied, you will not be able to re-enter the US under “Automatic Visa Revalidation"