Travel and Reentry for J-1 Scholars

Travel Instructions for J-1 Scholars
This section will provide you with information regarding reentering the U.S. after a temporary absence. If you plan to leave the U.S. and return to the University of Miami, you must have the necessary documents to permit entry to another country and reentry to the U.S.

Entry to another country
If you wish to temporarily visit your country of citizenship or permanent residency, you will be allowed to enter that country if you hold a valid passport. Before temporarily visiting a country other than your country of citizenship or permanent residency, you must check on entry visa requirements for said country. The addresses and phone numbers of all foreign embassies located in Washington D.C. are listed on the following website:

Reentry to the U.S.
To reenter the U.S. after a temporary absence (i.e., an absence of five months of less), you must have a valid passport, valid J-1 visa, and a properly endorsed Form DS-2019.

Properly endorsed Form DS-2019: If you have already used your Form DS-2019 to enter the U.S. once, then you must have page 1 of your Form DS-2019 endorsed by your J-1 Responsible Officer (your International Student and Scholar, ISSS, Advisor if you are sponsored by UM). Your ISSS advisor will automatically endorse page 1 of your Form DS-2019 for travel during scholar orientation. For any subsequent travel endorsements of your Form DS-2019, please contact your ISSS advisor by telephone or e-mail. Your ISSS advisor will provide you with an appointment with her to have Form DS-2019 endorsed again. Page 1 of your Form DS-2019, when properly endorsed, may be used for reentry to engage in research, teach, consult or engage in long-term observation after a temporary absence from the U.S. Each certification signature is valid for only one year from date of signature, or until the Form DS-2019 expiration date, whichever comes first. For J-1 exchange visitors in the short-term scholar category, each certification signature is valid for only six months from date of signature, or until the Form DS-2019 expiration date, whichever comes first.
If your J-1 program is not sponsored by the University of Miami, then you must ask your J-1 program's Responsible Officer to endorse your Form DS-2019 for travel. Your ISSS advisor will not be able to endorse your Form DS-2019.

Valid Passport: You must have a passport that is kept valid at all times while you are in the U.S. If your passport will expire within six months, contact your embassy in the U.S. ( and make arrangements to renew as soon as possible.

Valid J-1 visa: You must have a valid J-1 visa in your passport. If your visa has expired, you will need to make arrangements to renew your visa at the American Consulate/Embassy overseas.

Documents you will need for visa issuance: You will need a valid passport, a current photograph, a properly endorsed Form DS-2019, proof of financial capability for continuing research, teaching, consultation or long-term observation, and continued nonimmigrant intent. Please check the Department of State website to inquire what other documents you may need.

Where to apply:Although you may be able to secure an original or renewal of a J-1 visa in a foreign country other than your own, your chances of being issued a J-1 visa are greatest when you apply at a U.S. consular office in your country of citizenship or permanent residency. You may face more stringent requirements in a third country and should allow more time in case of delays. It is not possible to obtain a J-1 visa in the U.S.

When to apply: You usually cannot apply for a new visa until 90 days before the expiration of the old one.

Visa voidance:If you have overstayed or been unlawfully present during your research, teaching, consultation or long-term observation immediately prior to leaving the U.S., you might be subject to visa voidance. Such overstayer exchange visitors would be subject to payment of the $180 Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) fee and would need to obtain a new J-1 visa stamp in the home country in order to reenter the U.S. The SEVIS fee must be paid online through use of a credit card, locally using the Western Union Quick Pay service, or by mail through use of a check or money order at least three days prior to the date SEVIS fee payment verification is required by the U.S. Consular Office. ISSS highly recommends that you file and pay the required SEVIS fee online with a credit card or in person through the Western Union Quick Pay service instead of by mail with a check or money order since the online option and the Western Union Quick Pay option result in speedier processing of your required fee payment. Please ask your ISSS Advisor for detailed information on options for payment of the SEVIS fee.

"Automatic revalidation of visa" benefit: Under certain circumstances, you may reenter the U.S. with an expired visa as though the visa were still valid. An expired J-1 visa may be considered to be automatically extended to the date of application for readmission to the U.S. (and therefore the visa in the passport need not have an expiration date that is in the future), provided you do the following:
  1. Apply for readmission to U.S. after an absence not exceeding 30 days in contiguous territory (Canada or Mexico) or adjacent islands (Saint Pierre, Miquelon, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Bermuda, the Bahamas, Barbados, Jamaica, the Windward and Leeward Islands, Trinidad, Martinique, and other British, French, and Netherlands territories or possessions in or bordering on the Caribbean Sea other than Cuba);
  2. Maintain lawful J-1 status and intend to continue doing so;
  3. Present a valid passport containing Form I-94 which authorizes a stay beyond the date of entry (e.g., D/S);
  4. Present a properly endorsed Form DS-2019.
Under these circumstances, you may be saved the necessity of applying for a new J-1 visa even if your visa has expired. An exchange visitor whose visa has been canceled or voided is not eligible for automatic revalidation of visa benefit. Citizens of "state sponsors of terrorism" cannot take advantage of the automatic revalidation benefit. Any non-immigrant who chooses to apply for a new visa while in contiguous territory is not eligible for the automatic revalidation benefit during the course of that trip, but has to wait until the visa is granted in order to enter the U.S.

Transfers: If you have lawfully transferred between exchange visitor program sponsors while in the U.S., your J-1 visa will include the name and/or program number of the exchange visitor program sponsor for which it was initially issued. Following a transfer, even though the J-1 visa in your passport may appear to be unexpired, it is no longer considered to be valid.  If you exit the U.S., you must apply for and obtain a new J-1 visa from a U.S. consular office before you can seek reentry to the U.S. with Form DS-2019 from the new exchange visitor program sponsor.  The new J-1 visa will show the name and/or program number of the new exchange visitor program sponsor to which you transferred.

Status Violation and Travel: If you have violated your J-1 immigration status prior to traveling abroad and wish to seek reentry to the U.S. with a new Form DS-2019 to resume your J-1 status, you must pay the $180 SEVIS fee prior to being able to seek reentry to the U.S. with proper documentation.

Travel Tips
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has issued important reminders to assist international scholars (exchange visitors) expected to arrive in the United States.

These reminders for international scholars registered in the Student Exchange and Visitor Information System (SEVIS) are intended to ensure that legitimate scholars are quickly processed at ports of entry. A comprehensive list of answers to frequently asked SEVIS questions has also been posted online at and
DHS offers the following recommendations for international scholars:
    1. Hand carry (do not check with your baggage) the following documents:
      • Your passport;
      • Your SEVIS Form DS-2019;
      • Evidence of financial resources;
      • Evidence of exchange visitor status, such as an invitation or offer letter from your University of Miami academic department;
      • Paper receipt for the SEVIS fee; and
      • The name and contact information of your J-1 program sponsor.
Important Note:
    1. If you are a new J-1 exchange visitor program participant, remember to carry with you the sealed envelope given to you by the U.S. Department of State's Consular Officer and attached to your passport. It is important that you do not open this envelope.
  1. Inform the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Officer at the port of entry as soon as possible that you will be a new or returning international scholar in the United States.
  2. Report to your school or program upon arrival so that your program official can validate your participation in SEVIS.
  3. Maintain contact with your designated sponsor official throughout your stay to ensure your SEVIS data is updated and accurate.