Domestic Travel

J-1 and J-2 exchange visitors may travel freely within the U.S. during the J-1 program.  Domestic travel does not need to be reported to Exchange Visitor Services (EVS).

NOTE: If travel could affect an exchange visitor’s program work in any way, it must be reported to your department for approval before travelling, with as much notice as possible.

Non-Continental U.S. States and Territories

Exchange visitors should prepare as if they were traveling internationally if they travel to Alaska, Hawaii, American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, or the U.S. Virgin Islands (Saint Croix, Saint John, Saint Thomas, Water Island). 

This includes obtaining a valid travel signature on the Form DS-2019.  This will help avoid confusion and potential difficulties if they must detour outside the U.S. for any reason.

NOTE: Exchange visitors may travel to non-continental U.S. states and territories with an expired J visa.

International Travel

J-1 and J-2 exchange visitors may travel internationally during the J-1 program, but they first must obtain all appropriate authorizations and paperwork. International travel that lasts fewer than 30 days does not need to be reported to EVS.

Minimum International Travel Requirements

  • Passport valid for at least six (6) months from travel date
  • Valid J-1 or J-2 visa for re-entry
  • Valid Form DS-2019 with valid travel signature
  • Out-of-Country Authorization (if applicable)

NOTE: Exchange visitors also must satisfy any additional travel requirements of the country where they intend to travel.

Travel Signatures

A travel signature, also called a travel validation or travel endorsement, is an authorization placed in the “Travel Validation by Responsible Officer” box on the Form DS-2019.

Once an exchange visitor receives a travel signature, they may use it for multiple trips. A travel signature is valid for up to 12 months or until the end of the J-1 program, whichever comes first.

Exchange visitors must make an appointment to receive a new travel signature.

Out-of-Country Authorization

J-1 exchange visitors who will be outside the U.S. for an extended period of time must file an Out-of-Country Authorization form with EVS and their department. This confirms all parties are aware of the travel and that it will not negatively affect any program activities.

When is Out-of-Country Authorization required?

Category

If gone more than…

Maximum Out-of-Country duration

Research Scholar

30 days

90 days

Professor

30 days

90 days

Short-Term Scholar

15 days

30 days

Student Intern

Any time outside of the U.S.

15 days

NOTE: Non-UF-sponsored exchange visitors must contact their program sponsor for assistance and/or authorization.

Extenuating Circumstances

Extenuating circumstances that require an exchange visitor to be outside the U.S. longer than their J-1 visa category typically permits must be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Examples of events that may qualify include:

  • Data collection, research, or other fieldwork on behalf of UF
  • Family emergency (e.g., serious illness, death, etc. of a family member)
  • Medical procedures and recovery
  • Administrative processing for J-1 visa renewal

Exchange visitors must contact their EVS advisor to request extended authorization.

Exchange Visitor Responsibilities

  • Maintain valid J-1 status, and comply with all UF and J visa policies and regulations.
  • Maintain health insurance at all times.
    • Health insurance cannot be expired for any period of time during the J-1 program.
    • This includes the J-1 and any J-2 exchange visitors.
  • Maintain an active email address, as reported in ONE.UF.
  • Notify the departmental contact, faculty host, and EVS of any changes to activity or travel dates originally noted in the Out-of-Country Authorization form.
  • Ensure any J-2 dependents exit the U.S. at the same time as the J-1 exchange visitor.
    • J-2 dependents cannot remain inside the U.S. during the extended travel period.

Automatic Revalidation

Some exchange visitors may qualify for Automatic Revalidation, a process that allows them to leave and re-enter the U.S. with an expired J visa.

There are strict requirements, including but not limited to active J status, re-entry to the U.S. within 30 days, and travel restricted only to Canada, Mexico, and qualifying Caribbean nations.

For more information, see the U.S. Department of State site or contact an EVS advisor.

Form I-515A

Exchange visitors who arrive in the U.S. missing any travel documents may be issued a Form I-515A. This requires exchange visitors to submit documentation to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for delayed Port of Entry processing.

EVS should be notified immediately after receiving a Form I-515A, and all documentation must be submitted within 30 days. Failure to do so will result in the exchange visitor losing their visa status and their SEVIS record terminated.

Exchange visitors who receive a Form I-515A are required to notify their EVS advisor IMMEDIATELY.

Failure to comply by the deadline will result in loss of visa status.

Additional Considerations

  • Exchange visitors who leave the U.S. after the program end date on their Form DS-2019 forfeit their remaining “grace period” and cannot re-enter the U.S. using that J status.
  • Exchange visitors should verify if they need a visa for any countries where they intend to travel, including for layovers or other short stops.
  • Exchange visitors should not travel during any change-of-status visa processing period.
  • Exchange visitors should verify their I-94 Record reflects their correct visa status and dates each time they enter the U.S.