J-1 students need a valid passport, valid visa, and valid Form DS-2019 to enter the United States (Canadian citizens are not required to have a visa but they must show their DS-2019 and proof of Canadian citizenship at the U.S. port of entry).
Whenever J-1 students leave the U.S., they must present these documents in order to be allowed re-entry into the country. Note that, while students must keep their Form DS-2019 and passport valid at all times while they are in the U.S., their visa can expire and that alone is not a violation of their status. However, they will need a valid visa to return to the U.S.
If you are traveling outside of the United States, you will need a signature from your international student advisor on page 1 of your Form DS-2019. This signature must be requested through MyGlobal Portal. The travel signature is valid for 12 months while you are pursuing your degree. Note that you can leave the U.S. any time without a travel signature. You will need the signature only to return.
If you are planning to travel you must:
- Be in valid J-1 status. If you are a student and depart during the fall or spring semester, you must be registered for a full-time course load. Due to an emergency, if you depart in the middle of the fall or spring semester, it is your responsibility to speak with your professors if your travel will cause you to miss class(es). It is up to your professors to decide how any potential absences will be handled.
- Have a valid J-1 visa to return to the U.S. If you changed your status to J-1 while inside the U.S., you will need to apply for a J-1 visa in your home country the first time you depart the U.S.
- Be outside of the U.S. for less than five months. If you are a student planning to take an academic leave of absence for one or more semesters, please contact the Office of Global Engagement for assistance.
If you are planning to travel outside the U.S., you must request a travel endorsement from an OGE staff on your DS-2019 to re-enter the U.S. The endorsement is valid for 12 months or until the end of your program, whichever is sooner.
You can request the travel endorsement through MyGlobal Portal. Please note it may take up to 7 business days to process your request so plan accordingly.
In addition to the Form DS-2019 with a valid travel endorsement, you must bring the following with you to re-enter the U.S.:
- A valid passport
- A valid J-1 visa (except Canadians)
- A current Form DS-2019 with a valid travel endorsement
- Proof of financial support (bank statements, scholarship, etc.)
- Proof of enrollment (your transcript, for example)
J-1 students who are planning to travel within the U.S. do not need a travel endorsement from the OGE. You should bring your Form DS-2019 and government-issued ID (driver’s license or passport).
In addition to the documents listed above you will need the following:
- Offer letter/employment letter (this should be on letterhead with your employer’s signature) and other proof of employment (like pay stubs), if available.
- DS-2019 with valid Academic Training dates
- If you are in the process of applying for reinstatement to J-1 status
- If you have a pending Change of Status application
- If you plan to be absent for five months or longer; J-1 students and scholars are not able to maintain J-1 status if they are outside the U.S. for a period of five months or more.
- If your employer has filed an H-1B petition or petition for Lawful Permanent Residence with USCIS on your behalf. Please consult your company’s immigration attorney about travel in this situation.
Students or dependents who need to renew their J-1 visa must do so in-person to a U.S. embassy or consulate abroad. Current students are required to submit the following documents, among others that the embassy or consulate may request:
- Form DS-2019 with a travel endorsement. The endorsement is valid for one year from the date the Form DS-2019 is signed or until the program end date, whichever is sooner
- Official transcript from Montclair State University
- Class schedule (you can get it through NEST) for the current semester or if you are applying over a break (summer or winter), your class schedule for the following semester
- Documentation of financial support for your first year of study and proof of renewable funds for the following years
- Affidavit of support from each of your financial sponsors. If you are being supported by the government of your home country, you do not need an affidavit. If your support comes entirely from Montclair State (graduate assistantship, stipend, etc.), you do not need an affidavit.
- Bills from the last year showing that you’ve paid your tuition
- Proof of permanent residence in your home country
- SEVIS fee receipt (if you can’t find your original one, you will need to reprint your SEVIS fee receipt using the button “Check I-901 Status / Print Payment Confirmation”)
- Passport valid for six months into the future from the date you will return to the U.S. (unless the country from which your passport was issued is listed, in which case the country extends passport validity for an additional six months after the passport’s expiration date, so you may use your passport to enter the U.S. as long as it is unexpired)
Students on Academic Training should provide these documents for their J-1 visa renewal, in addition to any other document required by the U.S. consulate or embassy:
- Form DS-2019 with a valid travel endorsement and listing your current employer’s name and address
- Official transcript and copy of your diploma from Montclair State
- Documentation of financial support (for instance, from your parents) you have outside your job, if applicable.
- Affidavit of support from each of your financial sponsors. If you are being supported by the government of your home country, you do not need an affidavit.
- Proof of employment in the form of both an offer letter/employment verification letter (on company letterhead, signed by your supervisor or HR) and the last two pay stubs from your company (if you have a paid position)
- Proof of permanent residence in your home country