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Before traveling outside the U.S., review the following checklist. If you have any questions or concerns before you leave the U.S., please consult an advisor at Scholar Services. Upon re-entry into the U.S., be prepared to present to an immigration inspector your valid passport with valid J visa, original Form DS-2019 with a travel signature, and financial documentation.

1. Passport: Be sure that your passport is valid at least six months into the future from the day you intend to re-enter the U.S.

2. Visa: Check your visa to make sure it will be unexpired on your intended re-entry date. If you need to travel but your visa has expired, you must apply for a new visa from a U.S. Consulate/Embassy abroad. It is best to apply for a visa in your home country. If you apply in a third country, expect processing delays.

Note: Canadian citizens do not need an entry visa to enter the U.S. from Canada or another country. However, Canadians must show Form DS-2019 approval notice at the port of entry to obtain appropriate status on their I-94 Arrival/Departure Record.

3. Form DS-2019 and Travel Signature: You must have with you your original DS-2019 form. Be sure you have a valid signature dated within the last 12 months from International Scholar Services on the section marked "Travel Validation by Responsible Officer" at the bottom right of your form.

Note: J-2 dependents must each have their own DS-2019 with a valid travel signature dated within the last 12 months.

4. Financial Documentation: You must have with you evidence of your financial documentation, e.g., an NYU appointment letter, an award letter from a funding organization, or personal financial documents.

Travel to Canada, Mexico, and the Caribbean

Most scholars do not need a new U.S. visa to return to the U.S. after visiting an adjacent country due to a process known as Automatic Revalidation. If you travel to Canada, Mexico, and adjacent islands of the Caribbean except Cuba for 30 days or less, you do not need a new visa stamp even if your current one has expired if you:

  • are in lawful status,
  • have a valid DS-2019 form in your possession, which has been signed for travel,
  • have an unexpired I-94 (print a copy of your I-94 record and bring it with you),
  • have an unexpired passport valid at least six months into the future, and
  • have a previously-issued nonimmigrant visa (which could be expired, or even in a different category than the I-94 if a change of status has been approved in the U.S.)

Automatic revalidation of visa does NOT apply if the scholar:

  • Applied for a new visa which has not yet been issued;
  • Applied for a new visa and was denied;
  • Has been outside of the United States for more than thirty days;
  • Has traveled to a country other than Canada, Mexico, or an adjacent island which is not included in the automatic revalidation provisions;
  • Is a national of a State Sponsor of Terrorism designated country, including Cuba, Iran, Syria, and Sudan. (Review more about State Sponsors of Terrorism and FAQs);
  • Is in possession of a J exchange visitor visa and has traveled to Cuba.

Note: Citizens of some countries  may need a visa to enter Canada, Mexico or the adjacent Caribbean islands. Please check to see if citizens of your home country are required to have a visa stamp (e.g., a Canadian tourist visa) to enter an adjacent country.


When the immigration inspector notes your I-94 information upon re-entry into the U.S., be sure to check at that time that it is noted with the correct immigration status: "J-1 D/S." This is critical to your being able to pursue your program objective. If you are a J-1 professor and the immigration inspector puts another status on your I-94 arrival/departure record, e.g., B-2 you will not be eligible to take up your teaching position at NYU.

Traveling in the U.S.

You are advised to carry your passport and DS-2019 with you when traveling in the U.S.; they will be required for a flight, but could also be requested on trips where you are traveling by car, train or bus.

For traveling around the NYC area, it's a good idea to carry a copy of your I-94 information, a copy of your DS2019, and a copy of your passport page with your biographic information and photo with you. While it is extremely unlikely you would be questioned, having these documents with you provides immediate proof of your lawful status in the U.S.

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