Travel and Visas

If you are going to travel out of the USA during your program time, you are required to report your travel to OISSS.

To re-enter the US, or to apply for a new entry visa, please review the information below to make sure you prepare the necessary documentation:

J-1 Scholar/Professor:

a)      valid and signed DS-2019 with a recent travel signature (less than six months old is recommended)

b)      valid passport

c)       valid J-1 visa *

d)      if you are applying for a new visa: original bank statements, a letter verifying your funding

e)      letter from your sponsoring department stating that you are meeting your responsibilities and, to the best of their knowledge, have been maintaining your J-1 status

f)       if you have an J-2 dependent, they will need items a, b, c (J-2 visa) listed above

* If you are a citizen of Canada and hold a Canadian passport, an entry visa is not required to enter the US from Canada. 

Automatic Visa Revalidation (AVR): An expired US entry visa is considered to be automatically extended to the date of re-entry as long as that visa has not been canceled, and an application for a new visa has not been submitted. AVR is applicable to travel to Canada, Mexico, and the adjacent islands for a period of less than 30 days.

  1. only travel for less than 30 days to the territory where AVR is applicable (travel to PR China via Canada does not qualify for AVR)
  2. citizens of Mexico must have a valid visa to re-enter from Mexico
  3. citizens of Iraq, Iran, Syria, Libya, Sudan, North Korea or Cuba may not take advantage of AVR

Obtaining new visa: A visa to the US may only be obtained at a US Embassy or Consulate outside of the United States. When applying for a new visa, please contact the consulate you will visit to determine if an appointment is required, if you are eligible to apply for a visa at that location, the documentation required for the application, and if you need an entry visa to visit the country where the US Embassy is located. You may find the websites of all US Embassies and Consulates by visiting: http://www.usembassy.gov.

Obtaining US visa in Canada or Mexico:  You may be eligible to apply for a US visa in Canada or Mexico. The locations of US Consulates in Canada include: Calgary, Halifax, Montreal, Ottawa (embassy), Quebec City, Toronto, and Vancouver. The locations of US Consulates in Mexico include: Ciudad Juarez, Matamoros, and Tijuana.  Special note for Mexican Consulates: you can apply for a new visa of the same type in Mexico, but Mexican embassies no longer allow you to apply for a visa of a new type.  For example, a J-2 dependent can no longer go to Mexico to apply for a visa to change status from J-2 to J-1.  Occasionally, before granting a visa, US Consulates will conduct a background search, which may take some time.  This is especially true for people in certain areas of research.

You may schedule an appointment by telephone:
1-900-443-3131 (from the US)
1-900-451-2778 (from Canada)
As this is a ‘900’ number, a charge is applied to your phone bill. Calls cannot be made from a cell phone, public phone, or by using a calling card.

You may schedule an appointment by Internet: http://www.nvars.com/ (you will need a valid credit card). Each appointment will cost approximately $15.00 (fee subject to change).

When considering applying for a new visa, please keep the following in mind:

  1. If you cannot attend your scheduled appointment, please cancel it within a timely manner as you may still be charged.
  2. If you miss your appointment, or do not cancel in time, you will be prohibited from setting another appointment within three months of the original date.
  3. If you apply for a new visa, AVR is no longer applicable.
  4. If the visa is denied, you must return to your home country – you will not be permitted to return to the US.
  5. If you are subject to a security check, you cannot re-enter the US while the check is pending nor can you use AVR.  

For information, please contact the respective consulates of those countries:

Consulate General of Canada in Atlanta
Consulate General of Mexico in Atlanta

Travel Signatures for J-1 Exchange Visitors:

  1. submit your form DS-2019 to OISSS for a travel validation signature
  2. please inform OISSS if you will be applying for a new visa so we can verify that you will be taking the correct documents
  3. submit your request at least 5 days before you wish to travel as we will need to verify that you have been maintaining your status
  4. a travel signature is valid for one year, unless noted otherwise on your DS-2019, but it is best to obtain one every six months