J-1: Travel Procedures

General Information

When traveling outside the United States, J-1 scholars (and their J-2 dependents, if applicable) must have in their possession the proper documents to return to the US to resume their activities. These documents are:

  • Passport valid at least six months beyond the date of US reentry

  • Valid J visa stamp in passport

  • Form DS2019 authorized for travel by an ISS counselor in the travel validation section (lower right corner)

If one or more of the above documents are not valid, contact the ISS reception desk by phone (765-494-5770) or visit the ISS office during walk-in times listed here to inquire about travel procedures:

  • Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday: 9am-11:30am and 1:30pm - 4pm
  • Thursday 1:30pm - 4pm only

When visiting the ISS office, be sure to bring your passport, visa, I-94 card, and current Form DS2019.

Furthermore, other documents could be carried to confirm the right to reenter the US.  Such documents would be proof of financial support as listed on the DS2019 or a letter from the department confirming the appointment/invitation to Purdue.

If a J-1 scholar has a travel endorsement in the "Travel Validation by Responsible Officer" in the lower right corner of their DS2019, that endorsement is valid for a one year period from the date that it has been signed or until the expiration date of the DS2019, whichever comes first. The expiration date is given in item #3 of the DS2019. Following are exceptions to this one-year endorsement.

  • On the date that they complete their program, the endorsement is no longer valid. This date may be the date a scholar terminates the employment or program within the inviting department.

  • If the visa stamp in their passport has expired, they will need to apply for a re-entry visa at a US Embassy or Consulate abroad. The link at the end of this sentence has online instructions written for students applying for a new visa, but the basic principles are the same: Renewing Your Student Visa

  • If the department terminates the scholar's program, the DS2019 is no longer valid. It is imperative that such scholars talk with an Immigration Counselor in ISS concerning their nonimmigrant status. 

  • If a scholar is traveling to Canada or European countries and needs a visa stamp, that country might require a signature within the current semester before granting a visa. Of course, if the scholar is from that country, they do not need a visa stamp. Please check with the consulate of the country to confirm what is required for a visa.

  • If a scholar is outside of the US for 30 days or more, the reason for such a long departure must be evaluated to determine if the J program is maintained. If a scholar is outside the US for non-personal reasons, such as awaiting visa approval or working on a collaborative project between Purdue and the scholar's home institution, ISS will need written confirmation for such situations to document the continuation of the J-1 program.  Please speak with an ISS counselor during a walkin session or email iss@purdue.edu for advice on documenting the continuation of the J program overseas.

If one of these situations applies and a scholar travels outside of the US, that scholar should consult with an ISS counselor before using the endorsed DS2019 to reenter the US.

APPLYING FOR A VISA.  If a scholar needs to apply for a new J-1 visa abroad, they should visit the ISS office at least two weeks prior to the departure date and ask about required documentation for the trip.  Besides the documents needed to reenter the US, the scholar would also need original proof of financial support as well as a letter from the department confirming the current appointment.

Please plan far in advance for travel. With well over 5000 international students and scholars at Purdue, end of semester periods can be busy at ISS with many travel and other types of requests.

Auto Revalidation of visa: J-1's may travel to Canada, Mexico, or the Caribbean (except Cuba) with an expired visa. The travel may be for business or pleasure and for a maximum stay of 30 days. Stop in ISS to obtain a travel signature and (when traveling) carry a print of the USCBP 2012 CLP Bulletin regarding this regulation. Please read this bulletin carefully as it mentions additional restrictions from using this regulation that may apply to your situation.  

Note regarding the I-94: it is recommended to carry a print of your electronic I-94 when using this option (and keep a copy for your records). Access your I-94 on USCBP's I-94 site. If you still have a paper I-94, it is recommended that you retain it for your reentry to the US.

Visa Appointments in Canada and Mexico
If traveling from the United States to apply for a non-immigrant visa at the US Embassy or a US Consulate in Canada, or at a US Consulate in Mexico located along the US/Mexico border, the scholar who is not a citizen of those countries must have an appointment for an interview. Schedule an appointment either via Internet or phone:

  • Canada appointment system:

    • Internet based appointment system
    • Phone based appointment system:
      • from Canada, call one of the following local numbers:
        • Calgary - 403.800.1194
        • Halifax - 902.982.2191
        • Montreal - 514.400.2591
        • Ottawa - 613.800.0917
        • Toronto - 647.955.3736
        • Vancouver - 604.800.2794
        • Quebec City - 418.800.1751
        • If the applicant is calling from within Canada, but outside the above local areas, dial the toll-free number 877.341.2441.
      • from the US, the number is 703.439.2319

    Only applicants with appointments will be interviewed.

    Mexican appointment system:

    • Internet based appointment system
    • Make the appointment from the US by phone with the US Embassy Mexico Customer Service Center (Monday through Friday from 7am to 9pm Central Time, and Saturday and Sunday from 9am - 3pm Central Time):
      • 1-900-476-1212 with a cost of US $1.25 per minute.
      • 1-800-919-1754 with a cost of US $7.00 per call payable by Visa or MasterCard.
      • 011-52-477-788-7070 with a cost of 50 Mexican Pesos plus tax per call payable by Visa or MasterCard. Long distance charges are additional.
    • Make the appointment from Mexico by phone with the US Embassy Mexico Customer Service Center (Monday through Friday from 7am to 9pm Central Time, and Saturday and Sunday from 9am - 3pm Central Time):
      • 01-900-849-49-49 with a cost of 12 Mexican Pesos per minute.
      • 01-800-112-85-00 by purchasing a PIN at any BANAMEX branch for the equivalent IN PESOS of US $10.00.
      • (01-477) 788-7070 with a cost of 50 Mexican Pesos plus tax per call payable by Visa or MasterCard. Long distance charges are additional.

    Canadian Landed Immigrant or Mexican Citizens:
    If you are a Canadian Landed Immigrant in the US and wish to make application in Canada, or if you are a Mexican citizen in the US desiring to make application in Mexico, you do not need to make a visa appointment.