Your research or other program objectives must be able to be conducted in-person at least partially in order to be able to come to the U.S. and begin your J-1 program. You cannot travel to the U.S. to begin a J-1 program that will be completely remote. This is based on guidance from the U.S. Department of State (DOS) requiring sponsors to meet formal in-person requirements if hosting new Exchange Visitors.
OIS continues to monitor campus updates to testing and quarantine guidelines. Please visit our page here for the latest updates.
Before you travel, please review the “Can/Should I travel internationally?” section of our COVID-19 FAQ for advice and considerations on international travel.
Travel Signature Validity: Travel signatures for active J-1 scholars/student interns are valid for one year from the date of the signature. If your DS-2019 is up to date (i.e. nothing has changed and you have not been issued a new DS-2019) and you have a current travel signature on your DS-2019 that will be less than one year old on the date of your return to the U.S., you do not need to do anything further.
Travel Signature Requests: A travel signature is essentially documentation from OIS that shows you have permission to travel and return to your program because you are in good standing with respect to your academic and immigration status. The Exchange Visitor Program continues to maintain that the original DS-2019 document, with ink signature, is needed when applying for a visa or entering the U.S.
To request a travel signature, please complete this request form. OIS will process your request and email you a scanned copy of a new DS-2019 with a travel signature within 5 business days. Please respond to this email with how you would like to receive your original document (OIS can send it via standard USPS mail, FedEx, UPS, or DHL). It is important to allow not only enough
To request a travel signature, please complete a travel request via GlobalHome. OIS will process your request and email you a scanned copy of a new DS-2019 for your review. You will then need to respond to this email letting OIS know how you would like to receive your original document (OIS can send it via standard USPS mail, FedEx, UPS, or DHL or you may make an appointment to pick up the DS-2019 from our office).
If you need more time to complete your J-1 program, you may be eligible for a program extension. Keep in mind that the maximum program duration varies based on your J-1 category as follows:
- Research Scholar: 5 years
- Short Term Scholar: 6 months
- Student Intern: 12 months
Your J-1 category is indicated on your DS-2019 in section 4. If additional time is available according to your J-1 category, please work with your sponsoring department to submit a DS-2019 Extension Request via GlobalHome. For more information please see J-1 Scholar Request Procedures.
All scholars who complete their program have a 30-day grace period following the DS-2019 end date. During this grace period you have the following options:
- Prepare to depart the U.S. – we recommend you depart the U.S. if your home country is allowing its citizens to return and has not completely closed its borders. For assistance in securing a flight home, please contact your home country’s embassy.
- Consult an OIS advisor to discuss any other options depending on your personal situation including an extension of your J-1 category beyond max stay, a change of J-1 category, or a change of status to something other than J-1 depending on your subjectivity to the 212(e) home residency requirement.