Travel During Your Program


Where will you go during your 30-day travel period?
Where will you go during your 30-day travel period?
Photo courtesy of InterExchange

Travel Outside the U.S. During Your Program

Before you travel outside of the U.S. during your program, you must contact InterExchange for travel validation. Typically, travel validation is a signature from InterExchange on your original DS-2019 Form. However, as InterExchange’s office remains closed to visitors, we will issue a travel validation letter explaining why your DS-2019 Form does not have a signature. If you don’t obtain travel validation prior to traveling abroad, you may be subject to additional questioning at the border or even denied entry into the U.S. upon your return.

To obtain a travel validation letter, please email us at agraszl@interexchange.org with your destination as well as the dates of your trip. We will then email you the travel validation letter. You should print this letter and carry it with you upon your return to the U.S. along with your original DS-2019 and passport with valid J-1 Visa.

NOTE: You may not be outside the U.S. or away from your internship/training program for more than 30 consecutive days.

Please inform us about any trips you take outside of the U.S. even if you already have a travel validation letter.

When traveling internationally, use the following tips to facilitate smooth border crossings and ensure your safety:

  • Keep your DS-2019 Form and your printed I-94 record with your passport at all times and in a safe place. Ensure that your passport is not expired.
  • Ensure the “Entries” section of your J-1 visa contains an “M” for multiple entries and is not expired. If a specific number of entries is listed on your visa, that is the number of times you may enter the U.S. on that visa. If you do not have a multiple entry visa, you will need a new visa to re-enter the U.S.
  • Determine if you will need a visa to enter other countries. To obtain a country’s visa entry requirements, you should contact the embassy or consulate of that country, located here in the U.S.
  • Check for any travel alerts or safety advisories for the countries you will visit. You can find travel alerts on the U.S. Department of State website.
  • Check for any COVID-19 vaccination or testing requirements for any country that you plan to visit. Please remember that you must be fully vaccinated in order to reenter the United States. Ensure that you travel with your proof of vaccination.

International Travel During Your Extension Period

If you have been approved for a program extension, InterExchange Career Training USA will issue a new DS-2019 Form reflecting your new extended program dates. This form represents your legal status to continue interning or training with your U.S. host employer. Although you will receive a new DS-2019 Form, the J-1 Visa in your passport will still expire according to the expiration date printed on the visa itself. You are allowed to remain in the U.S. for the duration of your extension, but if you travel outside of the U.S., you will not be allowed to re-enter, even with a valid extension DS-2019 Form, unless you apply for a new, valid J-1 Visa.

While it is possible to apply for a new J-1 Visa back in your home country, there is no guarantee that the visa will be granted, so please consider this carefully before traveling internationally during your extension period.

Travel in the United States

During your Career Training USA program, you are welcome to travel throughout the United States as you please. Travel validation is not required for domestic trips. Be sure to discuss planned vacation dates with your host employer early in your program to make the most of your time off. Any independent travel you do during your program is your responsibility and will be at your own expense.

You should always travel with your passport, your valid DS-2019 Form, and an unexpired I-94 card or a printout or your electronic I-94 record, especially if you will travel to Hawaii, Alaska, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, or any state that borders Canada or Mexico, as your connecting flights, buses, trains or boats may potentially route you through other countries.

For more information and inspiration regarding traveling in the U.S. during your program, take a look at our Cultural Compass!

Travel at the End of Your Program: The 30-Day Grace Period

At the end of your program, you will have a grace period of up to 30 days for personal travel. Both your DS-2019 Form and J-1 Visa will expire during this time. If you leave the U.S. at all during this travel period, you will not be allowed to re-enter the U.S. unless you secure a visa for a new program or a tourist waiver. If you’re denied entry, you will be responsible for paying for your own plane ticket home.

Additional Information for Travel

  • Always keep your passport up-to-date. You must have at least six months remaining on your passport before it expires in order to re-enter the U.S.

  • You may need a visa to enter the country that you are planning to visit. Your U.S. J-1 Visa does not give you the ability to enter any country except the United States. To check visa requirements, visit that country’s embassy website before you travel.

  • When you travel, you will need to take all of your original documents with you. Photocopies are not valid travel documentation.

  • If you lost your passport during your program and need a replacement, you will not be able to travel internationally and return to the U.S., as your replacement passport will not have a J-1 Visa in it. If you are from a visa waiver country and re-enter the U.S. on a tourist visa, you will not be able to legally continue interning or training with your host employer.

  • The decision regarding whether you are allowed back into the United States is not under InterExchange’s control. While interns and trainees have rarely had problems in the past, there is always a small chance you will not be allowed back into the U.S. You will need to take this into consideration when making your decision about whether to travel internationally.

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