Traveling in the United States
Do you want to stroll the sunny beaches of California, explore historical sites in Washington, D.C., or go skiing in Colorado? You can! During your Career Training USA program, you are welcome to travel throughout the United States as you please. 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.
During your program you should be able to travel internationally and return to the U.S. without any problem as long as:
- You have a valid, unexpired passport.
- Your J-1 Visa is marked with an "M" under "Entries" in your passport. This means you are allowed multiple entries to the U.S.
- Your J-1 Visa is not expired.
- Your DS-2019 Form is still valid.
- You have mailed or brought your DS-2019 Form to the InterExchange office in New York for a travel validation signature. Please alert our office that you need your DS-2019 Form signed prior to coming in/mailing it, and allow at least two to three weeks for return service in the mail.
- You check the visa requirements of the country you are traveling to and secure any necessary visas.
- You take your passport, DS-2019 Form, and I-94 card or printout of your electronic I-94 record with you.
- You may not spend more than 30 consecutive days outside of the U.S. during your J-1 program.
- InterExchange must be notified of your international travel plans and sign your DS-2019 Form before you travel.
- Travel validation signatures are good for six months. If you plan on traveling again more than six months after InterExchange signs your DS-2019 Form, InterExchange will have to sign your form again.
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 might be possible to apply for a new J-1 Visa back in your home country, there is no guarantee the visa will be granted, so please consider this carefully before traveling internationally during your extension period.
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 be expired during this time and you are no longer eligible for automatic visa revalidation. If you leave the U.S. at all during this travel period, you will not be allowed to re-enter the U.S. and will be responsible for paying for your own plane ticket home.
Additional Rules For Traveling
- 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 working 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 or not to travel.
For more information and inspiration regarding traveling during your program, check out some of our blog posts: