Traveling Outside the U.S.
We know you want to travel and explore new places during your stay in the United States. You can easily travel to other states, including Alaska and Hawaii. However, traveling outside the U.S. is more complicated and requires planning ahead. Please read guidelines below carefully before planning a trip outside the U.S. or to a U.S. territory including Puerto Rico or the U.S. Virgin Islands.
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.
- If you are returning to the United States, you must reenter the country before your SEVIS end date. Custom and Border Protection will interview all students for admission & eligibility.
- If you travel during your program, you should have a job to return to.
- 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.
- Be sure to check the U.S. Department of State’s website for special travel alerts and advisories.
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 after you’ve finished working. Both your DS-2019 Form and J-1 Visa will be expired during this time. If you leave the U.S. during this travel period, you likely will not be allowed to re-enter the U.S. and will be responsible for paying for your own plane ticket home.
Visiting Canada (including the Canadian side of Niagara Falls)
Some participants on our programs will need a tourist visa to enter Canada. Please check this website for the most up to date information.
A tourist visa to enter Canada may be obtained by applying in person at a Canadian Consulate or Embassy. Canadian Consulates are located in the following U.S. cities:
- New York, NY
- Buffalo, NY
- Detroit, MI
- Los Angeles, CA
- Seattle, WA
- Washington, D.C.
For phone numbers to the Consulates, you may contact the Embassy in Washington, D.C., at 1.202.682.1740 or call information for the city in which you are interested.
To apply for a Canadian tourist visa, you must submit the following:
- A completed application form
- A valid passport (the Embassy recommends it be valid for a minimum of six months)
- A valid multiple-entry J-1 Visa (valid for at least three months)
- Electronic I-94 arrival record available at www.cbp.gov/i94
- DS-2019 Form
- Confirmed airline ticket to your home country
- Proof of funds (such as a bank statement)
- 2 passport-size photographs (with your name and date of birth written on the back)
- Visa processing fee for single entry or multiple-entry visas
Additional documents may be required; visit the Embassy’s website or call them for more information.
Please note: Canadian Border Control will not issue a visa if there are fewer than 30 days left before your J-1 Visa expiration date. Additionally, you will only be allowed to enter Canada and return to the U.S. before the expiration date listed on your J-1 Visa and DS-2019 Form.
If you will be traveling to Mexico for tourism for up to six months and you have a valid U.S. Visa, it is not necessary to apply for a Mexican visa. You only need to fill out a migratory form that will be provided in the plane or port of entry.
Please note: You will only be allowed to re-enter the United States before the expiration date listed on your J-1 Visa and DS-2019 Form, or the date indicated as your departure date on your I-94 print-out (remember that D/S means “Duration of Status,” which is 30 days after the last date written on your DS-2019 Form), whichever is earlier. Take your DS-2019 Form with you to Mexico.
Please remember, if you are returning to the United States, you must reenter the country before your SEVIS end date. If you travel in the middle of your program, you should have a job to return to.
Visiting Countries Other than Canada and Mexico
If you decide to travel to countries other than Canada and Mexico, you will need to contact each country’s Embassy to find out whether you need a tourist visa. You must also contact InterExchange in advance of your departure to have your DS-2019 Form signed by a responsible officer of InterExchange, indicating that you are in good standing on the program. The DS-2019 Form must be signed by InterExchange before you leave the U.S. for travel!
Note: It is common for cruises to visit international destinations so check with the cruise line for an exact travel itinerary.
Consulates and Embassies in the United States
During your program, you may need to contact your home country’s Consulate or Embassy to let them know you are traveling outside the U.S. Please visit your Consulate or Embassy website for the most up-to-date contact information.
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.
- If you lose 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 Work and Travel USA participants have rarely had problems in the past, there is always a chance you will not be readmitted into the U.S. You will need to take this into consideration when making your decision about whether or not to travel.