This page has information on travel and entry into the US for scholars and employees in UVM-sponsored nonimmigrant visa status. To travel outside of and return the US using your H-1B, J-1, or TN documents, you must be currently affiliated with the university and be returning to continue your employment or formal affiliation with the university.
After each entry to the US, visit the US Department of Homeland Security's website to check your new I-94 arrival document. Save a copy to keep with your immigration records. If the I-94 does not indicate D/S (for J status) or match the approval end date (for H status) OR if you cannot find your electronic record, notify OIE immediately.
Documents Needed for Entry
All nonimmigrant visa holders re-entering the US after temporary travel abroad require the following documents:
- Valid passport that does not expire within the next 6 months
- Valid visa for your status if you are not Canadian
- There is an exception for "Automatic Revalidation" - see details below
- Need a new visa? See the Applying for a Nonimmigrant Visa page for more information
See below for additional documents needed for re-entry to the US listed by visa status:
- Original H-1B approval notice (Form I-797)
- Copy of the approved Labor Condition Application and Form I-129/H-1B petition
- Re-entry letter from the OIE (recommended but not required). Make request to the OIE two weeks in advance of travel by email to InternationalScholars@uvm.edu submitting your name, place and dates of intended travel, and whether the trip will be for business or personal reasons
- Current, valid DS-2019 with valid travel signature. Travel signatures are valid for up to 12 months (or end of document if it is valid for less than 12 months)
Note: J-1 scholars who plan to be outside the US more than 30 days should inform the OIE, as longer periods may result in early termination of the J immigration status and hinder the scholar’s ability to re-enter to the US.
- Form I-94 issued at prior arrival in TN status
- Copy of job offer letter from hiring department
- Copy of support letter from UVM Office of International Education
- Original academic credentials or certified copies; if credentials obtained outsie the U.S., Canada or Mexico, also have a credentials evaluation. Any documents not in English must have an official translation.
- U.S. $56 fee
Automatic visa revalidation is when you re-enter the US with an expired visa after short trip to Canada or Mexico (or for J-1 scholars, an island that is adjacent to the US). You do not need to apply for automatic visa revalidation. That is why it is called “automatic.” However, it is a good idea to know the phrase “automatic visa revalidation" if you choose to re-enter the US in this way.
To re-enter the US on automatic visa revalidation, all of the following must be true
- You are not using this travel to change your status (ex: if you were a J-1 visa holder and now hold an H-1B but no H-1B visa stamp in your passport, you cannot reenter on the J-1 visa)
- You have a valid passport
- You have a DS-2019 with a valid travel signature or a copy of your H-1B Approval Notice and other H documents.
- Your trip was no longer than 30 days.
- You did not apply for a new US visa during your trip.
- You only visited Canada or Mexico (or an adjacent island for J-1s). See the Student and Exchange Visitor Program’s website for a list of adjacent islands.
- You are not a resident of Mexico or an adjacent island nation who was traveling to your home country.
- You are not traveling on a passport from a country listed as a State Sponsor of Terrorism See the Department of State’s website for a current list of State Sponsors of Terrorism.
What to Expect When Entering the US
Everyone entering the US at a land or airport Port of Entry is likely to be inspected by US Customs and Border Protection (CBP). This is true for US citizens and citizens of other countries. Anyone who wants to lawfully enter the US must prove that they are eligible to enter to the US. The CBP officer at the border makes the decision if a person is eligible to enter the US. You must show your passport, visa, and other supporting documents. The CBP officer will review your travel documents to confirm your identity and nationality, and ask questions about your visit to the US.
Most nonimmigrants will have their digital finger prints and photograph taken. If the CBP officer decides that you may enter the US, the CBP officer will place an admission stamp in your passport. The stamp has your date of entry, your visa class, and the duration of your admission. For most travelers, this screening process takes no more than a few minutes.
Commonly asked questions from CBP
- What is your country of citizenship?
- Why are you coming to the US?
- Where are you employed?
- What is your job?
- Where will you be living?
- What is your permanent residence abroad?
- What means do you have to support yourself financially during your stay in the US?
What is Secondary Inspection?
If CBP officers at a port of entry need more information to decide if you can enter the US, you may be sent to an interview area known as secondary inspection. During secondary inspection, the CBP officer may ask you detailed questions about your purpose for visiting the US and immigration history. You may be asked to produce additional documentation. Both you and your belongings may be searched extensively. This can sometimes take several hours to complete. We recommend that you have the OIE's contact information handy in the event you are placed in secondary inspection. During standard business hours, call the OIE directly at +1-802-656-4296. Outside of standard business hours, call UVM Police Services at +1-802-656-3473. UVM Police Services will be able to connect you to an OIE staff member.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I travel if my extension or permanent residency process is active with the OIE?
If the OIE is working on an extension of your status, or if you are in the permanent residency process, please contact us before planning any international travel to understand how travel may affect these applications.
What if my passport will expire less than 6 months before I re-enter the US?
In many cases, you can and should renew your passport before you leave while you are in the US. Contact your embassy or consulate for details.
What is an I-94?
Form I-94 is an arrival and departure record that documents a legal entry into the United States. our I-94 is the only document that confirms your immigration status and controls your authorized period of stay. Every time you re-enter the US, your I-94 record will be updated when you pass through CBP inspection.
My I-94 says that I was admitted only until my passport expiration date. What should I do?
Sometimes, CBP officers will use the end date on a passport, instead of the end date of the approved status, when admitting individuals into the US. This is why it is important to check your I-94 after every entry. Contact the OIE if your I-94 shows your passport expiration date as the end date.
Help! I'm stuck at the border
If you have problems at the border, you can contact the OIE. During standard business hours, call the OIE directly at +1-802-656-4296. Outside of standard business hours, call UVM Police Services at +1-802-656-3473. UVM Police Services will be able to connect you to an OIE staff member. Even if you do not call us from the border, we want to know about any issues that you have. Please contact us to share your experiences.