This page has information on travel to a country which is not your home country, applying for a new or renewal visa overseas and what to carry for return to the US for J-1 Scholars and H-1B Workers.  To travel outside of and return the US using your J-1 or H-1B 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.  Also email a copy to OIE at InternationalScholars@uvm.edu. 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.

Travel to Any Country Which Is Not Your Home Country

Your country of citizenship or legal permanent residence will determine your need for a visa to enter and/or travel through another country.  For example, a citizen of the United Kingdom may not need a visa to visit Canada, but a citizen of the People's Republic of China will need a Canadian visa.  Check with the embassy or consulate of each country you intend to visit to determine if you need a visa.  Links to foreign embassy websites can be found at www.embassy.org.  Applying for visas can be costly and time consuming, so plan several months in advance.  Remember, if your plane is landing in another country temporarily, you may need a transit visa even if you will not exit the plane.

For more information on travel to Canada and on applying for a US visa outside of your home country, please see the OIE's pages on Travel to Canada and Applying for a US Visa in Another Country.  If you plan to apply for a US visa while in Canada, please inform the OIE by emailing InternationalScholars@uvm.edu.

Automatic Revalidation

Automatic visa revalidation is when you re-enter the US with an expired visa after short trip to Canada, Mexico or an adjacent island.  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, Mexico or an adjacent island.  See the Student and Exchange Visitor Program’s website for a list of adjacent islands.

N.B. Residents of Mexico or adjacent island nations who are returning to the US from their home countries may not be able to use automatic revalidation and are advised to have a valid visa.

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.”  You might need to tell the Customs and Border Patrol officer that you are re-entering the US on automatic visa revalidation.

Scholars traveling on a passport from a country listed as a State Sponsor of Terrorism are not eligible for automatic visa revalidation.  See the Department of State’s website for a current list of State Sponsors of Terrorism.

J-1 and J-2 Travel and Visa Renewal

J-1 visa holders should have these documents for travel outside of the US:

  • Current, valid passport.
  • 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). For an updated signature, email InternationalScholars@uvm.edu.
  • Current, valid J-1 visa stamp in passport.
    N.B. An expired visa is valid for persons re-entering the US from Canada, Mexico or adjacent island nations after a visit of fewer than 30 days. See conditions for automatic visa revalidation above.
  • I-94, either printed from the Department of Homeland Security or a hard copy provided by CBP at a land port or by USCIS after a change of status application.

J-1 scholars who plan to be outside the US more than 30 days should inform the OIE at InternationalScholars@uvm.edu 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.

If applying for a new or renewal J-1 visa stamp at a US embassy or consulate, also carry:

  • Current, valid DS-2019 with valid travel signature and all previous DS-2019s.  Travel signatures are valid for up to 12 months (or end of document if it is valid for less than 12 months).
  • Original evidence of financial support (personal bank statements, UVM department letter of support, support letter from government or home institution, etc.).
  • Evidence of your intention to return to home country upon completion of your program in the US - proof of “ties to home country” such as a job offer in home country, family ties, or property in home country.
  • Letter from supervisor or advisor addressing sensitive technology issues if you work in a sensitive field with military or possible military application.
  • All other documents required by the US embassy or consulate at which you are applying for a visa.  Access specific country and consulate information through the US Embassy website.  Check for fees, application procedures, processing times, holiday breaks, etc.

J-2 dependents traveling outside of the US separately from J-1 visa holder should carry:

  • Separate DS-2019 issued for dependent(s).  To request a DS-2019 for J-2 dependents, contact OIE at InternationalScholars@uvm.edu.
  • Current valid passport and J-2 visa stamp.
  • Copies of the passport, visa, and current DS-2019 of the primary J-1 holder.
  • Copies of marriage certificate in English or with English translation (for visa application).
  • All other documents required by the US embassy or consulate at which you are applying for a visa. Access specific country and consulate information through the US Embassy website.  Check for fees, application procedures, processing times, holiday breaks, etc.

H-1B and H-4 Travel and Visa Renewal

H-1B employees traveling outside the US should carry the following documents:

  • Current, valid passport.
  • Current, valid H-1B visa stamp in passport.
    N.B. An expired visa is valid for persons re-entering the US from Canada, Mexico or adjacent island nations after a visit of fewer than 30 days. See conditions for automatic visa revalidation above.
  • Original of the I-797 H-1B Approval Notice.
  • I-94, either printed from the Department of Homeland Security or a hard copy provided by CBP at a land port or by USCIS after a change of status application or extension of stay.
  • Copy of the approved Labor Condition Application and Form I-129/Application for H-1B status.
  • 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.

If applying for a new or renewal H-1B visa at a US embassy or consulate, also carry:

  • All documents recommended above for travel PLUS 3-4 recent pay statements.
  • Copy of complete H-1B petition.
  • A letter from the OIE in support of your H-1B visa stamp application. Request letter from InternationalScholars@uvm.edu. Make the request to the OIE a minimum of two weeks in advance of travel by email to InternationalScholars@uvm.edu submitting your name, place and dates of intended travel, city & country location of US embassy or consulate where you will be applying for your visa and whether the trip will be for business or personal reasons.
  • Academic documents showing degree(s) obtained.
  • Resume or CV, including list of publications (if relevant). All other documents required at US embassy or consulate overseas. Access specific country and consulate information through the US Embassy website.  Check for fees, application procedures, processing times, holiday breaks, etc.

Notes:

  • Dual intent implies that that individual may choose to remain in the US on a more permanent basis (as a permanent resident, also called “green card holder”). Therefore, visa applicants at a US embassy or consulate overseas should not be overly concerned about the need to prove ties to home country.
  • Before a visa can be issued, the embassy or consulate must verify the approval of the H-1B petition in the Department of State PIMS (Petition Information Management System) before issuing the H visa stamp.  All H-1B approvals - initial, extensions, amendments, and changes of status cases – will be entered into PIMS.  If an H-1B visa applicant is not found in PIMS at time of the H visa application, there will be a delay until the embassy or consulate can confirm the details of the H-1B approval.

H-4 dependents traveling outside of the US separately from H-1B holder should carry:

  • Current valid passport and H-4 visa stamp.
  • Copy of the H-1B Approval Notice, visa stamp, and passport of the primary H-1B holder.
  • If change of status to H-4 was granted in the US, carry the USCIS Approval Notice granting H-4 status
  • Copies of marriage certificate in English or with English translation (for visa application).
  • Additional proof of the relationship, such as wedding or other photos of the H-4 dependent(s) with the H-1B employee, may be helpful for the visa application—review the embassy or consulate website for guidance.