Visa & Travel Information
- Traveling Outside the US
- Reentry Into the US
- Obtaining a New Visa
- Administrative Processing/Security Checks
- Automatic Visa Revalidation
Traveling Outside the US
Before entering another country, contact the country's consulate or embassy and obtain a visa if one is required for individuals from your country of citizenship and for the purpose of your visit.
Academic Services can provide a letter verifying your appointment/employment at Salk. If there have been any changes in your employment, such as job title, location, or duties, or J-1 funding source(s), consult Academic Services before traveling. Please notify Academic Services of your travel dates and plans in advance if you would like a verification letter.
J-1s/J-2s, E-3s/E-3Ds, and TNs/TDs: You must maintain nonimmigrant intent and/or demonstrate that you will depart from the US at the end of your current nonimmigrant status.
Always carry your immigration documents with you, including what you will need for reentry to the US. Do not pack them in checked luggage.
Reentry into the US
It is important that you carefully check the I-94 card issued to you upon each entry to the US, as the expiration date specified on the I-94 card is the date by which you must leave the US.
- J-1s and J-2 dependents: Your I-94 card should specify your status, "J-1" or "J-2," and "D/S" for duration of status. If you are ever given a specific expiration date, be sure to check with the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer at the Port of Entry if no reason is given.
If you are given a specific expiration date, consult Academic Services no later than 5 days upon reentry to the US.
- H-1Bs, H-4 dependents, O-1s, and O-3 dependents: Your I-94 card should specify your status, "H-1B," "H-4," "O-1," or "O-3," and the expiration date of the H-1B/O-1 Approval Notice. (At the discretion of the CBP officer, a 10-day grace period in which to prepare for departure may be added). Please check with the CBP officer at the Port of Entry if you think an incorrect expiration date is given.
If the expiration date granted is earlier than the H-1B/O-1 Approval Notice, consult Academic Services no later than 5 days upon reentry to the US.
Note: If your passport expires prior to the expiration of the H-1B/O-1 Approval Notice, the CBP officer may specify on the I-94 card an expiration date matching your passport expiration date. In such a case, consult Academic Services within 5 days of reentry to the US.
We recommend you keep copies of your current immigration documents each time they are updated, including each time you receive a new I-94 card from reentry to the US.
J-1 Scholars (or J-2 dependents) must carry the following:
- Valid passport (for at least 6 months from date of return to the US)
- Valid J-1 (or J-2) visa in passport
- Valid Form DS-2019
- It must be signed for travel at the bottom right within 1 year from date of return to US.
- Previously issued Forms DS-2019, if applicable (recommended)
- If changed status to J-1 (or J-2) within the US, Form I-797 Approval Notice
- Evidence of J-1 employment/appointment at Salk, such as verification letter from Academic Services. If not solely funded by Salk, also carry a recent letter from financial sponsor. (recommended)
- For J-2s:
- (Copy of) marriage or birth certificate showing relationship to J-1
- If traveling without J-1 carry copies of J-1's immigration documents including valid I-94 card, if applicable (recommended)
H-1Bs (or H-4 dependents) and O-1s (or O-3 dependents) must carry:
- Valid passport (for at least 6 months from date of return to the US)
- Valid H-1B (or H-4)/O-1 (or O-3) visa in passport
- Original Form I-797, H-1B (or H-4) /O-1 (or O-3) Approval Notice
- Previously issued Forms I-797, H-1B (or H-4)/O-1 (or O-3) Approval Notices, if applicable (recommended)
- Copy of I-129 (H-1B/O-1) petition packet (recommended)
- Evidence of H-1/O-1 employment at Salk, such as verification letter from Academic Services (or 2 - 3 most recent Salk paystubs). (recommended)
- For H-4s/O-3s:
- (Copy of) marriage or birth certificate showing relationship to H-1B/O-1
- If traveling without principal H-1B/O-1, carry copies of H-1B's/O-1's immigration documents including valid I-94 card, if applicable (recommended)
TNs and E-3s should consult Academic Services.
J Status with a DS-2019 Not Signed Within the Past Year:
Anyone in J status should have their DS-2019 signed by the (Alternate) Responsible Officer in Academic Services at the bottom right for re-entry to the United States. The date of the travel signature should be no older than one year from the date of entry. If an exchange visitor tries to enter the US with no signature or one that is more than one year old, he/she might be admitted without further question or be sent to secondary inspection where a CBP officer could issue Form I-515A and admit the person for only 30 days. Always keep in mind that admission to the US is at the discretion of CBP. Form I-515A is issued to allow correction of status duration by mailing (or, in certain circumstances by faxing) the required documentation to the Student and Exchange Visitor Program office in Washington, DC, for deferred inspection.
If you are issued an I-515A, consult Academic Services within 5 days of reentry to the US. Do not attempt to respond without consulting Academic Services to confirm procedures and current mailing address. Boarding a flight and entry to the US are at the discretion of the airline and US Customs and Border Protection, respectively; however, not having a valid signature does not usually prevent one from being able to return to the US.
Forgotten/ Lost/ Stolen Documents
Obtaining a New Visa (Stamp)
If you will be traveling outside the US and you do not have a US visa (stamp) that will be valid for your nonimmigrant status upon your return, you must obtain one at a US embassy or consulate abroad prior to reentering the US. (Visa stamps are not normally required for Canadian citizens.)
It is recommended that you apply for a visa in your home country. Although some consulates may allow third country nationals to apply for visas in some circumstances, this may cause delays and/or it may be difficult to prove nonimmigrant intent if required by your nonimmigrant status. If delayed or denied a visa, you will not be allowed to reenter the United States and will either have to wait until the visa is approved or return to your home country directly to reapply for a visa there.
For information regarding documentation and paperwork necessary in addition to what is listed above under Reentry into the US, consult the US embassy or consulate that you will visit prior to traveling outside the US. Allow ample time to make the visa appointment and receive your visa. Individuals can check general visa wait times by US consular location.
For information about visa fees, length of visa, specific types of documents accepted for visa issuance (e.g., birth or marriage certificates), and issuing posts for a particular country, go to http://travel.state.gov/visa/fees/fees_1341.html.
Note for Js subject to the Two-Year Home Country Physical Presence Requirement: If you have begun the process of applying for a J-1 waiver recommendation, it may be very difficult or impossible to obtain a new J visa for reentry to the US. Consult Academic Services prior to setting your travel plans.
Administrative Processing/Security Checks
Visa applicants will undergo administrative processing/security checks. Administrative processing can result in delay or denial of a visa. Because of this, you should apply for the visa well in advance of the date you wish to travel to the US. There is no way to predict with certainty who will be subject to these checks or how long they will take. However, you are more likely to be subject to an in-depth security check if any of the following criteria apply to you:
- You are applying for a visa in a third country.
- You are coming from or have traveled in certain countries, including those countries on the US Department of State's list of State Sponsors of Terrorism.
- You are engaged either professionally or academically in any of the fields listed on the US Department of State's Technology Alert List ("TAL"). These fields include, but are not limited to: engineering, chemistry, biology, physics.
An additional letter for the US consulate or embassy from your PI/Supervisor may also be helpful.