Traveling On A J-1 Visa

Travel in the U.S. 

You are free to travel anywhere in the U.S. while you are on your J-1 visa. This includes Alaska and Hawaii! Just be careful if you transit through any other countries – then you might need a visa. 

Visiting Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virigin Islands, or the Northern Mariana Islands

These islands are considered part of the United States, so you are allowed to travel to and from these locations while on your U.S. visa. It is recommended that you carry all visa documents (passport, DS-2019, DS-7002) during your travels. 

Traveling Outside the U.S.

If you are planning to travel outside the U.S. while on your J-1 visa, you should ensure all of your visa documents are in order to allow you to return. Unless you are traveling to Canada, Mexico, or some of the Caribbean islands (see the information below), then the U.S. entry visa in your passport must be valid in order to return to the U.S. Additionally, your DS-2019 must still be valid and we recommend that you have a MAST staff member sign the travel validation section on your DS-2019 before you travel. Additionally, your passport must be valid for six months beyond your MAST program end date.

If the entry visa in your passport is expired, you will need to apply for a new entry visa outside of the U.S. before you can return. Your DS-2019 must still be valid. Applying for a new entry visa will require you to pay the visa application fee again ($160) and possible re-paying the visa issuance fee.

Traveling During Your 30-Day Grace Period

You can travel anywhere in the U.S. during your 30 day grace period after the end of your program. If you leave the U.S. during the 30 day grace period, you cannot return on your J-1 visa. If you want to return to the U.S., you must return on a tourist visa. You can find more information about U.S. tourist visas here: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/us-visas/tourism-visit/visitor.html

Visiting Canada

Many MAST trainees choose to take a trip to Canada while they are in the USA. Depending on where you are from, this may require a visitor visa. This can take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months to process and be approved, so you should plan well in advance. You can find out if you need a visa here: http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/visit/visas.asp

Regardless of if you need a visa to visit Canada, you will also need to ensure that your U.S. visa documents are in order before you travel. Return to the U.S. is allowed even if the entry visa in your passport is expired, but you must still have time remaining on your DS-2019. You should have a MAST staff member sign the travel validation section on your DS-2019 before you travel.

If you are traveling on your 30 day grace period after you complete your training, you will not be allowed to return to the U.S. on your J-1 visa. If you want to return to the U.S., you must return on a tourist visa. You can find more information about U.S. tourist visas here: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/us-visas/tourism-visit/visitor.html

Visiting Mexico

You may not need a visa to visit Mexico if you have a valid U.S. visa. Please see this webpage for more details. We recommend contacting the Mexican consualte in Saint Paul to make certain you understand the visa requirements. 

You will need to be sure that your U.S. visa documents are in order before you travel. Returning to the U.S. is allowed even if the entry visa in your passport is expired, but you must still have time remaining on your DS-2019. You should have a MAST staff member sign the travel validation section on your DS-2019 before you travel.

If you are traveling on your 30 day grace period after you complete your training, you may need a visa to visit Mexico. This webpage lists the countries which require a visa: https://www.inm.gob.mx/gobmx/word/index.php/paises-requieren-visa-para-mexico/. After leaving the U.S. on your 30 day grace period, you will not be allowed to return to the U.S. on your J-1 visa. If you want to return to the U.S., you must return on a tourist visa. You can find more information about U.S. tourist visas here: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/us-visas/tourism-visit/visitor.html

Visiting Caribbean/Adjacent Islands

These instructions apply to following islands: Saint Pierre, Miquelon, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Bermuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Jamaica, The Windward and Leeward Island, Trinidad, Martinique, and other British, French, and Netherlands territory or possessions in or bordering on the Caribbean Sea.

These countries may require you to obtain a visa before visiting; you should check if this is required at least a few months before you travel.

After visiting these Caribbean islands, returning to the U.S. is allowed even if the entry visa in your passport is expired, but you must still have time remaining on your DS-2019. You should have a MAST staff member sign the travel validation section on your DS-2019 before you travel.

If you are traveling on your 30 day grace period after you complete your training, you will not be allowed to return to the U.S. on your J-1 visa. If you want to return to the U.S., you must return on a tourist visa. You can find more information about U.S. tourist visas here: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/us-visas/tourism-visit/visitor.html

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