U.S. Reentry Documents
Participants (with J-1 visa) who would like to go on vacation with their host parents out of the U.S. must make sure they have the following travel documents: valid passport, endorsed DS-2019 (Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor J-1 Status), multiple-entry J-1 visa stamp, and a copy of the I-94 Arrival/Departure Record. See important details below re: Verifying documents for foreign participants traveling outside the U.S.
Entry documents for countries to be visited
It is the responsibility of participants to contact the consular offices in the U.S. or consult the consular website of the country(ies) they are to visit and make sure that they have the proper visa and documentation to be admitted to that country.
Websites of Foreign Embassies in the U.S.: https://www.state.gov/s/cpr/32122.htm
Embassies in Washington, D.C.: http://www.embassy.org/embassies/
Travel to Canada and Mexico
Please be advised that a visa may be required for a hosted participant to travel to Canada or Mexico. It is the participant’s responsibility to determine whether a visa is necessary and to obtain one. Contact the local Canadian or Mexican consulate for further information or consult the following websites:
Embassy of Canada – http://www.cic.gc.ca/
Embassy of Mexico -- http://www.embassyofmexico.org/
Canada and Mexico also require minors entering and/or departing their countries to present a Parental Consent Form. This is a notarized letter of permission signed by either or both natural parents (not present at the crossing) giving the participant permission to travel without them. Photo or fax copies will not be accepted, the form with original parental signature/s and notary seal is required. The Parental Consent Form should not be sent to AFS as it is not an AFS requirement, but rather the natural parents should send the form directly to the participant. Not all border officials demand to see the form, nevertheless, it is a requirement and therefore it is important that minor visitors are able to present it upon demand. In order to avoid additional border processing or delays, it is necessary for host parents and student to be well informed of the immigration requirements for country/ies to be visited.
Automatic Revalidation of U.S. Visa
For participants with an expired J-1 visa stamp in their passports, their visas will be considered automatically revalidated when they re-enter the U.S. from Canada or Mexico as long as ALL of the following are true, they: 1) have been in Canada or Mexico for less than 30 days, 2) have a current I-94 record stating valid status D/S, 3) have an expired multiple-entry J-1 visa in the passport, 4) are in possession of a DS-2019 form endorsed for travel, 5) do not apply for a U.S. visa while in Canada or Mexico, and 6) are not from one of the countries currently considered by the U.S. federal government to be state sponsors of terrorism.
For automatic revalidation to apply, participants must present a printout of their I-94 record along with their valid passport, expired multiple-entry J-1 visa, and endorsed DS-2019, when they reenter the U.S. For details, refer to the U.S Department of State website at:
In the case of a Sponsored Program participant (YES, FLEX and CB scholarship recipients), the documentation is the same as above except that the Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visiting (J-1) Status (DS-2019) can only be endorsed by the US Department of State. (See Verifying Documents for Sponsored Programs Participants Traveling Outside the U.S. section for a description of the signature process).
Verifying documents for core hosted participants traveling outside the U.S.
- Participant must verify that his or her passport is valid. Check the front of the passport to determine the expiration date. An expired passport cannot be used for international travel. The passport must first be renewed at the consulate with jurisdiction over the participant’s state or city of residence
- Verify that the participant's J-1 visa is still valid. The J-1 visa appears as a holographic stamp on the passport. Also check that the visa allows “multiple entries”. A single entry visa cannot be used to re-enter the United States as it is considered cancelled after the initial entry. However, expired multiple-entry visa may be used for reentry to the US with a valid DS-2019 form and I-94 record under limited exceptions, see – Automatic Revalidation above.
- Print out a copy of the I-94 record before departure from the U.S. from the Customs & Border Protection (CBP) website.
- The participant must ensure that the Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor (J-1) Status DS-2019 has been endorsed in Box 7 by an AFS Responsible Officer or Alternate Responsible Officer (RO/ARO) prior to traveling outside the US. The participant should mail the Certificate of Eligibility (DS-2019) to the attention of the Travel & Logistics Coordinator/AROat least three weeks before the intended travel. The ARO will endorse the form, which states that a participant is in good standing with the program, and will return the form by mail to the participant. If the participant wishes for the form to be returned by overnight or any other type of courier service, they must include a prepaid mailing envelope for this purpose. Forms received without pre-paid courier envelopes will be sent back by regular mail. (Please note, the signature required on the Certificate of Eligibility (DS-2019) is that of the "Responsible Officer or Alternate Responsible Officer” only. See also Travel Checklist.
Mailing Address: AFS-USA c/o Travel & Logistics Coordinator
120 Wall Street 4th Floor
New York, NY 10005
Verifying documents for sponsored programs participants traveling outside the U.S.
See section 1 – 3 above.
- Any travel with the host family to an international destination requires approval by American Councils of International Education and in some cases, the U.S. Department of State. International travel requests must be submitted to AFS-USA 4-6 weeks prior to the desired travel date for consideration. AFS-USA strongly advises YES, FLEX, and CBYX students to refrain from booking any travel accommodations before obtaining approval from American Councils and/or the U.S. Department of state. If approved, YES and FLEX host families will need to mail the student’s DS-2019 to American Councils of International Education (address to be provided) with a tracking number, to obtain endorsement. Once the DS-2019 is endorsed, American Councils of International Education will then mail the DS-2019 back to the host family, with a tracking number. CBYX students will undergo the same process, however, they will send their DS-2019 directly to the U.S. Department of State for endorsement.
Note: the original DS-2019 form must be sent via courier (UPS, FedEx, etc) when going to the US Department of State, as all standard postal service documents are delayed by weeks in their internal screening processes. Students must also include a pre-paid mailing envelope for return. Any forms received without prepaid courier envelopes, will be sent back by regular mail, and we cannot guarantee how quickly they will be returned.