If you are a scholar in J-status or J-2 dependent, you will need is a travel signature to re-enter the US in J-status after a visit abroad. Without such a travel signature, you may be denied entry into the US at the border, even if all your other documents are in order.
To obtain a travel signature, you should visit OIA before you leave the US and bring your DS-2019 form. No appointment is needed. The process takes a few minutes only. Should it not be possible to obtain a travel signature before you leave the US, you may send the DS-2019 form to OIA via mail to obtain the travel validation.
Travel signatures are valid for one calendar year, or until the DS-2019 form is replaced, whichever occurs earlier. Should you intend to return more than one year after your travel signature expires, please be sure to obtain a new travel validation before your return.