Travel Tips for Employees & Scholars

  • When traveling abroad or within the US, you should always carry all relevant travel documents.
  • Always use the most recently issued DS-2019 form or H-1B/TN/E-3 packet. All previous documents should be kept for record keeping purposes, but are not required for travel.
  • Valid documents, including a valid visa, do not guarantee admission to the US.  Admission is always granted at the discretion of the port of entry officer.
  • Authorization to work in the U.S. does not exempt you from visa requirements.
  • Reminder to generate your I-94 record when you re-enter the U.S.
  • For J-1 Scholars, a travel signature on your DS-2019 form is not required to leave the U.S. (although it may be required to obtain entry to Canada or Mexico as proof of return in the case of a third country national), but is required to re-enter the US.
  • For J-1 Scholars who will be outside the U.S. for more than 30 days and will be participating in J-1 program activities should request an Out of Country designation to their SEVIS record. 
  • If you have to leave the U.S. suddenly, for example because of an emergency, and don't have a travel signature on your DS-2019 to return, contact our office as soon as possible via e-mail at We can assist you while you are abroad.
  • If you will be visiting a third country, ensure that you have the proper entry documents for that country. To locate a consulate in Chicago or elsewhere in the U.S., click here.
  • Under no circumstances should you re-enter the U.S. on a B-1/B-2 visa or under the visa waiver program while you are enrolled or employed here. Employment is prohibited under those statuses and you would be in violation of that status and would have to leave and re-enter the U.S. again to resume your activities.
  • Domestic travel in the U.S. usually doesn't require you to carry your original status document, as a copy will usually suffice.  However, you should carry your original passport or valid state identification card/license that complies with the Real ID requirements.

    Every air traveler 18 years of age or older will need a “REAL ID” compliant driver’s license, state issued “enhanced” driver’s license or valid passport to fly within the United States or to access high security Federal Government Buildings including Argonne, Fermilabs and Federal Courts. Enforcement of the law will become effective May 7, 2025. This change has the potential to impact faculty, executives, staff, students, guests and contractors. For more information in Illinois, call 1-833-503-4074 or see online resources at