Travel Tips for J-1 Scholars and H-1B Employees

  • 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 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.
  • If you received a paper I-94 card when you entered the U.S., you will need to surrender your card when you depart (except for trips under Automatic Visa Revalidation). If you currently have an electronic I-94 record, CBP will document your departure using information obtained from the commercial carrier. Although you are not required to print your electronic I-94 record, it is strongly suggested that you print it and carry it with you, prior to boarding the air or sea carrier.
    • Please note: If you previously possessed a paper I-94 card and surrendered it during your departure, you will not receive another paper I-94 card when you re-enter the U.S., unless you re-enter through land. Instead, you will begin using the electronic I-94 system and receive an admission stamp in your passport noting your date of admission, status admitted in, and admitted until date.
    • Electronic I-94 records can be retrieved from www.cbp.gov/i94.
  • 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.
  • 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 international-affairs@uchicago.edu. 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.