International Students & Scholars Office

Travel for J-1 Students on Post Completion Academic Training

You will need the following to re-enter the U.S. with the proper legal status:

  • A valid Form DS-2019 with Post Completion Academic Training Work Authorization; 
  • A valid passport (valid 6 months beyond the expiration date of your Academic Training Form DS-2019:
  • A valid J-1 visa stamp in your passport. If you need to renew your visa stamp while you are away from the U.S., be mindful of the fact that the U.S. Embassy or Consulate will need to be convinced of your ties to your home country and intent to return after your Post Completion Academic Training Work Authorization. They might also subject you to Administrative Processing;
  • A letter from your Employer. The letter must be on original letterhead, have an original signature and have a current date.  It should include your name, title, and more importantly verification that you are still employed there and a brief job description to verify that you are working in your field of study.  
DO NOT RE-ENTER IN TOURIST “B” STATUS.  If you do, you will cancel your J-1 status and will no longer have work authorization.

Grace Period

J-1 students have a 30-day grace period beyond the completion date of their program and also beyond the completion date of the J-1 Post Completion Academic Training Work Authorization.
You may not work during this 30-day grace period, but you may apply to transfer to another J-1 academic program, or apply to a different non-immigrant status, as long as you remain in the U.S. during this process.  
If you depart the U.S. during the grace period, you will be unable to re-enter in J-1 status.  You will need to have a new approved status and may need to renew or apply for a new visa stamp in order to re-enter the U.S.