There are instances where J-1 visa holders in the Research Scholar or Professor categories are permitted to temporarily travel abroad during their J-1 program in order to continue to participate in their J-1 program activities, research objectives, etc. In these instances, an active J-1 visa status can be maintained.
J-1 visa holders under the categories of Research Scholars, Professors, and Short-Term Scholar in active status are required to notify the ISSO if they plan or need to travel outside the U.S. during their official academic/research appointment at the University of Massachusetts Lowell (UMass Lowell) based on criteria listed below. Any instances requiring submission of a J-1 Out of Country e-Form must be preliminarily approved and supported by the J-1 Scholar’s supervisor or College Dean, and HR (if the scholar is paid by UMass Lowell). During this process, the ISSO requires the J-1 visa holder to submit specific documentation as described in the Out of Country Request e-form.
When is an Out of Country Authorization Required?
A scholar is required to obtain ISSO authorization for time spent outside of the US during his/her active J-1 program under the following conditions:
- J-1 Research Scholar/J-1 Professor - if the anticipated time spent outside of the US will exceed 30 days
- J-1 Short-Term Scholar - if the anticipated time spent outside of the US will exceed 15 days
(J-2 dependents do not require authorization from the ISSO for travel exceeding the aforementioned time frame, though should obtain a travel validation signature on their DS-2019 if need be)
When is an Out of Country Authorization NOT Required?
A scholar will not need ISSO authorization under the following conditions:
- J-1 Research Scholar/J-1 Professor - if the anticipated time outside of the US will not exceed 30 days
- J-1 Short-Term Scholar- if the anticipated time outside of the US will not exceed 15 days
If the scholar is ending his/her program early, departing the US without plans to return and resume the approved J-1 program, he/she should review the ISSO J-1 End of Program procedures.
Obtaining an Out of Country Authorization
The ISSO will need to collect some basic information and documentation related to the purpose/need for travel; what research activities will take place while abroad; how you will be able to continue working towards your J-1 program objectives and research activities while abroad; how your UMass Lowell supervisor will be able to monitor, advise and collaborate with you while abroad. All of this information is collected through the completion of the ISSO J-1 Out-of-Country Request e-form, which can be found on the Forms and Guides section of the ISSO website under the Scholar Forms tab.
With the completion of this e-form, the ISSO can authorize the out of country request, issuing a new DS-2019 J-1 Visa Document thereafter to reflect the anticipated time the scholar will spend abroad. Please note that UMass Lowell policy does not permit this period abroad to be any longer than 5 months, and that the scholar will be expected to check in with the ISSO upon their return to the US to avoid J-1 SEVIS record termination.
Scholars and scholar supervisors are encouraged to contact the ISSO at least in advance of any planned travel so that an ISSO advisor can assess any risks associated with said travel, collect the aforementioned e-form and ultimately authorize the request.