UMD: A Globally Connected University

Travel Abroad

Travel Abroad


ISSS is strongly recommending against undertaking any international travel during the COVID-19 emergency. Please carefully read the list of ongoing concerns below and consider your trip carefully before you finalize your plans to travel:

  • International travel remains uncertain at this time, especially for J-1 scholars and H-1B faculty. From an immigration perspective, international travel is currently very unpredictable. If you are maintaining J-1/H-1B immigration status in the U.S. and you depart, ISSS cannot guarantee your ability to return to the U.S. in a timely manner, which could have an impact on your U.S. visa status. ISSS understands that you may have serious personal or health concerns which require you to depart, or that you may feel more comfortable experiencing this crisis supported by family or in your home country. We want to make sure that as you make these important decisions, you understand the possible risks involved—including the fact that you may not be able to re-enter the U.S. at the time you intend. Additionally, many other countries may have travel restrictions of their own, which could impact your ability to enter those countries or move freely. 
  • There are still ongoing restrictions for entry to the US from several destinations. There are still many travel bans and entry restrictions to the U.S. that you must consider before making travel plans. Please review the following website for a summary of the current US travel bans and entry restrictions to the United States. This is not a final list and more restrictions may be enacted between now and your anticipated return to the United States. Additionally, you will be required to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test or proof of recovering from COVID-19 before boarding a plane to the United States.
  • Visa issuance continues to be delayed or unavailable in many places. If your U.S. entry visa is expired, be aware that applying for a visa for entry could be unpredictable and could cause you to face further delays as many consulates and embassies are closed or operating on emergency appointments only. Please review this website for the latest information on visa appointment wait times. 

We would encourage you to make an appointment with ISSS if you have any questions about the uncertainty of your travel plans or your return to the United States.


Travel within the United States does not require a travel signature or any special documents. The information below relates to travel outside the U.S.

Before you leave:
Make sure your DS-2019 is with you and has been signed for travel by an advisor from ISSS within the last year. Also, make sure the program end date on your DS-2019 will not expire by the time you plan to return to the US. Dependents in J-2 status must also have their DS-2019s signed for travel.

The visa stamp in your passport will need to be valid for reentry on the date you return to the U.S. (unless you are a citizen of Canada or the British Overseas Territory of Bermuda and do not need a US entry visa). Your passport will also need to be valid when you plan to return.

To enter the U.S., the following documents are required:

  • Valid passport
  • Valid U.S. visa
  • Valid DS-2019 signed for travel
    • Please fill out the "J-1 Travel Signature Request" e-form on iTerp

Other Information that may be beneficial during this process:

  • Previous DS-2019s
  • Current proof of financial support
  • Letter from University department verifying employment or visit.
  • University of Maryland pay stubs, if available.

If you'll need to obtain or renew your visa at a US consulate abroad before you return, make sure that the consulate where you plan to apply will be open and able to issue your visa in the time you have available. You can obtain advance information about schedules and processing procedures at many US consulates via the State Department website. You can obtain the State Department's estimate of visa wait times at most posts. Visa issuance can be delayed by security checks. Most security checks now take less than 30 days.

Special Travel Situations

Automatic Visa Revalidation

Special rules for travel to Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean (except Cuba). If you are planning a trip:

  1. To Canada, Mexico or the Caribbean ONLY (Applicable Caribbean islands are listed below)
  2. And your trip will last LESS THAN 30 days

Then you can re-enter the U.S. using an expired J-1 visa stamp if you meet the following criteria:

  1. You are in valid J-1 status
  2. You have a valid passport (for at least 6 months beyond day of re-entry to U.S.)
  3. You have an I-94 marked "Admitted J-1 until D/S".  To access your I-94 record, visit
  4. You have a recent travel signature (within 12 months) on your DS-2019. Please note, the Canadian government prefers to see a more recent travel signature (within 2 months) before they issue a Canadian tourist visa stamp.
  5. You have an expired U.S. visa stamp in your passport. It cannot be stamped "cancelled." If you applied for a new visa and it has not been issued or has been denied, you will not be able to re-enter the U.S. on your expired visa.
  6. You are NOT from one of the following countries: Cuba, Iran, Iraq, Libya, North Korea, Sudan, or Syria.

*NOTE: Visitors who have changed status to J-1 in the U.S. and who are traveling out of the U.S. for the first time are NOT eligible for automatic visa revalidation.

Please check with the appropriate embassies to see whether or not you will need to apply for a visa before you enter Canada, Mexico, or the Caribbean islands. The Canadian Embassy; The Mexican Embassy. Caribbean Islands where Automatic Visa Revalidation is applicable:
Saint Pierre, Miquelon, The Dominican Republic, Haiti, Bermuda, The Bahamas, Barbados, Jamaica, The Windward and Leeward Islands, Trinidad, Martinique, and other British, French and Netherlands territory or possessions in or bordering on the Caribbean Sea.