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Travel & Visas for Scholars


Traveling Outside of the U.S.

J-1 scholars and their J-2 dependents planning to travel outside the U.S. must have a valid travel signature on their DS-2019. To request a travel signature, submit the original DS-2019 to OISS along with the online Scholar Request for Travel Signature form. The travel request must be submitted at least two weeks before the planned travel date as OISS staff will have to review the applicable university and immigration records.

The travel signature indicates that OISS certifies you are maintaining legal status upon traveling and you are expected to come back to continue studies or research.


Your Visa

Use your passport and the enclosed SEVIS DS-2019 form (for J-1 visa) and schedule your visa appointment. Take all the previously mentioned documents along with your original admission letter, SEVIS fee receipt, and financial documentation (ex: Stipend letter from the department, financial support letter, sponsorship letter, current bank statement) to the US embassy or consulate in your country to apply for your visa. The following website provides links to all US embassies and consulates worldwide: Once approved, the visa is stamped in your passport. Canadian citizens are exempt from having to obtain a visa but must use their DS-2019s to enter the U.S. and must obtain a Form I-94 clearly indicating J-1 status. You are permitted to enter the US 30 days prior to the start date noted on your DS-2019 form. You are required to report to and attend the school designated on your visa stamp and DS-2019 form. For more information please visit the "Obtaining an J-1 visa" or visit the Department of State website (J-1).

Please note: You should have U.S. currency available for travel expenses and any emergency that might occur between arrival at port of entry and arrival in Newark, Delaware.

Your Family & Dependents

Many students wish to bring their husbands, wives, or children to the USA. Usually, the best way to bring them to the USA is by using an F-2/J-2 visa. The F-2/J-2 visa is a “dependent” visa to bring family members to the USA who will be dependent on the F-1/J-1 visa holder.

For more information >

Visas Resources



In order for the foreign national (and family members) to apply for an J visa, the following documents must be submitted available for inspection at the closest U.S. embassy/consulate to the place of residence:

  1. Form DS-160 ("Online Nonimmigrant Visa Electronic Application").
  2. Receipt of the nonimmigrant Visa Application fee (fees) (NOTE: U.S. Government sponsored exchange visitor (J visa) applicants and their dependents are not required to pay application processing fees if participating in a Department of State, a U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), or a Federally funded educational and cultural exchange program which has a program serial number beginning with G-1, G-2, G-3, or G-7 printed on Form DS-2019, Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor Status.) ; a visa issuance fee (might be applicable)
  3. A passport sized photograph for each applicant (photo requirements).
  4. Original valid passport for each applicant with a validity date at least six months beyond the applicant's intended period of stay in the United States (unless country-specific agreements provide exemptions). If more than one person is included in the passport, each person desiring a visa must complete an application. .
  5. Original marriage certificate and proof of the dissolution of any prior marriages (and one additional copy), if applicable.
  6. Original birth certificate of children also relocating.
  7. Original DS-2019 Form properly endorsed by the Office for International Students & Scholars.
  8. Acceptance letter from the University, if applicable.
  9. Sevis fee payment receipt.
  10. Bank statement or funding letter from the department or other institution.
  11. It is also recommended that the foreign national carry proof of ties to their home country such as home or property ownership, bank accounts or other financial assets. These are supplemental documents and should be available in case the visa officer asks to examine them.
  12. You might be asked to provide transcripts and diplomas from previous institutions attended as well as scores from standardized tests required by the educational institution such as the TOEFL, SAT, GRE, GMAT, etc.;