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Traveling Abroad

If you plan to travel abroad while you are participating in your exchange visitor program, you need to present to the U.S. customs and border officer, at the port of re-entry, the following documents:

  • Valid Passport. It must be valid for at least six months when you enter the U.S.
  • Valid J-1 Visa. A valid J-1 visa stamped in your passport.
  • Valid DS-2019. A new DS-2019 or your current DS-2019 Form which has been signed for travel in the lower right hand corner within one year by a responsible officer (RO) or alternate responsible officer (ARO) in Mayo Clinic’s Legal Department. You are encouraged to e-mail researchvisa@mayo.edu for information on how to obtain a travel signature if your DS-2019 is sponsored by Mayo Clinic. If your DS-2019 is sponsored by ECFMG, complete the ECFMG DS-2019 Duplicate Request Form to obtain a travel validation.

If you plan to apply for a new entry visa at the U.S. Embassy/Consulate while you’re abroad, you should carry a letter to present at the Consulate and/or at your U.S. port of entry if requested.

If you receive a salary from Mayo Clinic, an employment verification letter can be downloaded. 

If you do not receive a Mayo Clinic salary, you should request a letter from your direct supervisor or program coordinator. The letter should provide details about the nature of your association with Mayo Clinic and details of any academic research activities you are pursuing. It is recommended that you also carry documentation of funding support.

Entry into the U.S. is at the sole discretion of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer at the U.S. port of entry.

Note: The U.S. Department of State recommends that visa applications be made in the exchange visitor’s home country as difficulties can arise when appling for a new U.S. visa in a third country.

Special cases

  • If you and/or your dependents have changed your nonimmigrant status while in the U.S. to the J-1 classification, and you or your family decide to travel outside of the U.S. after the change of status has been approved, you must apply for a new entry visa at the American Consulate or Embassy before reentering.
  • If you are married to an American citizen or permanent resident, and you have been included in a petition for permanent residency, please make an appointment with a legal specialist in Mayo Clinic’s Legal Department by e-mailing researchvisa@mayo.edu before finalizing plans for your trip.

Traveling to Canada, Mexico, or adjacent islands

J-1 and F-1 exchange visitors who plan to travel to and from Canada, Mexico, or adjacent islands for a short visit (less than 30 days) must have:

  • Valid passport. It must be valid for at least six months when you re-enter some countries, such as the U.S.
  • Valid J-1 or F-1 visa stamp.
  • Valid DS-2019 form or I-20 form. The form must be signed by an approved official in the Mayo Clinic Legal Department within the past year.

If you have an expired J-1 or F-1 visa (Automatic Visa Revalidation), the following documents may be used:

  • Valid passport.
  • An expired J-1 or F-1 visa stamp.
  • An I-94 indicating J-1 or F-1 status with the notation “D/S.”
  • A valid DS-2019 or I-20 form. The form must be signed by an approved official in the Mayo Clinic Legal Department within the past year.

Automatic revalidation does not apply to students and exchange visitors from state sponsors of terrorism, such as North Korea, Iran, Syria, or Sudan.

Automatic revalidation also does not apply if you have applied for a U.S. nonimmigrant visa at a U.S. Embassy/Consulate in Canada or Mexico during your trip.

In all cases, you must have documents required to enter the country to which you are traveling. Contact the respective country’s consulate for required entry documents and visas.

Note: Entry into the U.S. is at the sole discretion of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (USCBP) officer at the U.S. Port of Entry.