Travel Information


Traveling after your initial entry to the U.S. requires you to be aware of the requirements for visa issuance as well as admission and inspection policies when arriving to the U.S. or traveling within the U.S.  While the U.S. Departments of State and Homeland Security are trying their best to minimize potential delays, it is important to remember that security measures have become stricter and tracking programs and electronic systems have been implemented.
 
 
INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL
 
Before you leave the U.S. obtain a travel validation signature from ISFS on your DS-2019.

 
  • The travel signature is valid for 6 months if you are a J-1 short-term scholar and one year if you are a J-1 student intern, professor or research scholar.
  • The travel signature is required for travel abroad, not within the U.S.
  • The travel signature is required to re-enter the U.S. not to leave the U.S.
  • If your travel signature will expire before you return to the U.S., you will need an updated one.
  • If you have a J-2 dependent traveling outside the U.S., they also need a travel signature on their DS-2019 form.

If you are a J-1 Exchange Visitor (J-1 or J-2) located in Bryan/College Station, you must visit our office with your DS-2019(s) so that we may endorse the travel validation section of the form(s). To obtain a travel signature on your DS-2019 form either come to our office during our walk-in hours: Tuesdays and Thursdays 8:30am to noon and 1:30 to 4:30pm OR email Virginie at vblum@tamu.edu to schedule an appointment.

If you are a J Exchange Visitor (J-1 or J-2) and you are located OUTSIDE Bryan/College Station, you must visit your departmental contact so they can arrange for the mailing of your DS-2019(s) to our office. Once we endorse your form for travel, we will mail it back to you at your own expense (we will email you instructions on how to create and pay your air bill).


Renewing Your Visa Stamp at U.S. Consulates
If you require a visa in your passport in order to return to the U.S. you will need to obtain the visa stamp from a U.S. consulate abroad.  We recommend that before traveling you visit the 
consulate or embassy website for information on application procedures and required documentation and processing times.
 
Delays may occur at U.S. consulates.  For this reason, we encourage you to make your visa appointment as soon as your itinerary is set.  Also, consider scheduling your visa appointment near the date of your arrival.  In the event of an administrative review, this may help minimize a possible delay in your return to the U.S. 
 
If your work is in the field of technology, engineering, or the sciences, you may be questioned closely by consular officers about the details of your job. As a result, there may be additional visa delays as consular officers seek security advisory opinions from other federal agencies. 
 
 
Arriving in the United States 
Upon arrival to the U.S., the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer will stamp your travel document with your admission date, the class of admission, and the date you are admitted until. Your entry is electronically recorded as well. You can retrieve your admission record, the I-94, on the
CBP website. The I-94 also shows your date of admission, your visa classification, and your period of admission.  The notations on this document are very important as they are evidence of your admission to the U.S. and the date through which you are authorized to stay. If you enter the U.S. as a J-1, the period of admission should appear as “D/S” for “duration of status”. 
 
Be aware that federal regulations regarding passport validity at the time of admission to the U.S. require your passport to be valid for a minimum of six months beyond your authorized period of stay. If you are a J-1, your authorized period of stay is your program end date stated on your DS-2019. If your passport is not valid for this amount of time beyond your authorized stay, the admission officer will only give you lawful presence in the U.S. on your I-94 to match your passport validity period.
 
Upon your return, provide ISFS with a copy of your new I-94. 
 
 
TRAVELING WITHIN THE UNITED STATES
 
Traveling within the U.S. also requires that you carry evidence of your legal status. Besides a valid passport, you must carry a valid I-94 which establishes your authorized period of stay in the U.S.  J-1 scholars must also carry their DS-2019s. In addition, the employing department, as in the case of overseas travel, may want to provide a letter attesting to your current status. Failure to carry these documents while traveling in the U.S. could result in serious consequences if you are asked by immigration enforcement officers (at, but not limited to, Border Patrol checkpoints) to produce evidence of your immigration status.    
 
 
AFTER-HOURS EMERGENCY CONTACT NUMBER
 
If you are a foreign national employee or visiting scholar at Texas A&M University or one of the Texas A&M University System agencies, you can have access to our emergency after-hours contact number. You may call this number if you experience immigration difficulties upon entering the U.S. outside of normal business hours, and you or the U.S. Custom and Border Protection officers need to contact us. This number is only for immigration emergencies and should not be used for any other purposes.
 
Before your trip, contact our office at 979-862-1719 or 
isfs@tamu.edu to receive the after-hours emergency phone number.