Travel within the United States

Once within the United States, you are allowed to travel in the country. If you are traveling outside of Frankfort, you should take your original passport, DS-2019 and I-94 record.

Travel outside the United States

When traveling outside the United States, J-1 scholars (and their J-2 dependents, if applicable) must have in their possession the proper documents to return to the US to resume their activities. These documents are:

  • Passport valid at least six months beyond the date of US re-entry
  • Valid J visa stamp in passport
  • Form DS-2019 authorized for travel by an RO or an ARO within the last 12 months

If one or more of the above documents are not valid, call OIA at (502) 597-6327 or stop in during walk-in hours to meet with International Affairs staff.

When meeting with OIA, be sure to bring your passport, I-94 card, and current Form DS-2019.

Other documents may be helpful in confirming the right to re-enter the US, especially proof of financial support as listed on the DS-2019 or a letter from the department confirming the appointment/invitation to Kentucky State University.

In order to re-enter the U.S. in J-1/J-2 status you must have your DS-2019 endorsed by KSU’s responsible officer or alternate responsible officer. It is your responsibility to keep your endorsed DS-2019 with your passport at all times. If your endorsement dates have expired, you must contact the OIA prior to your departure for re-endorsement. Failure to do so will certainly delay your timely return to the U.S. Since 9/11, it has become increasingly difficult to obtain a new visa or revalidate your visa outside of your home country. We recommend that all revalidations be completed at the consular office in your home country.

If a J-1 scholar has a travel endorsement in the “Travel Validation by Responsible Officer” in the lower right corner of their DS-2019, that endorsement is valid for a one year period from the date that it has been signed or until the expiration date of the DS-2019, whichever comes first. The expiration date is given in item #3 of the DS-2019. There are a few exceptions to the validity of this one-year endorsement (signature):

  • On the date that a J-1 scholar completes his/her program, the endorsement is no longer valid. This date may be the date a scholar terminates the employment or program within the inviting department.
  • If the visa stamp in his/her passport has expired, the J-1 scholar will need to visit OIA at least two weeks prior to departure date, have his/her DS-2019 endorsed for travel, and request instructions on how to apply for a re-entry visa at a US Embassy or Consulate abroad.
  • If the department terminates the scholar’s program, the DS-2019 is no longer valid. It is imperative that such scholars talk with an advisor in OIA concerning their nonimmigrant status. If the scholar travels outside of the US under this or the aforementioned circumstances, that scholar cannot use the endorsed DS-2019 to re-enter the US; the scholar will be denied legal entry to the US.
  • If a scholar is outside of the US for over 30 days for personal reasons, the DS-2019 will no longer be valid for re-entry according to the Department of State (DOS). If a scholar is outside the US for more than 30 days for other than personal reasons, such as awaiting visa approval or working on a collaborative project between Kentucky State University and the scholar's home institution, OIA will need written confirmation for such situations to document the continuation of J-1 status in the US while the scholar is overseas.

You may find that the validity dates of the visa stamp in your passport may be shorter than the validity dates of your DS-2019. This is not unusual. Once you have entered the U.S. with a valid visa, you are permitted to stay (even if your visa stamp has expired) for as long as is authorized on your DS-2019. This is because the visa stamp is simply an entry permit; once in, your stay is governed by the dates on the DS-2019. If your visa stamp expires or if you use all the entries permitted you will have to obtain a new visa on your next trip outside the U.S. This can take several weeks or even months depending on your citizenship and academic field, so make sure you have allowed sufficient time to get a new visa stamp while you are out of the U.S.

If you are traveling to a country that is not your country of citizenship, please consult that country’s consulate to determine if you require an entry visa. For a list of foreign consulates in the United States, see


Ready to travel? Here is the optional transportation for reference:

Bus: The nearest bus station is located at Walmart in Frankfort KY: 301 Leonardwood Dr. Please visit for bus schedule and ticket information. 

Air Travel: The nearest major airport is in Lexington, Kentucky: Blue Grass Airport. The code is LEX. Their phone number is +1(859)425-3100. The International Affairs Office provides transportation to and from the airport on scheduled dates. 

 There are many websites you can visit to reserve airline tickets as well as hotels, rental cars, etc. as you travel in the U.S. or internationally. Here are a few commonly used students: 

J-1 Visa Renewal

If your J-1 visa has expired and you wish to travel internationally, you must renew your expired visa at a U.S. Consulate or Embassy before you return to the United States. Processing times vary greatly among the different consulates, so please plan accordingly. To check current visa interview and processing times at a specific U.S. Consulate, consult the Department of State’s website Please note that the wait times listed do not include any delays that may occur as a result of background or security checks.

Automatic Visa Revalidation (Avr)

Travel with an expired visa using Automatic Visa Revalidation (AVR) is permitted when you travel to a contiguous territory (Canada, Mexico, and certain Caribbean Islands) for 30 days or less and do not apply for a U.S. visa during your travel. To use AVR, you MUST keep your original I-94 record when you depart the United States. Do not surrender it to the airline or immigration official, as it is required for your re -entry to the United States. You will need to present the following documents in order to re-enter the United States using AVR:

  • Passport
  • Expired J-1 visa stamp
  • DS-2019 signed for travel within the last 12 months
  • I-94 record